All posts by Ken Mulkearn

Proposed NHS pay deal: swings now, roundabouts later?

The NHS pay offer is a significant deal that signals the end of the 1% cap on public sector pay rises and as such includes genuine improvements for existing staff. However it also involves future changes that may be less welcome for some. Under the proposed deal, headline rises for those at the tops of their bands are accompanied by changes to the pay structure which mean that staff who have not yet reached the tops of their pay bands would receive significantly higher earnings increases – via progression pay – over the course of the three-year deal. But from 2020 progression for new employees would be more limited than currently. Continue reading Proposed NHS pay deal: swings now, roundabouts later?

Viewpoint: pensions court rules RPI not ‘inappropriate’

The latest instalment in the debate over which inflation indicator is the most appropriate for uprating benefits such as pensions took place in the High Court in January. The case, brought by telecoms firm BT, was that the company should be allowed to change provisions for uprating pension payments from the Retail Prices Index (RPI) to the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), on the basis that the former had ‘become inappropriate’, according to the rules of the scheme. The case has implications for setting pay as well as pensions.

Continue reading Viewpoint: pensions court rules RPI not ‘inappropriate’

Inflation predicted to slowly fall during 2018

All of our panel of City economists see RPI inflation peaking in the next month or two and thereafter coming slowly down. Our rounded average of the predictions from seven City forecasting bodies shows the RPI, which is currently at 4% for the year to October, falling to 3.6% in the year to February. The February figure will be released in mid-March and as such will be the extant measure when many companies’ April 2018 pay reviews take place.

Continue reading Inflation predicted to slowly fall during 2018

Viewpoint: ‘There are bad times just around the corner…’

The Budget on 22 November sparked a debate over the prospects for wage growth over the coming period. The Bank of England is on one side, while on the other stand the government’s Office for Budgetary Responsibility (OBR) and the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

Earlier, in announcing its decision to raise interest rates marginally on 2 November, the Bank argued that while pay increases are currently subdued – mostly because employment has been growing in lower-paid occupations and industries – it expected earnings growth to strengthen during 2018. This will occur, the Bank said, ‘as the tightening labour market starts to put more widespread upward pressure on wage demands’. Continue reading Viewpoint: ‘There are bad times just around the corner…’

Forecasters think inflation could rise to just below 4% by autumn

Inflation could rise to just below 4% on the all-items RPI measure by the autumn, according to our panel of City economists. Thereafter it could fall, but slowly. This assessment is based on our rounded average of the predictions from eight forecasters. The panel divides evenly between those who see RPI reaching 4% and those who think it is unlikely to rise this far. The main point of difference is based on whether the upward pressure on import prices from sterling’s previous depreciation, following the vote to leave the EU, have mainly worked through, or whether most of these effects remain to be felt. Continue reading Forecasters think inflation could rise to just below 4% by autumn

Nuclear construction pay agreement

In this case study we look at the pay agreement covering the civil engineering works currently being undertaken to construct the nuclear power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset, work on which began properly in March. The pay structure’s guiding principle is progression via the acquisition of skills, and as such, may be a model for pay systems in other parts of the economy. Continue reading Nuclear construction pay agreement

General election: the parties’ policies on employment issues

This election is remarkable for the number of manifesto commitments relating to employment, especially those emanating from the opposition. In particular, Labour’s manifesto contains a 20-point plan for ‘security and equality at work’. And while the Conservatives’ manifesto is not as comprehensive as Labour’s, it contains a number of important statements, as well as revisiting previous manifesto commitments that have not yet been enacted. Continue reading General election: the parties’ policies on employment issues