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Prison Staff Pay Award

Volume 701: debated on Tuesday 19 October 2021

I am today announcing the Government’s decision on pay awards for prison staff.

The Prison Service Pay Review Body (PSPRB) has made its recommendations for the 2021-22 pay award. The Government value the independent expertise and insight of the PSPRB and take on board the advice. Prison staff make an essential contribution to public service and their ongoing efforts, particularly in the challenging context of the covid-19 pandemic, have been greatly appreciated.

As such, I am today announcing that we are accepting in full the recommendations made by the review body for implementation in this financial year. For clarity these are recommendations 2, 3 and 4 on which the Government provided evidence to the PSPRB.

Accepting recommendations 2, 3 and 4 will deliver a pay rise for over half of our prison service staff, according to internal estimates. This pay award will be paid this autumn and will be backdated to 1 April 2021.

This award reflects the Government’s original proposals to the PSPRB which were developed in the context of the public sector pay pause for 2021-22, announced at the spending review (2020). The pay pause has enabled Government to protect public sector jobs and investment in public services, prioritising the lowest paid. The pay pause aims to assist in getting public finances back onto a sustainable path after unprecedented Government spending on the response to covid-19.

The PSPRB recommended that those with the lowest pay should be uplifted by £250. This means that all prison staff with a basic salary below £24,000 (on a full-time equivalent basis) should receive a consolidated pay award of £250. The Government have accepted this recommendation, recommendation 2, in full.

The Government have also accepted recommendations 3 and 4, meaning that eligible prison staff who have not reached the top of their pay band will also continue to receive progression pay of up to 5%. Of this group, some of our lowest paid staff are also eligible for the £250 uplift under recommendation 2.

The PSPRB also made a further two recommendations, recommendations 1 and 5, which are not applicable to the current financial year. These recommendations concern matters which fall outside of the PSPRB’s remit for the 2021-22 pay round. In the circumstances, while the Government are grateful for these additional recommendations, there is no obligation on the Government to formally respond, but we will consider them further.

The report has been laid before Parliament today and a copy is available as an attachment online. I am grateful to the chair and members of the review body for its report.

Attachments can be viewed online at: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-10-19/HCWS331.

[HCWS331]