Treasury claims HMRC and BoE wages cost it talent

by Calum Fuller

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03 Sep 2014

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THE TREASURY'S most senior civil servant has claimed the wages on offer at HM Revenue & Customs and the Bank of England are causing it to haemorrhage talent.

HMRC and the Bank of England offer better wage packages than the Treasury, the body's most senior civil servant Sir Nicholas MacPherson told the Treasury Select Committee, making it hard to prevent talented junior staff from jumping ship.

"In the last year we've lost 12 people to the Bank of England" he told the committee. "It's slightly frustrating that the Bank of England's a nationalised industry... but these guys just pay a lot more than us."

Sir Nicholas added: "It's frustrating for us to be some sort of feeder second division Belgian football team which provides really good people for Premier League teams like Chelsea and Manchester United."

Sir Nicholas said he had discussed the matter with the Bank of England's Governor, Mark Carney who had been "very helpful".

MacPherson has been permanent secretary since 2005 and told the committee the temptation of as much as £10,000 per year at HMRC was a serious issue.

"We pay less well than other departments, we have much higher turnover and I think we've got to do something about it" he said.

Staff turnover at the Treasury hit 28% in 2011, which some noted is higher than McDonald's, before improving to 23% in 2013/14.

It remains higher than other Whitehall departments, with turnover at the Bank of England was 8% in 2013/14.

Sir Nicholas said a large part of the problem was that the Treasury could not realistically award across-the-board pay increases for staff at a time when the department was imposing austerity on the rest of the public sector. The effect of this was that "the only way to get a pay rise is to get promoted", he said.

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