It has been admitted by the newly installed interim permanent secretary Jim Harra at HMRC that the pay and salary structure within his new department needs to be overhauled. He claims that the historic pay structure has now reached ‘crisis point’ and has appealed to the Treasury for more money.

In his appeal he claimed that ‘employees had gone “many years” without a real-terms pay rise’. In August of this year the union Unison berated the department for offering a poultry 2% average pay increase. The increase which is effective for the 19/20 financial year did it is claimed see salaries rise between 1.86% and 2.08%.

Jim Harra claims that the overhaul and increase are necessary to retain and attract the right staff and to keep those currently employed engaged in the work they do. Added to this is the fact that the national minimum rates are due to increase in April 2020 and is likely to reduce an administrators wage to below the new statutory minimum.

When addressing this situation he said “I will have to increasingly have to put my pay flexibility into meeting that statutory obligation to pay the national living wage, which is not a position as an employer that I want to be in at all,” His response came during questions raised by MPs in respect of the ‘widespread dissatisfaction in the department about pay’.

It was noted that in the Civil Service People Survey undertaken last year, ‘HMRC had the lowest engagement score of any major department, a just 21% of those responding felt their pay reflected adequately their performance’.

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