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Pay Rates (Civil Service)

Volume 511: debated on Wednesday 9 June 2010

6. If he will bring forward proposals to equalise rates of pay between staff in the civil service and in non-departmental public bodies. (1346)

For the grades below the senior civil service, these matters are delegated to individual departments and to non-departmental public bodies. Nevertheless, we will seek to improve and modernise civil service pay arrangements to ensure that they are fair and transparent, to enable us to retain and motivate staff and to offer best value for money to the taxpayer.

I thank the Minister for that answer and welcome him to his position. He will be aware that there are 230 separate bargaining units in the civil service and, at the moment, people doing exactly the same job can earn rates of pay that differ by up to 30 per cent., and more. What will the right hon. Gentleman do to bring about more equal and fairer pay structures within the civil service so that we have justice and to improve morale?

In the absence of any money—and as the former Chief Secretary pointed out, there is no money left—the opportunities to equalise pay in an upwards direction are pretty limited. We have said that as part of the efficiency and reform group work that we have set in train, we will carry out a review to see how we can simplify civil service pay, but this is a deeply complex area.

Can the Minister please give any details of the review into the introduction of the 20 times pay multiple in the public sector?

The terms of reference for Will Hutton’s review are being drawn up and finalised. As my hon. Friend says, the review will look at the multiple between the best-paid and least-paid employees in the public sector. We are decentralisers and localists, so we will not expect to exercise our writ across the whole of the wider public sector. We think transparency will play an important part in driving down the differentials.