Financial Secretary Antony Leung Kam-chung has hinted that civil service pay will be cut even if the pay-trend survey suggests salaries should only be frozen. Mr Leung said that there was no obligation to follow the results of the annual poll of private sector pay, which is traditionally used to help determine public sector salaries. In his Budget on Wednesday, Mr Leung outlined a proposed 4.75 per cent pay cut for the Civil Service from October to reap the Government an estimated $6 billion a year in revenue. During a phone-in programme on RTHK yesterday, Mr Leung was asked if there would still be a pay cut if the May pay trend survey called for a freeze. A caller said some companies had even announced pay increases. 'The mechanism does not mandate us to follow the pay trend survey,' Mr Leung said. 'In fact in 1936, there was a salary cut in the civil service purely based on the fiscal situation,' he said, adding any decision will be fair, reasonable and legal. The pay trend survey was not introduced until the 1970s. Adjustments to civil service pay differed from the pay trend indicator from 1988 to 1992 - they were lower in the first three years and higher in the last, as compensation. The decision on civil service pay is also based on fiscal conditions, the impact on civil service morale and the economic environment. Mr Leung said he made the announcement in the Budget because he wanted to warn people in advance. 'I want to let people know that we have a fiscal problem.' But he warned against the public labelling civil servants as lazy. 'Actually a lot of my colleagues are still working when I finish work at 10pm on occasions,' he said. Some callers said senior officials should bear a bigger cut, but Mr Leung called for unity in the civil service to face the difficulties ahead. Democrat Cheung Man-kwong said the pay trend indicator should be taken as a major reference. 'It would be too early to say if we will support the bill that provides for a pay cut,' he said. A bill will be tabled to Legco after the pay trend survey results are released in May. It is expected the bill will show a pay cut. Liberal Party legislator Howard Young said the Government should adhere to the indicator. Mr Young said his party had not discussed its position on the legislation should the pay cut proposal depart from the pay trend survey. In a statement issued yesterday, the Chinese Civil Servants Association criticised Mr Leung for breaking from the long-standing pay adjustment mechanism. As some companies in the pay trend survey have yet to adjust pay, the association warned that the pay cut 'assumption' might affect their decision and the final result. A spokesman for the association said there was insufficient grounds to take legal action at this stage, but reserved the right to take other follow-up actions or make counter-proposals.