1% pay rises confirmed for top judges, military officers and civil servants

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Senior military officers, judges and Whitehall mandarins are to receive 1% pay rises this year, it has been confirmed.

The Government announced that it has accepted the recommendations of the Senior Salaries Review Body, which said that pay should rise in line with the maximum 1% permitted by the public sector pay cap.

The below-inflation rise is in line with those received earlier this year by other groups including teachers and nurses, extending the period of 0% and 1% pay hikes which has lasted since 2010.

Prime Minister Theresa May and Chancellor Philip Hammond are coming under intense pressure from Labour and the unions to lift the cap, which is currently due to remain in place until 2019/20.

An unconfirmed report in The Times suggested that the Chancellor is examining a compromise under which pay review bodies could be instructed to shape future awards so the lowest-paid workers receive a bigger annual rise than higher-earning colleagues without increasing overall staff budgets.

Announcing the Government's response to the Senior Salaries Review Body recommendations in a written statement to Parliament, First Secretary of State Damian Green said: "The Government greatly values the important work that public servants do in delivering essential public services. We understand the need to ensure that we are able to recruit, retain and motivate staff with the right skills and experience.

"However, there is a trade-off between pay and jobs in many public services, and pay restraint is one of the many difficult choices the Government has had to make to help put the UK's public finances back on track.

"Senior public sector workers, like everyone else, will have to continue to play their part to ensure we deliver job security for working people across the country. This will help us to strike the right balance between protecting people's jobs, being fair to public sector workers and being fair to those who pay for it."

Mr Green said the Government has accepted the Review Body's recommendation that "innovative" approaches to pay should be considered to focus on "maximising outcomes for lowest cost rather than limiting basic pay increases across the board".

In the case of the Senior Civil Service, the Government will develop proposals allowing money to be targeted at hard-to-fill posts while keeping within the overall pay limit, in order to be able to "attract and retain people of the right calibre", he said.

The Senior Civil Service pay framework will be reviewed, with the aim of developing a "more strategic approach" to pay for implementation as early as April 2018.

Executive and senior managers in the Department of Health arm's length bodies will also receive basic increases of 1% "unless there is a strong and explicit rationale to do otherwise", said Mr Green. Bodies of this kind should used all of their budgets for "non-consolidated awards" to reward the top 25% performers, he added.

The awards were announced just hours after official figures showed that inflation was running at 2.6% in June.