Foreword by Derek Mackay MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Constitution
I am pleased to set out the Scottish Government's Public Sector Pay Policy for 2018‑19. A distinctive pay policy for Scotland - one that continues our focus on fairness, sustainability, value for money and delivers on our Programme for Government commitment to lift the 1 per cent public sector pay cap.
As part of this Government's wider spending plans announced in the Scottish Budget, this pay policy recognises the rising cost of living experienced by our public sector workforce and balances this with affordability to the public purse. It is designed to support our economy, tackle inequality and demonstrate our commitment to investing in our high quality services for all - underlining our distinctly Scottish approach.
We are taking this approach in the context of the UK Government's damaging programme of austerity, which means the Scottish Government's discretionary budget from the UK Government will be around 8 per cent lower in 2019‑20 than at the start of the decade. In spite of these financial constraints, this Government has formulated a pay policy that balances the need for fairness and consistency across all public sector workforces with the value to individual bodies of flexibility, and works to advance earnings growth, particularly for those on lower incomes.
With this in mind, I have taken a progressive approach to pay, delivering a 3 per cent increase to all those earning up to £36,500. This will benefit just over 75 per cent of staff covered directly by our Public Sector Pay Policy and has the potential to benefit over 75 per cent of our public sector workers in Scotland. The policy also provides the flexibility for individual employers to use their discretion to reach decisions on pay progression for staff.
The 2018‑19 Public Sector Pay Policy is underpinned by our commitment to pay the real Living Wage and re-affirms our unique position on no compulsory redundancy which is protecting public sector jobs and front line services. While this is only a one year pay policy, it sets an important direction of travel and I hope, subject to available resources, to deliver a Pay Policy in future years that strikes the balance between affordability and offering a fair deal for staff.
I wish to acknowledge the contribution of public sector workers in helping us to achieve our ambitions and delivering on our priorities right across Scotland. I want to express my thanks for your efforts to ensure the effective delivery of public services at a time when budgets are being squeezed and other pressures are affecting household incomes.
This policy is about doing the right thing for Scotland's public services, which are a core part of achieving our ambitions for Scotland and fundamental to our growth and prosperity. As we take on new powers and become responsible for a wider range of public services, working together with our public bodies and our trade unions, we can build a better, stronger and more inclusive Scotland.