Page last updated at 13:10 GMT, Tuesday, 17 June 2008 14:10 UK

Ministers give up 2008 pay rises

MPs at prime minister's questions
Ministers will give up their 2008/9 pay rises

All government ministers will give up their 1.5% pay rise for this financial year, Downing Street has announced.

The prime minister's decision was approved at this morning's Cabinet meeting, his spokesman said.

Gordon Brown said ministers would not accept a pay rise "given the importance of public sector pay restraint at a time of economic uncertainty".

David Cameron and Conservative MPs on the ministerial payroll say they will also give up their pay rises.

The government also announced it was to back proposals from Sir John Baker's review that MPs no longer vote on their own pay rises.

But they have rejected a 650-a-year "catch-up" payment for MPs, on top of their annual pay rises.

Ministerial salaries

Ministers will back proposals that MPs no longer vote on their own pay rises, instead they should accept the recommendations of the Senior Salaries Review Body.

They also plan to recommend that MPs' pay increases should be linked to the median average of rises paid to a wide range of public sector workers.

It is all very well ministers giving up their pay increase, but this is small comfort to millions of public sector workers who are faced with an effective three-year pay cut
Unison spokeswoman

Mr Brown also accepted recommendations from the Senior Salaries Review Body for pay rises next year of 1.5% for senior civil servants, 2.2% for senior military officers and very senior NHS managers, and just over 2.5% for judges.

Ministers' pay should go up in line with that of senior civil servants, who will get a 7% increase over next three years - and were due to get a 1.5% rise in the next year.

But the pay restraint applies only to their ministerial salaries, they will still receive the general MPs' pay rise.

MPs will vote on their salaries on 3 July.

Shadow Commons leader Theresa May described the move by Cabinet ministers to give up their pay rises for this financial year as a "gesture".

Union anger

She said it was also a "distraction" from the central issue of the day, which is "the rising cost of living for families across the country".

"David Cameron and the small number of Conservatives on the ministerial payroll will also give up their pay rises for this financial year," she said.

"And the shadow cabinet will reject the above inflation pay rise for MPs as recommended by Sir John Baker's review.

"David Cameron has long called for an end to MPs voting on their own pay."

HAVE YOUR SAY
It is very good and very welcome that MPs are doing this
Adam, Cambridge

The government's decision over the part year to award in two stages the 2.5% pay rise recommended for public sector workers - meaning they were effectively getting 1.9% - prompted anger from the unions.

A spokeswoman for Unison said: "It is all very well ministers giving up their pay increase, but this is small comfort to millions of public sector workers who are faced with an effective three-year pay cut."

The union is balloting its local government members on whether they want to strike over a 2.45% pay offer.

The Baker review also examined, but rejected, introducing performance related pay for MPs after concluding that there would be no fair or acceptable way of measuring performance.

The review also rejected increasing pay for MPs to reflect how long they had been doing the job.


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