Response to the 2021 Senior Salaries Review Body Report

Cabinet Office written statement – made on 21st July 2021.

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Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

I am today announcing the Government’s decision on pay for the senior civil service, senior military, senior managers in the NHS and the judiciary.

The Government recognises that public sector workers play a vital role in the running of our public services, including in their remarkable commitment to keeping the public safe in the continuing fight against COVID-19.

The Government received the Senior Salary Review Body’s report on 2021 pay for the senior civil service, senior military, senior managers in the NHS, and the judiciary on 28 June 2021. This will be presented to Parliament and published on GOV.UK.

The Government welcomes the Senior Salary Review Body’s report and is grateful to the Chair and members for their valuable advice, observations and strategic recommendations outlined within it.

As set out at the Spending Review (2020), there will be a pause to headline pay rises for the majority of public sector workforces in 2021-22. This is in order to ensure fairness between public and private sector wage growth, as the private sector was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in the form of reduced hours, suppressed earnings growth and increased redundancies, whilst the public sector was largely shielded from these effects. This approach will protect public sector jobs and investment in public services, prioritising the lowest paid, with those earning less than £24,000 (Full Time Equivalent) receiving a minimum £250 increase. The pause ensures we can get the public finances back onto a sustainable path after unprecedented government spending on the response to COVID-19.

In line with this, the Senior Salary Review Body was not asked to make any recommendations for consolidated pay increases for its remit group this year.

This is the first year the Senior Salary Review Body’s remit group has been expanded to include all Very Senior Managers (VSMs) within the NHS and Executive Senior Managers (ESMs) within the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) arms-length bodies. They were asked to make observations on the current levels of pay for this group to use as a baseline for future years. The Government is pleased that the Senior Salary Review Body agrees that existing pay levels are appropriate and that their observations broadly reflect existing themes within the development of a new pay framework for VSMs within the NHS.

The Senior Salary Review Body made no specific pay recommendations for the 2021/22 pay year for the Senior Civil Service and judiciary and made two recommendations for the senior military.

The Government accepts the Senior Salary Review Body’s recommendation to change the annual Incremental Progression date for senior military officers from 1 April to the anniversary of the date of promotion for senior military officers of 2-star rank and above.

The Government accepts the Senior Salary Review Body’s recommendation to maintain the current pay differentials for senior medical and dental officers.