Peter Hoskin

Practice – not pay – may be the key to public sector workforce savings

Practice – not pay – may be the key to public sector workforce savings
Text settings
Comments

Great article from my former boss, Andrew Haldenby of Reform, in today's Telegraph.  He makes the general case that spending less on public services needn't mean worse public service – far from it, in fact – and is scathing about the political class's inability to soak up this lesson.  But it's this passage which jumped out at me:

"Another path to reform is to get more out of the workforce. Simple changes have tremendous results. If public-sector workers took the same amount of sick leave as those in the private sector, that would save 3 per cent of their wage bill, which adds up to £6 billion per year. If they worked the same number of hours per week as in the private sector, that would save a further 10 per cent, or £20 billion per year. The same saving would result if the average public- and private-sector employee were paid equivalent wages."

At the Institute for Fiscal Studies' Green Budget launch on Wednesday, Antoine Bozio gave a presentation on public sector pay and pensions which is well worth flicking through.  Its overall point: that while there's a case for cutting public sector wages to private sector levels in the UK, the cuts may not save as much money as might be expected.  In which case, politicians would do well to heed Andrew's non-pay-related suggestions above.