Government's response to SSRB "treats civil service leaders with contempt"
This week the government responded to the report of the Senior Salaries Review Body by recommending a 2% pay rise for senior civil servants. Following this announcement, FDA Assistant General Secretary, Lucille Thirlby, said that the government “has yet again decided to treat civil service leaders – its own employees – with contempt, by setting them apart from other senior public sector workers.”
Thirlby was quoted in The Mirror and LBC arguing that a “2% pay increase is, in fact, a significant pay cut, and it is an extraordinary decision when you consider that the other public sector leaders, who civil servants work alongside, will receive increases of between 3 and 4.5%.”
The government’s pay offer continues the trend of senior civil service pay failing to compete with other sectors, in spite of the important work they do. Thirlby stated senior civil servants “deliver for the country, whether it is leading on the response to war in Europe, delivering support to those most vulnerable to the cost-of-living crisis, or tackling tax avoidance.” Thirlby argued, as quoted in The Times, that after years of no pay progression, senior civil service pay “lags behind all other sectors.”
This real terms pay cut is particularly damaging as it follows years of pay falling behind inflation in the SCS. The SSRB’s own report makes it clear, Thirlby continued, that “average salaries in the SCS fell by 1.5% in the year to 2021, and have fallen in real terms by 11% since 2012. Yet, the government has chosen to ignore the evidence-based, strategic advice of the SSRB, and has instead taken an arbitrary, short-term decision, just as they did with the pay remit for delegated grades in March.”
Thirlby warned ministers that their decision to yet again hold back SCS pay without any plan to resolve the chronic issues in pay structures was a “decision they will come to regret.”