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Senior Civil Service and Senior Military Pay Awards

Statement made on 22 July 2019

Statement UIN HLWS1731


My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement:

I am today announcing the Government’s decision on pay for the senior civil service and senior military.

The Government received the Senior Salary Review Body’s (SSRB) report on 2019 pay for the senior civil service, senior military and police and crime commissioners on 7 June 2019. This will be presented to Parliament and published on

Thanks to the government’s balanced approach to public finances – getting debt falling as a share of our economy, while investing in our vital services and keeping taxes low, we are able to continue our flexible approach to pay policy, allowing us to attract and retain the best people for our Civil Service and Senior Military.

We consider all pay awards in light of wider pressures on public spending. Public sector pay needs to be fair both for public sector workers and the taxpayer. Around a quarter of all public spending is spent on pay and we need to ensure that our public services remain affordable for the future.

It is also vital that our world class public services continue modernising to meet rising demand for the incredible services they provide, which improve our lives and keep us safe.

The Government values the independent expertise and insight of the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) and takes on board the valuable advice, principles outlined, and constructive challenge to the Government’s recommendations outlined in the report. The Government will follow the SSRB’s recommendations, subject to a small number of differences which are set out below.

Within the current context there remains a need to take into account workforce requirements and affordability when making decisions on senior pay, as well as fairness in the approach for senior and junior grades.

Senior Civil Servants

SSRB recommendations set a 2.2% pay award with money allocated in the following priority order:

  • 0.9% targeted at pay progression and anomalies
  • 0.2% set aside for minima increases
  • 1% increase for all SCS not benefiting from the minima increases, and those benefiting by less than 1% from the minima increases should be ‘topped up’ to a 1% increase (estimated cost of 0.9% of the paybill)
  • 0.2% set aside to implement any specialist pay proposals.

The SSRB also recommended reductions to the maxima and commented on priority work to be undertaken for the 2020-21 pay award.

The Government accepts the SSRB’s recommendations in full with the following exceptions:

  • The overall figure should be limited to an average 2% increase in line with the figure contained in the delegated pay remit guidance. The reduction of 0.2% will be taken from the money set aside for specialist pay which we will not be implementing this pay year.
  • The Government accepts the recommendation to decrease the maxima for all pay bands, but to delay implementation of this to next year whilst further work is undertaken on capability-based pay progression to ensure the levels set are robust and there is a clear and positive narrative for reduction.

In addition to the above action for this year’s pay award, the Government commits to:

  • To develop and evaluate a credible robust capability based pay progression system
  • continuing to review the SCS performance management system as a priority; and
  • keeping under review the impact of the interaction between Civil Service pensions and the current tax rules on recruitment and retention.

The Government will continue to engage closely with the SSRB to help develop our proposals further and invites the review body to contribute towards the further review of the Senior Civil Service pay framework including the commitments made above.

Senior Military Officers

The Government has rejected the SSRB’s headline pay award recommendation, and instead will implement a 2% consolidated pay award with effect from 1 April 2019. The Government has accepted the SSRB’s recommendations on senior military salaries to maintain the 10% increase to base pay on promotion from 1-star rank and to not change the current pay differentials for senior medical and dental officers.

Statement from

Cabinet Office

Linked statements

This statement has also been made in the House of Commons

Cabinet Office
Senior Civil Service and Senior Military Pay Awards
Mr David Lidington
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office
Conservative, Aylesbury
Statement made 22 July 2019