Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

Huge pay cut for top civil servants

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin says top- earning civil servants and judges are being hit with huge pay cuts
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin says top- earning civil servants and judges are being hit with huge pay cuts

Top-earning civil servants, semi-state chiefs and judges are being hit with huge pay cuts to cap salaries at 250,000 euro.

The Taoiseach's salary of 200,000 euro is the basic benchmark but wage rules will be stretched for five bosses in the commercial end of the public service including the ESB chief who will still be on more than the quarter of a million wage cap.

Brendan Howlin, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, confirmed Padraig McManus will be paid 318,083 euro but said top level pay cuts were a symbol of leadership.

"This Government is not going to shy away from the tough decisions needed to get our public finances in order but we are going to ensure that these actions are taken in a fair and equitable manner," he said.

The wage rules enforce a 250,000 euro pay cap for all but the one chief executive in the semi-states and 200,000 euro for new appointments to senior public service roles, bar four chiefs in the commercial end of the sector.

The Department of Finance has asked for all chief executives of semi-states to volunteer pay cuts of 15% or less to bring their wages down to the 250,000 euro benchmark before new rules can be enforced.

All the general secretaries - the top ranking civil servants in government departments - who currently earn more than 200,000 euro have agreed to the voluntary cuts before the new wage structure comes in. Their pay cuts range from 29%-18%.

The Government signed off on the plan on Tuesday and Mr Howlin said he would be engaging with semi-state chief executives over the cuts.

"There is an understanding in the general public now that if we are asking people on the very lowest levels of income to pay a Universal Social Charge then it is incumbent on those earning very good money in the public sector to apply discipline to ourselves," the minister said.

Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald said the Government's pay reform does not go far enough and she insisted it should have adopted her party's call for a 30% cut in pay in politics.

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