Social workers in Scotland face a two-year pay freeze and a further two years of pay restraint under recommendations by the Independent Budget Review panel.
The review, commissioned by finance secretary John Swinney in February, found the current rate at which the public sector workforce is expanding to be “unsustainable” in the face of projected budgetary cuts.
It set out four options for reducing workforce costs over the next two years:
- Pay freeze for public sector workers earning more than £21,000 from 2011-12, which would bring Scotland in line with the rest of the UK.
- Pay freeze for all public sector workers from 2011-12, but all progression payments continue.
- Pay freeze and suspension of progression payments for all public sector workers from 2011-12.
- Pay freeze for public sector workers from 2011-12 except for the lowest paid. Progression payments could be continued or suspended.
After two years, the panel recommends a further pay restraint of between 2% and 3.1% for 2013-14 and 2014-15.
The review was commissioned to inform public and parliamentary debate ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review in October, when the Scottish government’s budget will be announced.
“The review findings consider a landscape that results from years of financial mismanagement of public spending, with Scotland’s budget forecast to shrink by £3.7bn over the next spending review period as a result of Westminster spending cuts,” said Swinney.
“The Scottish government, in partnership with parliament and the people of Scotland, will give careful consideration to what is a lengthy report. There are many options, but clearly there is no need to pursue all of these as they would generate far more savings than is actually required.