Many Whitehall departments have awarded pay increases to their staff, while others have imposed a total freeze, figures show.

Public sector workers across a number of professions have been awarded recent pay rises despite the Government imposing a pay freeze two years ago, it has emerged.

Contractual obligations to staff have prevented six Whitehall departments, the NHS, armed forces and the police from imposing the full freeze, meaning hundreds of thousands have received increases.

Almost half (44%) of staff at the business department received a rise in 2010 and more than a third (34%) were awarded one in 2011, figures released under Freedom of Information legislation showed.

Workers employed by the NHS typically received pay rises of between two and five per cent.

Staff at the Home Office, Department for Transport and some parts of the Ministry of Justice were also among those who received pay rises, the Financial Times reported.

One official said: “Your job could be in a pay window of £23,000 to £27,000. If you perform reasonably well you can move up that sliding scale.

“It is the pay scale that has been frozen.”

Unison, the public sector union, defended the pay rises, saying they rewarded workers for developing certain skills.

But not everyone benefited from the salary increases.

The Treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions were among 15 Whitehall departments that implemented a total pay freeze affecting everyone earning £21,000 or more.

The latest figures come after The Sunday Telegraph revealed that more than 100 civil servants had received bonuses of at least £10,000 in the past year.

Ten civil servants received more than £30,000, including one official at the Ministry of Defence who was awarded a discretionary payment of almost £100,000.

The Government announced in November that public sector pay would rise by only 1% in the two years to 2015.

Earlier this year Ed Balls, the Shadow Chancellor, indicated Labour would support the Coalition’s pay freeze for public sector workers.