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Will Hutton's report into fair pay in the public sector receives mixed reception

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Will Hutton has missed ‘a golden opportunity’ to inject a strong element of fairness into public sector pay, according to trade union Unite.

Unite said that the Hutton review on fair pay in the public sector was 'hugely disappointing' and would allow the 'fat cat' pay bonanza to continue, while thousands of low-paid public sector works were losing their jobs and having their retirement pensions slashed.

Unite said that the proposals, such as the top 2,000 public sector bosses losing 10% of their salaries if they failed to meet key objectives, were 'ineffectual window dressing' and the recommendation that there should be no cap of top executives' pay was 'spineless'.

Unite assistant general secretary, Gail Cartmail said: "This was a golden opportunity to bring a sense of reality into bosses' pay in the public sector - but what Will Hutton has come up with is both ineffectual and spineless.

"One hand you have the jobs of public sector workers being lost by the thousands; their employment conditions eroded; and their pensions being hacked back; and yet you have the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which is 83% owned by the state, being exempt from this review."

But public sector HR directors have given the proposals a luke warm reception. Graham White (pictured), the director of hr at Westminster City Council - whose chief executive Mike More has voluntarily taken an 18% pay cut - said it's not about capping senior salaries but about cutting them for those who do not deliver.

He said: "Councils have a huge amount they can be proud of, but we must be prepared to tackle the public concerns over ensuring the salaries we pay are matched by the performance of those who earn them.

"It's right that taxpayers see what we earn and what we do that warrants these levels of income, and if they don't agree we need to listen. "Those at the top of public sector organisations should be accountable and, as we have done in Westminster, linking pay levels with performance is a key way of doing this. But it's not about paying more for good performance it is about paying less for under performance.

"In Westminster every senior manager could lose 10% of their contractual pay if they fail to perform and meet their annual objectives. Real localism means that my pay is decided by how well I deliver for the residents and businesses of Westminster."