Unfunded pay rise could cost force 600 officers

Scrapping the public sector pay cap will bring a “significant cost pressure” to Police Scotland’s budget, the Scottish Police Authority has warned.

Sep 28, 2017

Scrapping the public sector pay cap will bring a “significant cost pressure” to Police Scotland’s budget, the Scottish Police Authority has warned. Earlier this month, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that the one per cent cap on public sector pay rises would be removed next year. However, within the Scottish Police Authority’s (SPA’s) three-year financial plan – which will be presented at its public board meeting on Thursday (September 28) – it warns that this will require Police Scotland to make up an additional £25.8 million in savings. The report said this is the equivalent of 600 police officers or 850 police staff members. It also raised concerns that although it was assumed that any increase above the existing one per cent pay constraint would be funded, there has been “no commitment from the Scottish government to do this”. “An additional one per cent award will require an additional £25.8 million of savings to be identified to achieve a balance budget in 2020/21,” it added. “To put that into context, a further £25.8 million of savings would be the equivalent of reducing the police officer establishment by an additional 600 officers, or the equivalent of reducing police staff numbers by a further 850 over the next three years.” A range of scenarios were set out in the report which estimate how much it will cost Police Scotland if officers and staff are given pay rises of two per cent, 2.7 per cent and three per cent. A 2.7 per cent award would lead to an additional £43 million of costs and three per cent would see a £50.4m rise. Earlier this year, the force confirmed it would cut officer numbers by 400 as part of its ten-year policing plan. Recruitment levels will remain the same this year but will begin to slow over the next three years. Police Scotland currently employs around 17,200 police officers and 5,600 staff members. A Scottish government spokesperson said: “Public sector workers in Scotland and across the UK deserve a fair deal, and we will deliver a pay policy that is affordable and recognises real life circumstances. “However, to ensure we can really improve both pay and public services it is time for the UK government to end austerity and invest properly in public services and those who work in them. “We will continue to press the UK government over the glaring VAT disparity which means that the SPA is the only territorial police authority in the UK unable to recover VAT.”

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