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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 December 2007, 16:02 GMT
Cross-border split on police pay
Police officers
Officers in Scotland will have their pay deal backdated
Scotland's 16,500 police officers will receive a larger pay rise than their colleagues in England and Wales.

It is the first time that officers on different sides of the border have received a different pay settlement.

The Scottish Government has agreed to backdate the 2.5% rise to 1 September, as recommended by the Police Arbitration Tribunal.

However, the Home Office said it would implement the award for officers south of the border from 1 December.

Scotland's justice secretary said the government was "duty bound" to deliver the deal which had been reached.

Kenny MacAskill told BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme: "All these monies have been accounted for and are within the budget.

I have a responsibility to ensure pay settlements are affordable and consistent with government pay policy
Jacqui Smith
Home Secretary

"It appears to us that if an award is made, if that is what arbitration feels our police officers are entitled to, it is duty bound upon a government who signed up for arbitration to deliver the outcome in the terms of the arbitrated deal."

UK Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said she had considered the Police Arbitration Tribunal recommendations "very carefully".

"I am accepting their recommendation for a 2.5% increase to the pay of police officers," she said.

"However, I also have a responsibility to ensure pay settlements are affordable and consistent with government pay policy, including the maintenance of low inflation.

"I have therefore decided that the award should be implemented on 1 December, rather than 1 September."

Arbitration scheme

The Police Federation of England and Wales claimed that implementing the award from that date would result in a below-inflation pay rise of 1.9%.

Mr MacAskill agreed with that estimate but would not comment on what may be happening south of the border.

"It's for the UK Government to settle with their police officers and the Scottish Government to settle with our police officers," he said.

"All I'm saying is that we believe when you enter into an arbitration scheme, if it comes out with something then unless there's good reason you should implement it."

What it has done is restore a bit of trust and faith in the negotiating process here in Scotland that doesn't exist elsewhere in the UK
Joe Grant
Scottish Police Federation

Joe Grant, general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation, welcomed the Scottish Government's decision.

He said it would not make a huge difference to the Scottish Government's efforts to increase officer retention.

However, he added: "What it has done is restore a bit of trust and faith in the negotiating process here in Scotland that doesn't exist elsewhere in the UK."

He hoped the decision would help his colleagues in England and Wales in their efforts to have the same "sense of justice" applied south of the border.

Earlier this year, nurses in Scotland were granted their pay rise in full.

That too was ahead of colleagues south of the border, who received their pay rises in stages.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill on the pay deal



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Retaining police 'not effective'
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