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Pay freeze for public sector staff ‘insulting’

The Government was yesterday accused of “insulting” senior staff in the Civil Service, NHS and elsewhere in the public sector after the Prime Minister announced a pay freeze under moves to save £3bn in the next three years.

Gordon Brown said it was important in the present economic climate that senior staff in the public sector showed leadership in the exercise of pay restraint. Senior civil servants, NHS managers, judges, military top brass, GPs and dentists will all have pay frozen, although other staff in the same sectors will receive wage rises.

The announcement, following recommendations from the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB), was criticised by unions and professional groups, with one manager calling it “gesture politics”.

The FDA union attacked the Government for rejecting “modest” structural changes to the pay arrangements of senior civil servants, saying the pay freeze was an insult to staff.

General secretary Jonathan Baume said: “It is simply untenable for the Government to continue freezing the pay of senior civil servants as a political device year after year.” Paul Noon, general secretary of the Prospect union, said: “There is a glaring contrast between MPs who have just awarded themselves 1.5% and the harsh treatment meted out to the Government's own staff.”

But Mr Brown said: “These tough decisions complement existing measures to reduce the cost of the Civil Service and protect frontline services.”

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