Civil Service Compensation Scheme September 2016

Thank you for writing to me regarding proposed government cuts to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS) [and the related PCS campaign].

I know how important the Civil Service is to Nottingham, being one of the city’s largest employers. I am concerned about the impact these proposals could have on low paid civil servants, disadvantaged groups and morale across the civil service. Many civil servants are anxious about their future due to recent announcements of office closures and ongoing reductions in staffing numbers. I am concerned that changes to the CSCS are adding to the stress of this situation.

The current civil service redundancy scheme was introduced in December 2010. The terms were described by then Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, as "fair, affordable and sustainable; they offer protection to the lowest paid and those nearing retirement, and put a cap on the total amount which can be paid out to any one individual."

Under the proposed reforms however, the average civil servant will lose approximately one third of the value of voluntary redundancy payments, with compulsory redundancy payments being cut by over a quarter. However, some aged 50- 54 will lose as much as 60% due to raising the minimum age for early access to an unreduced pension. These are significant reductions.

The proposals to reform the CSCS also come after a significant period of change and upheaval in the civil service, including changes to the pension scheme in 2015, introduction of a new performance management policy in 2013 and previous reform of the CSCS in December 2010. There has been no equality impact assessment on how the proposals will affect different groups of workers and PCS has concern that there could be a disproportionate impact on women, disabled people, black and minority ethnic groups, part time workers and older workers.

In light of these concerns, I urge the government to halt any plans to change the CSCS while they undertake a thorough Equality Impact Assessment. Should the government then proceed with reform, I hope that this will be pursued via meaningful negotiations. I feel that reform of our public services is needed but it is vital that the Government engage properly with staff so they are consulted on any decisions.

If Labour was elected at the recent General Election we would have prioritised low earners when it came to pay decisions; they would have been evidence based and would have respected the pay review bodies recommendations.

Thank you once again for writing to me. I hope the Government will consider and negotiate their proposals and I can assure you that I will continue to follow this issue closely.