Senior NHS managers may have their pay frozen amid government efforts to cut public spending, according to a report in The Times newspaper.
The freeze, which would also cover top judges and civil servants, would accompany minimal increases for other public-sector workers.
The report says that officials are still working on submissions to the independent pay-review bodies, and they have not yet been approved by cabinet ministers.
The relatively high pay rises received by nurses, teachers and public-sector workers in the past five years are believed to be behind this latest economy measure.
Ministers hope that unions may accept that a period of restraint is now justified, and accept a pay squeeze in an attempt to protect jobs and pensions.
Submissions to the pay review body are expected to stress the need for judges, top mandarins and NHS chief executives to set an example for the rest of the public sector.
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