Speech: Pay rise for prison officers 2018: statement by Rory Stewart

Ministry of Justice - by Jim Larrison via Flickr

Today I have announced this year’s pay rise for prison officers, amounting to the biggest increase they have seen since 2008.

In meeting the spirit of the independent Prison Service Pay Review Body’s recommendation for a 2.75% uplift, I hope all involved will recognise the commitment we are making to building the world class prison service we want to see.

Our hard-working prison officers, managers and governors are at the absolute heart of this. They do a vital job in protecting the public every day, often in very challenging, difficult and dangerous circumstances.

We fully acknowledge the challenges they have faced over recent years and that is why we are investing £100m in new officers, with more than 3,000 now recruited. The Ministry of Justice has recently announced further investments in safety, security and the fabric of the estate, designed to tackle the unacceptable trend of increasing violence we have seen.

It should also be noted that we worked hard last year to secure prison officers a pay rise that was significantly greater than the 1% cross-government cap that was in place at the time.

This Government is committed to ensuring that all public sector workers, including those in the prison service, are fairly paid for the vital work they do.

But this has to be balanced with our determination to improve the public finances, to reduce the country’s debt while keeping taxes low.

We ended the 1% average pay policy in September 2017, so that we could continue to deliver great public services while increasing productivity, but we must always consider longer term affordability.

This is not just about the prison service. The pay awards announced today are fair and reasonable across public sector workforces.

It is a deal that is fair to our workers but also fair to the taxpayer.

Allied to the allowances and pensions earned by our prison officers, along with the rewarding career on offer, I believe this package will allow the service to recruit and retain the high calibre staff they need to drive forward our ambitious reforms.

 

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