New justice secretary 'unlikely to make concessions' but resentment grows
New justice secretary Chris Grayling is to meet the LCJ and other senior judges to discuss cuts to their pensions, The Times is reporting this morning.
Lord Judge warned the government last month that judicial pay freeze and pension cuts were “likely to cause judicial retention and recruitment problems”.
However, according to The Times, Grayling is “thought to see the dispute as a chance to draw first blood in his dealings with judiciary”.
A Whitehall source told the newspaper the justice secretary was “unlikely to make many concessions”. Lord Judge is understood to have persuaded his fellow judges not to challenge the cuts in the courts, but some are reported as “growing impatient”.
The LCJ said in his report for the period January 2010 to June 2012 that the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) had calculated that the pay of circuit judges had been cut by 15.9 per cent.
The salaries of district judges had fallen by 16.5 per cent, the report found, High Court judges by 17.1 per cent and lord justices of appeal by 18.4 per cent.
Judges’ pensions were assessed by the SSRB as amounting to 34 per cent of their total reward.
“In relation to pensions, as elsewhere in the public sector, a contribution liability has been imposed, further reducing take-home pay,” Lord Judge said.
“The extent to which the government seeks to reduce the annual accrual value of benefits under the judicial pension schemes is unknown. Whatever it is, it will reduce the total reward of a judge still further.”
Lord Judge added that the “morale, recruitment and retention of judges of the highest calibre depends in part on the adequacy of their financial reward”.
A spokesman for the MoJ said that, by contributing to their pensions for the first time, judges would save the government up to £7m.