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U.K. Cuts Starting Pay for Police to 19,000 Pounds

U.K. Home Secretary Theresa May will cut the annual starting salary for rank-and-file police officers by 17 percent to 19,000 pounds ($30,500) as the government reviews officers’ working conditions amid budget cuts.

Accepting most of the recommendations of an independent review by lawyer Tom Winsor, May said the revamp of police pay is the first for 30 years in Britain. Policing unions reacted with anger when his recommendations were published last year.

May said in a written statement to Parliament in London today that the decision reflected “the tough economic conditions and the government’s wider economic objectives, which include reduction of the deficit and the challenging but manageable reduction in government funding to the police over the spending review period.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said last month the government’s austerity program will continue until 2018, three years later than planned when the Conservative-led government took power in 2010 and began tackling a record deficit equal to 11 percent of gross domestic product.

May said plans to bring in compulsory severance across all ranks within the police will be held back for further negotiation.

Steve Williams, the chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, which represents rank-and-file officers, said in a statement that the group accepted the findings of the independent process, though it remains “disappointed with some of the recommendations.”

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