§ Mr. Spearing
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what has been the rate of London allowance for civil servants in support and executive grades respectively since 1987; if he will make it his policy to submit requests for adjustment to arbitration; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Gillian Shephard
The information requested is as follows.
London weighting allowance 1 April 1987 £ 1 July 1988 £ Inner 1,527 1,750 Intermediate 876 1,000 Outer 641 725
London weighting for civil servants has not been increased since 1988. However, since 1988 London pay points worth between 4 per cent. and 7 per cent., 366W depending on grade, have been introduced for most civil servants in London, along with local pay additions worth up to £1,000 a year targeted at locations with severe recruitment and retention problems.
Over the past two years, over £87 million a year has been spent enhancing London pay in this way, in addition to national pay increases. This represents an increase of over 50 per cent. in the London element of the pay bill. Unlike London weighting, London spine points and local pay additions are targeted to ensure that public money is used most cost-effectively. Over the past two years, recruitment and retention rates in London have improved very significantly.
The Government's policy is that pay should be based on what is required to recruit, retain and motivate within what is affordable. The Government's intention is to continue to set London pay in accordance with that policy and, where appropriate, to target increases in the London element of pay to ensure that they produce the best value for money for the taxpayer.
Successive Governments have reserved the right not to go to arbitration on issues which raise policy considerations. In previous years London weighting claims have raised policy issues in respect of public expenditure control and the targeting of pay increases to secure best value for money on which arbitration would not have been appropriate.