Peter Hoskin

The civil service talks cuts

The civil service talks cuts
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Jonathan Baume is fast becoming one of the political celebrities of the LibCon era.  If you recall, he's the union chief who revealed that the senior civil servants had written letters to Labour ministers in concern at spending decisions made close to the election.  And now he's popped up again, with more unflattering comments about the previous administration.  Speaking at his union's annual conference, he said that "new ministers and MPs must begin to display the personal and moral integrity that was so obviously lacking in the previous Parliament, even within the Cabinet."  Hm, I wonder who he could mean.

The most revealing comment Baume makes, though, is about public sector pay:

"There is often no rhyme or reason for a salary level being offered. There really is no logic to why a Permanent Secretary might be paid a £180,000, a local authority chief executive £250,000 and a university vice chancellor £350,000.

People in this country have a strong sense of fairness. I don't believe they begrudge many senior salaries. They understand that hospital chief executives or permanent secretaries are running large complex organisations.

I hope we will see even fewer of those of the eye-watering salaries - and off-the-books contracts - that have been offered in recent years to some appointments to the civil service, sometimes twice the salary of the Permanent Secretaries themselves."

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