Chief Secretary to the Treasury doesn’t know how civil service pay works

20 June 2022

In an interview with Sky’s Kay Burley this morning (20 June 2022), Chief Secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke said that public sector pay is determined by independent pay review bodies.

Parliament Street and Whitehall street sign


This may be true for a number of areas such as the NHS, teaching, and the military- but for the vast majority of the civil service it is not. Only senior civil servants have their pay decided by an independent pay review body and they represent a small percentage of the workforce.

Deputy General Secretary of Prospect Garry Graham said:

“This is a shocking lack of knowledge from the man who is supposed to be in charge of the fine detail of government spending. It is doubly insulting when unions have been calling for an independent pay review body and the introduction of pay progression arrangements which are a feature of pay arrangements elsewhere in the public sector– calls which has been repeatedly rejected by this government- despite MPs having their own pay review body.

“Even without the glaring factual error this is still a blatant attempt to pass the buck on pay. To hold your hands up in the face of the worst cost of living crisis in a generation and simply say ‘it’s not me guv’ is an abdication of responsibility

“The Government needs to start taking responsibility for its actions and stretch every sinew to help people through the current crisis. Record inflation comes against the backdrop of over a decade of real terms pay cuts for the civil service- it is the acceleration of a trend rather than a temporary blip. Since 2010 MPs pay has increased by 28%- the pay of the average civil servant has increased by less than half of that (and is still below inflation over the period). Many will smell more than a whiff of hypocrisy.

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