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Francis Maude ready to end stupidity of civil servant in Newcastle getting same pay as civil servant in London

5pm: Paul Waugh has just blogged that Francis Maude failed to mention regional pay in the speech he has given today. I wonder what caused the u-turn?


DecentralisedPayThe Financial Times reports (£) this morning that Francis Maude is to recommend that civil servants outside of London should receive less pay. The Public and Commercial Services union have already pledged to use “all means at its disposal” to resist changes to civil service redundancy awards and told the FT that the end of national pay bargaining “would have a terrible impact on our members".

The FT's Nicholas Timmins writes:

"Almost three-quarters of the government’s 520,000 civil servants – including huge numbers at the big four departments of work and pensions, Revenue & Customs, and the ministries of defence and justice – work outside London and the south-east. Public sector pay in the regions – which includes that of civil servants – is about 5% higher for men and 11-13% higher for women than in the private sector, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, even after allowance has been made for public sector jobs on average requiring higher qualifications than private sector ones."

An end to national pay bargaining was advocated by the Liberal Democrat-friendly think tank, Centre Forum. In a report earlier this year Alison Wolf argued that national pay systems handicap struggling regional economies and make it impossible for public sector managers and institutions to cope sensibly with our fiscal crisis.

Michael Fallon MP has also recommended the end of national pay bargaining throughout the public sector.

Mr Maude's initiative deserves a warm welcome. It would be a terrible waste if the current fiscal crisis is not used to reshape the public sector and build a more flexible servant of the British people. Ending national pay bargaining is exactly the kind of reform that the UK economy needs.

Tim Montgomerie


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