Public sector pay – lets have pay rises with productivity rises

Some people in the public sector deserve a pay rise. Some parts of the public sector need more money to pay for the services they provide. They will receive more, though as always there be arguments about how much more. Tax revenue will go on rising without increasing tax rates, all the time the economy grows.

Some parts of the public sector have done particularly badly at improving quality and efficiency. There is considerable scope for people to work smarter, and to benefit from the wider application of digital technology.

The way to square the circle of wanting people to be better paid,but wanting to keep the overall costs down, is to boost quality and output without having to add to staff numbers, or without in some areas having to replace all those who retire or leave.

I will be looking at how public sector management can be improved, with higher quality services at an affordable price, in blogs this summer. A crucial part of getting progress is a better motivated and better paid workforce that benefits from improvements they help implement in service quality and cost of delivery.

In the current national debate we are offered a silly choice. Do we with Labour want to raise the cap and pay people more with no regard to the consequences for taxes and borrowing, or do we with Treasury orthodoxy want to keep the pay cap in place to control public spending and keep the pressure to cut borrowing?

I recommend following neither of these choices. Let’s have some pay rises. By all means await the Independent Pay Reviews who will assess pay against the background of supply and demand for labour, living standards and past price increases. Let’s at the same time prepare plans for how to raise quality and productivity in each service, and engage staff in ways that lead to their promotion or higher remuneration.

In the private sector a “something for something” deal is usual over pay. I want better paid staff and affordable services and think we should be able to deliver both. It is most worrying that public sector productivity has been stagnant this century, despite the huge breakthroughs with digital technology.

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  1. Posted July 3, 2017 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    In our company there woud be no question of more money without more revenue because there would be no money to pay anyone any more

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      So true, the NHS must start to recharge other Countries as they do us for NHS health treatments to bring in the extra resources.

      • Posted July 3, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

        If they can charge citizens for dental care, why can’t they charge visitors for medical care? It isn’t rocket science.

        • Posted July 3, 2017 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

          They are the state sector, so they care not what they spend nor what (if any) value they get (or deliver to the public). So it is not rocket science why they are so appallingly inefficient, this is the reason. Look at defence procurement, energy, the green crap, the roads, HS2, Hinkley, bio fuels, overseas aid, the Bank of England, the Lords or any government department at all.

          The NHS spends over £70,000,000 on paracetamol, This is enought for about 100,000 tablets each at the price they could buy them were they any good at purchasing. Indeed for about £1M PA you could probably have a factory supplying enough of the chemical for the whole world.

          Which idiot is purchasing it at over 100 times what they are worth? Will they be fired? Of course not. They could easily be bought for under £1,0oo,000 so that is £69,000,000 saved at a stroke. And this does not even include all the doctors time prescribing they! I assume the figures are similar for countless other common drugs.

          Though I never find paracetamol does much good for pain anyway myself.

          • Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

            Dear Lifelogic–Yes I agree paracetamol doesn’t do much but that apart I cannot grasp why the NHS don’t just turn up at Boots or anywhere else for that matter and buy the stuff for peanuts–Are Boots going to turn them away? Why wouldn’t that drive down Boots’ price even further??

          • Posted July 6, 2017 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

            ASDS 1.9p/unit of 500mg paracetamol.
            Assume that the NHS can get it at 0.1p/unit, so 1000 tablets per £.
            £70m will buy 70bn tablets. Say UK population is now 70m people. That still only is 1000 tablets per person and a factor 100 for LL.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      JR, with all the house building local authorities are receiving vast sums of NHB and CIL which they have used on ordinary expenditure rather the infrastructure. They put forward a specious argument their grants have been cut. They were but these two funding streams more than make up for it. Moreover, greedy local council staff put thief pay packets before providing services. Time for a radical overhaul. Councils need to stop vanity projects, huge undeserved salaries for those at the top, cut out waste, diversity/equality rubbish, EU directives and regulation. We also need to either scrap the ENvironment Agency giving some of the money to councils for rivers and flood defence or stopncouncils charging us for flood defence when it is the EAs responsibility. We should not be taxed and pay twice for the same service. Three times if it is a tow tiered council! When can we expect Jarvis to get a grip? When can we have the promise of the bonfire of quangos to provide money for the services we need? When will the NHS cut out all wasteful managerial posts converting them to doctors and nurses? Is Hunt actually doing anything? Based on his record should be sacked.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      Will government will have the bottle to face down its workers as the private sector must? Past experience does not encourage confidence.

      Discussion about the pay cap has brought to light many oddities about public sector pay, not least that for some individuals a 1% cap can translate in practice into an 8% pay rise. Someone is being taken for a monkey and I rather think it’s the taxpayer.

      As the Conservatives have lost any reputation they had for financial competence, frankly they may as well let rip and spend like Labour. Old Tories will get their retirement feather-bedded, young Corbynistas will foot the bill for the rest of their working lives (ha!) and when Mr Corbyn gets to Downing Street he’ll have no choice but austerity because all the money will have been squandered.

  2. Posted July 3, 2017 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    You expect Labour politicians to pander to the public sector vested interest by propagating the idea that all public sector workers are ‘underpaid and overworked’ (which is of course pure nonsense but assists in the moral blackmail strategy of Labour, the left and their backers the unions) but to see Gove and others like him spreading this myth fills me with despair

    Again, in all this, the private sector worker (who has to justify his salary or else he’s toast unlike in the public sector where job security is guaranteed) will be hammered with more taxes, will be asked to up his productivity and be expected to be even more flexible simply to finance the waste, inefficiencies, arrogance, FS pensions, early retirement, generous maternity arrangements, profitable part time employment (especially in the waste pit that is the NHS) of the entire public sector

    This is a classic example of politicians in Govt targeting a certain section (private sector workers) who cannot fight back against the vested interest that is the State (politicians and public sector unions arriving at grubby agreements while passing off the cost to productive private workers)

    Listening to Gove made me wince. I thought the man was a realist. He knows the public sector employment is gold plated and generous but ever more wasteful and yet he talks as though these state workers live poverty lives.

    This is the govt using my money to buy fluffy headlines in the press when what they should be doing is a committed program of total public sector reform. Of course that would mean strikes and damaging headlines in the press so the public sector just keep enjoying the fruits of my hard work, my taxes to finance ever more waste and backward working practices

    Message to May and Hammond. Stop pandering to the public sector unions, have some guts and tackle the immoral waste of scarce resources in the vested interest that is the public sector

    • Posted July 6, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Right on Gove how can you take the man seriously after hiss attack on Boris and him even proposing Vat on school fees which would clearly raise no cash and do huge damage to education standards too.

  3. Posted July 3, 2017 at 5:35 am | Permalink

    Mr Redwood would you publish the public sector total wages costs for the years 2013 – 2017 please to show that despite contraction in the workforce costs have risen more than 1%.

    Public sector pay is subject to grading and staff (often) automatically rise through the grades and receive pay rises accordingly. The pay cap is per grade not per person.

    Additionally please publish the pay bands I suspect “managers” are doing OK. Let us have a debate by all means but let’s have the correct debate.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      Teachers in particular have this ‘grade’ system yet continually complain about the lack of funding for education.

      Perhaps they should explain why many of them think they deserve a 7% to 8% grade pay rise each year whilst nurses are vastly underpaid in comparison.

      • Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        Perhaps they should explain why many of them think they deserve a 7% to 8% grade pay rise each year whilst nurses are vastly underpaid in comparison.

        Don’t nurses get annual pay increments each year?

        According to the Agenda for Change pay scales (2016/17 and 2017/18), i.e.

        The salary of a band 5 nurse with 3 years experience in 2016/17 would increase from £24304 to £25551 in 2017/18. That’s an increase of 5.1%.

        • Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

          That pay is **** all. No wonder they’re quitting or emigrating for better pay and time off.

          It’s not lost on people that politicians awarded themselves 11% recently.

          We could have the country *not* run with far fewer of them.

      • Posted July 3, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        I had to take a job in a council office when private work ran out and found that there were many overpaid and largely useless chiefs, while some of my profession were talented and hard working and others were not. My workload was controlled by a programmer and as a result of not being able to take decisions myself, jobs took about 5x a long as in the private sector. The annual pay regrade was a surprise and put me on A much better rate than my previous job. The chief used to go on a six week holiday during which time we could not progress jobs as we had to wait for clearance. the good professionals hated the place and left.

        It makes little sense to pay nurses badly and then pay agencies much more. Someone here wrote that nurses from Africa were leaving the NHS regular job to work for double the pay in agencies. Is this idiotic management decided by overpaid managers? If so we should amend redundancy rules and get rid of them, then put up nurses pay. The decision to make nurses take a student loan to train to an academic style degree level is also idiotic. Get rid of the politicians and civil servants responsible for this and restore free on the job practical education.

        As for teachers and council officials, again the chiefs and ‘superheads’ are much too highly paid. There should be a pay cut for them and proportionately less for departmental heads. The state teaching profession has become an agency for left wing indoctrination of young people, as witnessed at the election and vile protest marches after Grenfell. Pay should be cut until they leave or reform. This would pay for deserving public servants.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      NS. Is your gofer on holiday?

      • Posted July 3, 2017 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        No resigned because the public sector is paid better and has better pensions with less work @MM

    • Posted July 4, 2017 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      Indeed. They are far better paid on average, take more sick leave, have better pensions, work fewer hours and often produce very little of any real value.

  4. Posted July 3, 2017 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    It’s a great pity Mrs May has shown no enthusiasm since she became PM to trumpet the achievements of the Coalition & Conservative govts since 2010, and defend their record. This must surely be one reason so many voted Labour. These achievements include getting the deficit down to a quarter the level it was under Labour, record high employment and unemployment at a 40 year low, non-inflationary growth and some excellent reforms in education and welfare. Sure, Osborne should have moved quicker on the deficit, but these are significant achievements and were against the background of policy being rubbished by the economics establishment and the left.

    It is however difficult to defend spending restraint against the background of massive and flagrant wasteful public expenditure on grands projets such as HS2 and Hinkley Point.

  5. Posted July 3, 2017 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    In my opinion, it is all very well to talk about pay raises being pegged to ‘productivity’, but it hasn’t escaped my notice (and I suspect the notice of others) that the MPs had a pay rise of 11% a year or two ago. Were they more ‘productive’ ? That’s a matter for debate!

    It would be easier for the Government to argue against pay rises, if they themselves did not waste so much money. They create jobs for the boys/girls – Equalities Minister anyone? The public percieve it to be one rule for them, and another rule for the rest of us. I wont mention the massive amount of Foreign Aid, which is always deemed to be ‘affordable’. Before the pay cap there was a pay freeze. There is an article on the web this morning about Nurses and Midwives leaving the profession. Is the Government surprised ?

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 12:21 pm | Permalink


      Quite – 13bn is affordable to hand away overseas. Apparrently though the 493m currently required by the Royal Navy (following 10% budget cuts but a requirement to produce the same output with a 1% pay rise cap) is not affordable.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      No longer to wear ties. With a salary of £77,000 for an unqualified part time job you would expect a little professionalism even if they still have rotten standards!

      Perhaps comrad Corbyn would recommend gender neutral overalls so everyone looks the same.

      Reply You may still wear them and many of us do so!

      • Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        I think it is very important MPs retain the formality of Parliament including in dress. It helps to remind them that they are taking important decisions affecting the lives of millions of people. The Butler report into the Iraq war more or less said one of the reasons the Blair government took such bad decisions was the informal, sofa government style. Ministers discussing such issues should meet in a very formal setting and be very disciplined and focused. Likewise for MPs.

        • Posted July 4, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

          I remember when Cameron was hosting the G8 summit in Northern Ireland a few years back,he insisted on a no ties dress code and President Putin made it known he wasn’t keen on that level of informality.

          I think we all know who has proven to be the more serious and astute decision-maker since!

  6. Posted July 3, 2017 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    We could start with a national audit of public sector jobs and salaries.
    Certainly in the NHS there is colossal waste of manpower. Too many people walking about carrying bits of paper or huddled in groups discussing last night’s outing.
    Our local council publishing its propaganda sheet and having an EU office.
    Mega salaries for poor performance and an over reliance on consulants.
    Plenty efficiency savings to be made.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      They are always having meetings, to identify new issues, which in themselves require further meetings and groups setting up. It seems to be how bureaucracy grows. Thomas Sowell, a former Marxist apparently, has some splendid videoclips on youtube on bureaucracy, and why it is intended to be self perpetuating.

  7. Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    ‘Some parts of the public sector have done particularly badly at improving quality and efficiency’

    What, like those in the council whose responsibility towards safety have been found to be negligent and who are now costing the public enormous sums of money to put things right at more expense. I am thinking of Grenfell Towers etc. Scotland have today found that 33 tower blocks have no sprinkler systems in place. Wouldn’t it have been cheaper to have done all this properly in the first place? Whilst I do agree that many of the lower paid sectors could do with a pay rise I have to question those at the top many of whom are already earning ludicrously large salaries. There is a lot of waste in councils still and a lot of unnecessary expenses being paid out.

    A friend of mine works for the NHS as a secretary and she is either off sick or on leave most of the time as is half the office it would seem. I don’t see how public companies would last long in the same situation.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

      The NHS is an institution that politicians criticise at their peril. Didn’t someone say that the NHS is the nearest thing the British public have to a religion? Just listen to our politicians, before they make any comment of the NHS, they feel obliged to say what a wonderful institution it is and that all the employees are quite wonderful people, simply worked off their feet. .

      • Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

        Whereas the NHS is clearly a death causing disaster. This despite having numerous hard working and well meaning people working for it. The system will never work as currently structured.

  8. Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    I look forward to reading your views, I trust you will be brave enough to include barriers to achievement and why nothing has happened to date, otherwise it will just be an intellectual exercise.

    Personally I have no faith whatsoever that anything will happen other than fiddling at the margins (if that). For a start you have a beaten and down trodden workforce that you have given no hope to with your wage cap, indeed condemning them to a poorer standard of living year on year unless they get a promotion so they are in the main contemptuous of you, probably too many layers of Management operating in a fog of political correctness and decision taking (not operational needs) and in itself beaten down being the meat in the sandwich between politicos senior management and the staff .

    If you then add in the other things you would look at in a business to make it efficient.IT, purchasing, aggressive cost reduction management through the use of financial dynamics, reducing/elimination of duplication through consolidation etc with the overarching culture
    of more from less year on year and surely you would agree there is little hope. I believe that our state if the art new aircraft carriers are run with Windows X P. If that is true, that says it all. To use another maritime analogy. The tanker hit the iceberg, decades ago.

  9. Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    The public sector need to explain why those of us who work in the private sector, which generates the wealth and pays the taxes that pay their wages, who also have had stagnant earnings should pay yet more tax to fund pay rises for them, which we certainly cannot now have because of the increased taxes we are being asked to pay. Why do they, who have defined benefit pensions, deserve preferential treatment?

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      Well, for a start private sector salaries are usually much higher (anything from £10k/year+ higher) than equivalent jobs in the public sector. So public sector staff are starting from a worse position than their private sector counterparts. It is primarily because of this that public sector employers offer the benefits you refer to. Slap a two year pay freeze and then the pay cap on top of that and public sector workers aren’t in a great place.

      Secondly, the ‘we pay your wages’ argument is circular and ludicrous. Public sector staff also pay tax so, by that argument, actually they pay their own wages. Of course it’s more complicated than that so let’s not try and make sound simple.

      Finally, why does everyone want to make it a race to the bottom? Stop asking why are they getting something and start asking why you’re not. Director level pay has been increasing year on year in the private sector for most of the last 10 years. There is money in the private sector for pay rises, it’s just it’s all going to the top.

      Reply The pay gap between public and private has closed up a lot. You then need to take into account pensions and other benefits.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      Why are they 40% better remunerated than the private sector, while having sure little useful output.

  10. Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Bin the foreign aid money for a year, and spend OUR money on OUR people, that’s what the voter you know the people who put you in power wants, it’s not rocket science

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      That single issue would almost certainly guarantee and election victory. The utter determination to keep to that commitment, come what may, and no matter what happens to our own people here, is the clearest indicator of the rot that is at the heart of liberal elite thinking. True grassroots Tories, call the liberal left out, if you are brave enough, and you will be surprised at the outcome, I believe.

      • Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

        Dear Chris–Yes the sheer conceit of Mrs May showed through a few weeks back when she thought she was showing who was boss by adding something like “and that’s the way it’s going to stay” on foreign aid to her answer to a very sensible question. I am not clever enough to understand why it is not obvious she should be replaced and immediately. Sure it would be tough but it already is and at least we would be spared the wait wondering when she is going to go. It is obvious from the various punters all opening their mouths at once that nobody gives a rodent’s rear end what she thinks. Dear God, How could she and Hammond have been put in place as 1. and 2.

  11. Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    The state sector spends over 40% of Gdp but do we get much value from this at all. So much of it is spent doing positive harm, pushing up energy costs, inconveniencing the productive, building white elephants, aircraft carriers without aircraft, cladding buildings in flammable insulation…..

    With pensions included the state sector is paid about 40% – 50% more than the private sector. The market should determine wages simple supply and demand and by region too.

  12. Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    It would help if MPs didn’t award themselves better pay rises than they allow the rest of the public sector.
    I know, let’s introduce a rule where parliamentary candidates put themselves up for auction and publish in their election literature how much salary they propose to take. The electorate can then decide whether they are worth it more than say nurses.

    Reply A good system to get “free” candidates in marginal seats. “Free” isn’t always best.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply
      If a 21yo politics graduate can be elected to HoC, I don’t think we should be looking at a £74k annual salary.
      Sure, if you pay peanuts, you will get monkeys, and a constituency may well reconsider after a previous bad choice.
      On the matter of public sector pay rises, my verdict would be no pay rises until the country is back into surplus.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      The problem is that the MPs don’t decide their own pay-rises; they have an independent body to do that for them.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

      Free is not always best, but I suspect in the case of MP you would get rather better ones if there were not paid (and could not act as so called “consultants”, expecially greencrap ones).

      A random ballot and an IQ test would surely give a higher standard and be more representative. This as someone who actually wants to be an MP is very often indicating that they are quite unsuitable.

  13. Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    So these pay rises are to be funded by job reduction in the public sector rather than tax increases in the private sector.

    We need to prepare for the fact that fewer workers are going to be needed in future – automation and efficiency drives.

    So why mass immigration still ?

  14. Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    I’m struggling to remember what increased productivity we gained when MP’s accepted an 11% wage rise.

    Reply You were meant to get a reduction in the number of MPs, with new constituency boundaries. Labour seems keen to block this.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Then the 11% should be withdrawn until the number of MP’s is reduced.

      • Posted July 3, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        Old Albion:

        Well said.! And the salary raises should then be pegged at 1%. Just like the rest of the public sector. One has to lead by example!

      • Posted July 3, 2017 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        I think that is right, OA. There is a commitment to do this, and those who do not honour it (Labour MPs, Mr Redwood states?) should be named and shamed. This should not simply be buried under the carpet.

  15. Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    I have worked in both private and public sector and found the public sector to be both rewarding and frustrating. There are too many people who are allowed to fill a job due entirely to seniority in the authority .. and the ability to talk a good game. Sadly this goes through the ranks into the top positions, and if you have incompetence and self servers in senior positions then you get incompetents and self servers through the ranks … and the top officials dont want anyone reporting to them who may ruffle their comfort zone.
    There are however many very capable and hard working local authority employees and in deed some very capable senior people … sadly the latter are often there through good luck.
    Local Authority work can be very satisfying particularly as you can see the product of your days work can help people. However some of the conditions available encourage people to take their work lightly. One such that always irritated me is the sick pay arrangement. 6 months full pay and 6 months half pay results in some taking a full 6 months then miraculously recovering. I don’t see why it should not be 12 months at 3/4 pay, still very very generous, but you would find only those who are really ill would stay off for 12 months … and many would not take a day off as a result.

    • Posted July 7, 2017 at 2:28 am | Permalink

      I’m looking at one particular local authority .I don’t see anyone there who is in high position and at every level downwards who got there without a high degree of corruption in terms of cronyism and nepotism…possibly worse.

  16. Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    If an individual makes a good effort and contributes to the success of his/her organisation , then it is only reasonable that they share some of the reward . The public sector has always lingered in the realms of “it doesn’t matter – I’ll always get paid”and often has not warranted an increase . For this reason I support John’s view that pay and reward ought to be productivity and quality related .

    The NHS has always been at the forefront of wage complaint and because it is at the heart of our care and provide health system , has never been subjected to a form of control that is straightforward and sensible . Its central direction is mainly to blame . It is the largest organisation in this country and it needs to be regionalised and part privatised . The same logic applies to other public sector bodies .

  17. Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Amending the Clinton slogan and in response to the public sector austerity clamour “it’s the package stupid” e.g. the public sector pension time bomb is forgotten. There is an even greater disparity now with private sector final salary schemes virtually gone and how the public sector ponzi schemes will be financed in future who knows. Already 25% of council tax props up current local government pensions.

    Also I read student fee debt with accumulated interest, only England of course, is £200 billion, most of which will be written off eventually.

  18. Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    We could divide the public sector into two parts. One part, which includes health and education, where there is genuine demand for the sorts of services which are provided. There is a second part however, for which people would not pay voluntarily.

    The second part includes civil servants collecting useless and incorrect statistics about the economy, lawyers enforcing damaging state-concocted employment regulations at tribunals, ever growing quangoland and much more. If we cannot abolish such people, in no way do we want to increase their productivity. If a particularly damaging business tax is introduced by government, why would we want the Inland Revenue to be super-efficient and squeeze the entrepreneur until the last pip squeaked? Let such public servants use up their full allotment of newspaper reading time.

    Moving to such areas as education and health. The school system encompasses two ideas, education and child-minding, and if we are brutally honest about the matter, the second is dominant in our schools. Education often best takes place at the one to one level and goes against the economies of scale rule. But child-minding is clearly an area where economies of scale are possible.

    And we must not forget that productivity improvements should go right to the top. What chance now of parliament voting for that most popular of measures, the oft promised reduction in MP numbers?

  19. Posted July 3, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Everyone wants more but no-one wants to pay more, look at the row with the self-employed with a 1% increase on their 9% total national insurance contribution. Only the rich should pay for the services the rest of us use. There has got to be openness about full pay packages instead of blanket nurses using food banks stories (what band and grade of nurse is s/he, how long has s/he been on that grade? why isn’t s/he progressing). Now politicians have to hide taxes by not rising thresholds, by putting up Council Taxes and business rates on people who have no vote but instead vote with their feet closing their businesses down.

    I watch towns getting in to pop up shops and market stalls and see these areas buzzing with people but the same town councils are doing little to support the regular shops and businesses that are paying their large business rates on a regular weekly basis.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      The councils seem to ensure parking is high cost/difficult.

  20. Posted July 3, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    As I understand it one of the big successes of the Conservative governments (including the Coalition) is the way that public spending has been reduced and the numbers of people on the payroll has been cut. I understand the Police are generally agreed to have been culled, for example.
    This is presented as “Austerity” but in fact it is not – the actual amount of money has been increased as is shown by the burgeoning national debt.
    What I suspect is that the people at the working end of the public services – nurses, doctors, firemen and women, teachers and social workers – have had their numbers cut and their wages frozen and at the same time the management staff have had their pay raised – or that more have been recruited.
    Let us give just one example. This is from the NHS website:
    “NHS net expenditure (resource plus capital, minus depreciation) has increased from £75.822 billion in 2005/06 to £117.229 billion in 2015/16. Planned expenditure for 2016/17 is £120.611bn and £123.709bn for 2017/18.”The number of managers and senior managers has increased in the past three years, having declined in each of the previous four years.”
    The problem with all this management is that it tends to make work for itself, it speaks in a language which is obfuscatory and it prevents initiative. That is why professionalism among nurses and doctors is on the back foot.
    I suspect that the same applies to all the other services too. Compliance…
    What Jeremy Corbyn seems to want is more money therefore more managers, therefore less people doing the work therefore more money…
    Bureaucracy is deadly to initiative and professional people need to be free to use their own professional expertise and judgement. Viva the Conservatives!

  21. Posted July 3, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    In the last company where my daughter worked, whenever anyone left, the head of the department had to review the job description and forward a case for the individual’s replacement to the personnel department and indicate why the work couldn’t be covered by the existing staff.
    I know in the Civil Service, such an approach would, in itself, require lots more staff and paperwork to operate, but something along these lines needs to be done. It is so easy to automatically replace an individual without considering whether they are still needed, especially now we have considerable computerisation and work, presumably, takes less time and effort.

  22. Posted July 3, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I can’t help but wonder how committed the Civil Service is to raising quality and productivity within itself.

    I know (very well) two lawyers, each with Firsts, aged 35 and 45. One is a gifted linguist (Mandarin and Russian), the other has years of experience working abroad (Europe and Africa); both have spent the past few months applying for advertised vacancies within the Brexit departments, amongst others.

    Both are being repeatedly turned down.

  23. Posted July 3, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Most teachers , some medics and front line staff deserve more .

    Rather than pay , the teachers seem to complain more about the workload due to excessive administrative duties which reduce the amount of time available for them to concentrate on teaching .

    The senior Whitehall and departmental civil servants should count themselves lucky to have a job after their disgraceful performance in the lead up to the Brexit referendum .

    By failing to remain neutral , they destroyed their claim to be professional and should not be allowed to forget it .

    I’ve got relatives working on the outskirts of Govt (pseudo public sector) and none of them are thinking of getting a proper private sector job . They want to involve themselves in authoring policy .

    They cite the East German style success of the British athletics medal haul in the Olympics as proof that HM Govt can pick winners .

    Furthermore they tell me that Westminster and Whitehall has already started applying this approach to industry and is deciding which industries will be winners and should be invested in .

  24. Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    You are quite right that we need a different and much more considered message. There is clearly no point in having any pay review body if its findings are to be prejudiced from the start by an arbitrary pay cap, but equally the means to pay more have to be found from somewhere. So far the calls from the Conservatives to set aside the pay cap show all the signs of a panicky dash to catch up with Mr Corbin without any thought for the consequences.

  25. Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    How much has the public sector been cut in the last seven years since Brown increased it to 6 million? Not a lot I suspect. All on pensions paid for by the private sector, most of whom can only dream of the pensions they are guaranteeing for those in the public sector, many of whom are still retiring in their fifties.

    Oh for a Conservative Government to give us the small state promised but not delivered by Liberal Dave.

    Reply Now 5.42 m but they have reclassified Housing Associations and English Colleges as private sector.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      So no real drop in numbers then and all looking forward to a final salary pension scheme no doubt.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      How many of these reclassified private sector workers are still in the government final salary pension scheme? What is the number of millions of workers in final salary public sector pensions still in work?

      This pension contribution of 20%+ must be taken into account on pay reviews, with pension caps most private individuals couldn’t accrue final salary guaranteed pension pots of the size required. You can’t keep covering this up and talking about public sectors today working in poverty. Offer them NEST pension and more pay today if that’s what they demand and stop the accruing burden.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Are agency workers included in the figures? The expenditure on the NHS would indicate otherwise.

  26. Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    JR, You could ask the public sector to do less.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      If only. While there are wasteful practices in the public sector the cost of these is dwarfed by that of having tens of thousands of people working conscientiously and hard on wasteful or even harmful activities, to meet requirements set by Parliament.

      Don’t blame Parliament though. The “something must be done” imperative is driven by the public.

      • Posted July 3, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

        “….driven by the public.”

        I wonder if whipped up by the media is not a more important driver.

        Cause and effect!

        • Posted July 3, 2017 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

          Fair point. To the extent that it is true though the public must share responsibility. Media hype only works if it gets a significant public reaction.

  27. Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    We never hear about public sector “wage drift”, the natural process whereby the total wage bill rises in each Department because of promotions, the 1% average rises, and the starting salaries paid to new joiners that may be more than others they replace or work alongside. I think we could all guarantee that this increase will be more than the headline 1% cap and it suits the media and Opposition parties not to mention it. Even the IFS has said that the 1% cap has served to bring public sector pay back into line with private sector salaries, the former having outstripped the latter a few years ago, so it was time to redress the balance.
    I think our emergency services deserve a proper pay rise, police, fire, ambulance, nurses, A&E to demonstrate our appreciation of all they continue to do. Where I have a problem is reading about grotesquely high pay in Whitehall, eg in the Overseas Aid dept.

  28. Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Historically the public sector has generally suffered from overcompensation by been given higher levels of pay, pensions, benefits, staffing and working conditions than the private sector and in return has given back low levels of service and productivity. The reason being that they have not been subject to the rigours of competition and had to rely on achieving customer satisfaction as they are captive. Exacerbating the problem is the proliferation of labour unions and closed shops in the public sector most affiliated to the Labour party and/or are socialist by inclination. The pay cap was implemented to address some of these short comings with some success in curbing the level of remuneration but does not do much at addressing all the other problems associated with monopolistic bodies that the public sector institutions were designed to be and are.

    Whilst the public sector bodies remain structured in their present form improving productivity and the quality of services will only ever be minimal. The cost of running them will continue to far outstrip their value to our society. Eventually and we are close to that point society/taxpayers will lose the ability to maintain their existence. Despite the protestations of John McDonnell and others of his ilk taxes and borrowing have their limit to which they are either now already beyond that point or close to it.

    Your suggestion on the pay cap and improving the service is to mind more of a sop to public pinion than it is to addressing the systemic and structural faults of the public sector. If you really wish to make the public sector fit for purpose and financially sustainable then proclaim that the provision and funding of the services that the public sector provides ( and that badly and costly) has to be radically reformed by privatising a large proportion of it. You will not as regrettably for you or any other politician to do so would be tantamount to political suicide.

  29. Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    It’s not about pay rises, it about cost of living, which the gov has load on to people.

  30. Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    “The way to square the circle of wanting people to be better paid,but wanting to keep the overall costs down, is to boost quality and output without having to add to staff numbers, or without in some areas having to replace all those who retire or leave.”

    Without free market signals and discipline of profit, pricing, competition, consumer choice and thus no way to determine how consumers value the output, or whether a competitor can offer the same thing at lower prices, or whether lower prices are driving down profit how can a ‘public service’ gauge its efficiency, whether it is allocating resources correctly, meeting consumer preferences and expectations – so exactly do you propose to achieve what you suggest?

    If it were readily possible in public ownership, why is it not already being done and why has it NEVER been done?

  31. Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    So if productivity remains the same it is OK to effectively cut salaries by not keeping pay up with inflation.

    You also need to have reliable measure for supposed productivity increases. These can be easily manipulated and wordy jargon like key performance indicators can be rigged to produce the required result.

    If increases are mostly ‘bonuses’ in the gift of managers they are often rigged to benefit favourites and cronies.

  32. Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Can we have comparison pay and pension with other Countries with a similar cost of living and their bands and grading system to look at? How on earth can the general public comment without knowing the payments. People talk about poorly paid graduate nurses on £21k pa from what I can determine that band has about eight grades (£22k to £28,746) with a £500 increment per grade, why should we prop up staff that aren’t productive enough to secure a successful grade review in a year?

    If £22k isn’t a competitive graduate salary and it is not appreciated the employer contributes about 20% (over the lel) on top into their pension then sort this out and offer nest+ 3% employee, 3% employer 1% government top up plus extra matched contributions up to 6% with a higher basic pay. The NHS could also offer to pay the student loan 9% graduate tax to all grads who stay in the public sector, then if they transfer to the private sector they have to restart their own training cost payback.

  33. Posted July 3, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Don’t give the Met Office a rise, since the Election they seem to have wiped England’s Historic Counties of the Weather Map. Slice slice slice!

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      The Met Office lost the BBC contract I believe, but still somehow have input presumably?

  34. Posted July 3, 2017 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Is it any wonder that the public sector is grumbling when they see the high pay rises being given to MPs and other high ranking Civil Service staff. I worked in the public sector for many years and I have seen all the nonsensical ruses to circumvent pay caps i.e promoting staff to do the same job, making staff redundant on a Friday to reemploy them the following Monday as contractors at 4 times the salary, paying huge bonuses for delivering nothing, outsourcing work to private companies to look as if staff numbers have been reduced. The latest con is George Osbourne’s Power House of the North where cheap Civil Service jobs in areas like Blackpool have been relocated to the cities of Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle. Three major offices employing thousands of workers have been flattened and what is built in their place? More houses. Reducing waste would be a good start and following the example of Margaret Thatcher in relocating expensive Civil Service jobs from the south to low cost towns in the north of England would be a potential big saving and help with the high unemployment in these areas. Just look back and see what worked well in the past. Look at the computer systems that were delivered in the 1980 and 1990 for the civil service and compare what has been delivered since. There are some great comments on your blog, just listen to what the public is telling you. The Tories really need to get their heads out of the sand and understand quite rightly why the electorate is grumbling. I’d be happy to help with your review as I’m sure many of your followers would.

  35. Posted July 3, 2017 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Pie in the sky – it’s too late to expect to gain ‘productivity’ improvements. Many of your colleagues have already said that the 1% cap should go. Another form of virtue signalling from the wet and the weak.

    There is no stopping runaway claims now.

  36. Posted July 3, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Across the public sector there is waste followed by waste followed by waste.

    Recently had to spend a week in hospital on a cardiac ward and the waste was all around to see:
    The porter that walks between 11 and 15 miles a week and reckons that a third of that is on wasted errands.
    The doctors and registrars turning up at the bedside asking questions then having to go away and come back with my notes.
    Ambulance crew standing around for my transfer to another unit, waiting on the doctor to complete the notes.
    All the time the clock is ticking. Nobody had a clue to how much they cost the NHS every minute. Whatever happened to the ” work smarter not harder” training programmes of the mid 90s which turned around companies and organisations in both the private and public sectors.

  37. Posted July 3, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Labour is busy feeding the Biased BBC with this garbage, which they lap up and regurgitate for 48 hours at a stretch. Always talking about ‘nurses, doctors and policemen’. Never talking about public sector workers like the thousands of ‘Managers’ in NHS Trusts, senior policemen and commissioners and executives in every other service who take home more than the PM each year, and dodge pay freeze by regularly ‘promoting’ themselves to a different level.

  38. Posted July 3, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    As someone who spent decades on the very lowest rate in the public sector never earning anywhere near the starting salary of a nurse, fireman ,policeman, teacher, joiner, road worker/labourer,I find the screams of poverty and “having to go to food banks” bizarre to say the least.
    I know where their pay goes for the ones outside London. Mortgages too big for them in the first place, cars too large and flashy and new on loan repayments and every conceivable smart phone, computer game, scratch card and delivered takeaway possible. Plus holidays abroad.
    Before anyone on here says not true, I have also in my time gone through with these people one-to-one interviews to see their budgetting. I am very well aware in a very detailed way what many job categories earn in reality and how they spend it to the penny.
    No payrises necessary. Just budget-education in schools, and an exorcism of their dreams of owning houses they never could afford to borrow money for or indeed maintain to their over-extravagant unrealistic dreams. The Tories should not palnt silly dreams in ordinary peopel’s heads of “owning your own home” and “starting your own business”. Very few people have the commercial savvy to have their own business, in fact. It is like holding sweets up to a baby and saying “Now, don’t you try to grasp hold of them will you?” 🙂
    Tories should be more responsible if they love our people. They should be paternalistic not patronising.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      Substantially true. Complaints about how much harder it is to achieve (e.g.) a house now are often based on a lack of appreciation of the extent to which older generations scrimped, shared, waited. and gave up spending on artefacts and leisure in order to get a foot on the ladder. Even on a short term historical perspective the description of present conditions as “austerity” is preposterous.

      Sadly though, contemporary expectations lack such perspective.

  39. Posted July 3, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    When are you going to call the IMF in to prop up your finances? Our debt is horrendous and getting bigger. How irresponsible is this?

    Reply our debt needs to be looked at net of the debt we bought up, and in the light of ultra low rates. The government can currently roll its debts over on maturity easily at very low rates. When Labour borrowed too much and had to go the IMF the state needed to offer 15% to borrow money!

  40. Posted July 3, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Will someone be kind enough to explain how a rise in UK public debt from 70.9% of GDP in 2010 to 85.9% GDP in 2016 constitutes austerity?

    • Posted July 4, 2017 at 8:57 am | Permalink

      Well from 2010 the UK had to bail out Ireland both with our contribution to the Euro Bailout fund and over the following years bank bail-outs, “the UK taxpayer has propped up the Irish economy with at least £20bn, which will renew questions about how the Labour government handled the bail-outs in 2008-09”.

      We also had to provide money to bail out Greece, Portgual and Italy which will be in this total, so while we’re facing our own austerity we are a good neighbour and helping everyone else out too.

  41. Posted July 3, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Do a survey of takeaways with a delivery service. Somehow get a list of their historic addresses to which they deliver. The cost of their food set against what a householder would pay if they made it themselves.
    To the very rich, it may seem odd that a poor person or relatively poor person would feel themselves , inside , rich, by having food delivered to their home and having the power to have a person serve them and the power at their discretion to tip them. To “play” in a James Bond’s Casino by having a scratch card or buying a lottery ticket. Such rich life “beyond” their dreams.
    A butler is someone who brings food to your table. A personal chef is a takeaway worker.Now you understand . Ordinary people cannot afford, in reality, such parallel rich lifestyles. They do not need pay increases. Nor a society built like the one in the Matrix movie.

  42. Posted July 3, 2017 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon.

    You cannot easily compare public vs private sector in terms of pay because one is in a competitive market and the other not. But in my experience private business is both more competitive in terms of price and efficient. When someone knows that your custom can go elsewhere peoples attitude tends to change. They become more customer focused, whereas State sector employees know you will have to wait as there is nowhere else to go. Effectively you are held hostage to these people who treat you as if you are their for their benefit and not the other way round.

    The Conservative government of the 90’s introduced, Compulsive Competitive Tendering into Local Authority business. This really did frighten the Doyens of Local government as they, the management, were simply useless.

    Today the London Ambulance Service is in competition with other emergency service providers. The more that Public Services are put out to tender the better.

  43. Posted July 3, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Are there any vacancies in the police forces? What about the fire service?
    The government seems blind to the jobs, the actual pay and conditions, the freebies attached to them. It has little idea it seems about workers’ disposable and discretionary income. Perhaps it works with statistics on data bases. Not reality.
    The truth on the ground is so different.
    Wait for the vacancies to occur, for recruitment to become very difficult. Then you can judge whether a pay increase is necessary.
    I know many in the public arena, nurses, medical people in general. Fewer of them, means more and more overtime, which they actually love. It will seem strange to idle Labour but people love paid overtime. In Yorkshire they are called “grabbers”. Grabbers of every hour offered whatsoever irrespective of their personal need. Many people could live on the overtime, shift allowances and feeebies of a nurse alone…not counting basic salary. They do in fact.

    Reply The Independent Pay Bodies review supply and demand, cost of living and all the other relevant issues you raise. The government plans to read their reports and then decide!

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      Our county police force is 200 constables short of requirements, and that is after the cuts enforced by government. The Chief Constable was reduced today on local radio to appealing for anyone who might be interested in joining. They just cannot keep staff. It’s not all about pay but about conditions and being valued, which the government clearly don’t think police, nurses, doctors fire fighter etc are, unless they want to be on telly saying what a wonderful job they do and then cut their pay. The police don’t actually love the overtime, the cancelled rest days etc. down here in the south. Properly paid they would not need to do it. Who other than government wants tired burned out doctors?

  44. Posted July 3, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Blanket lifting the public pay cap is not the way forward everyone in the public sector is not deserving of a pay rise. Ministers are not doing the party any favours leaking there wants and need to the media to pressure the PM. Cost efficiency needs to be emphasise across the board and productivity targets measured before reassessing pay increases. Public sector is too fat with non jobs and needs to be leaner smarter

  45. Posted July 3, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    From where I stand, this looks like appeasing pressure from the Left. I’m disturbed by the BBC’s daily, blatantly partisan mischief making; but then, for ministers mouthing-off without reference to the PM, gives the impression of rats worrying about the lifeboats! Balancing the books, and fixing the complexities of Public Sector Pay, are too important to leave to the mob. That’s why I was pleased to see the headline this lunchtime: ‘ No. 10 says no change on public sector pay policy’.
    BTW: the reason many of us are pro-Brexit is because we love our country, cherish traditional values, and the freedom that has hitherto ensued: we want to see strong, sound, right-minded, ‘conviction’ politics, whatever the howling lefties and the BBC are chanting. Mrs May seems resolute and sincere: much of the criticism leveled against her is misplaced and patently unfair (but I guess, in politics, you get used to that). One hopes decent folk throughout the country (hopefully still the silent majority) will perceive this, and not be bought by the scandalous opportunism of a resurgent far-left.

  46. Posted July 3, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    A fine idea to reward productivity but the public sector do not actually produce anything.
    So, how do we reward, say, Firemen and Ambulance paramedics? By the numbers treated? Or by being available on time? Bonus for No days off sick or extra pay for signing a no-strike agreement and for not being a member of a Public Sector Trade Union?

    It is not going to be easy but such practice works for the Private sector so why not our Public Sector too?

    Reply If you can measure it you can manage it. We can manage quality and cost in the public sector as well as in the private.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply

      And there in a nutshell is the classic political ‘answer’. Everything has to be measured, rated and regulated ad infinitum. Thus we get ‘managers’ in the NHS on 45 grand telling nurses on 25 grand they can’t spend tuppence on a dressing, useless targets that go nowhere so people with easy illnesses get fixed before complicated ones, education where teachers cannot teach but fill in forms and assessments all the time, GP’s who have to run their practices as businesses due to the internal market etc etc – and they wonder why they can’t get and retain staff. Some things are better left to the professionals, not what the amateurs, which essentially politicians are, think things should be.

      • Posted July 4, 2017 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        Why is it so difficult for the Public Sector to adopt already proven Private Sector practice and procedures?

  47. Posted July 3, 2017 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Nigel Evans MP speaking to Ben Wallace MP 15.04 3rd July 2017 said “It is a no brainer that flammable materials should not be used as cladding and flammable materials should not be used in buildings at all.” Nonsense.
    It is of course unrealistic to expect MPs to be knowledgeable about housing and construction. And,…. they aren’t.

  48. Posted July 3, 2017 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    The only thing politician are interested in, is staying in government as long as possible, with out having to think or doing anything for the people. What you see now is con party politician running around like headless chickens saying anything that may beef up there support for the next election. Why is this, because the new labour leader has broken the political state quo of you get what you are given and lump it. If it was not for the labour leader and brexit the con party would of been happily going on there merry way loading the whole of the yearly debt on to the people backs, which has been done so far without the people knowing what they have been up to, and even if they did there was no way of doing anything about it, with nobody else putting any money in, only taking money out. It was never the people debt to pay off, it was always bankers, the city of london, companies, and government debt through bad economic policies thrust a upon the people by all MPs in parliament without being asked, with no way of voting against theses policies at the polls.
    One the biggest problems the people and the gov have now, is that thing are to expensive, not only on people every day living costs like rent, taxes, food, electric, fuel, council tax, and lot more besides, but also for the government to build anything, with private companies wanting more money for less work. Even when labour was in power they had pay out 7 to 1 for debt to get anything build and put that debt off the books, because the prices were to high, which was brought in by con party gov in the 90s, called PFI. At my hospital they can’t even afford a new MRI scanner, they have had to put out public appeal for donation the same with schools for book money and other things.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      Yes, as someone recently (12/06) said on this “channel”: Prosperity not Austerity.

    • Posted July 4, 2017 at 3:19 am | Permalink

      In a time of austerity “Oh let’s go and clad our buildings ” “It will look nicer” “It will save money, eventually” No, our local authorities, needless to say, really have not been engaged in austerity AT ALL.
      I am not a social philosopher cum sociologist. I do not know what to put in place of Local Authorities. Not for the sake of tokenism but these Heads of MBC Authorities who somehow are viewed as gallant knights on white stallions are given “Sir” as a title, should be removed. Yes I do know what work they do. The problem is how to confiscate £60,000 of each of their annual previous salaries and benefits and still keep within the law. Deporting them and confiscating their passports to stop them returning is another legal complexity. We should form a Deportation Team to work out how it can be done.

  49. Posted July 3, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    totally off topic.

    I see the Hinckley point power station cost is set to rise by £1.5 bn ( and probably MORE rises due ) and also that it is supposed to take even longer than planned. The article showed up on BBC text and then went quickly – -ODD. . . .Anyone would think they were trying to hide something.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink


      New data on the world’s biggest developers of coal-fired power plants paints a very different picture: Chinese corporations are building or planning to build more than 700 new coal plants at home and around the world. Over all, 1,600 coal plants are planned or under construction in 62 countries, according to Urgewald’s tally, which uses data from the Global Coal Plant Tracker portal. The new plants would expand the world’s coal-fired power capacity by 43 percent. The fleet of new coal plants would make it virtually impossible to meet the goals set in the Paris climate accord. Solar panels generate 300 times more toxic waste than nuclear. All according to the GWPF.

    • Posted July 4, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      This was presented on BBC News yesterday and the reporter said that the good news was that the increase would all be paid by the builders and not the customer. As the BBC is in the habit of covering for the EU and this expensive nuke is the European Pressurised Reactor, I remembered that there were conditions in the agreement signed last year which indicated otherwise. Wiki has a useful page.

      The taxpayer was given a share of profits above 13% if it turns out that EDF makes a success of the power station. They are saying that the return on investment is down to c 8% but other analysts say it could be 20% or even 30%. The more they can claim for increased cost, the less the profit they may have to share. It was some EU commissioners who increased the taxpayer take, as they feared that the project was being over subsidised. Our ministry seemed to do nothing.

      The cost has increased tremendously since the project was first agreed and is now about £20bn but the NAO has put the total cost in use much higher, paid for by customers. Interestingly, when the CEGB proposed to build another Sizewell British power station there in the 80s, it was costed as £1.7bn- about the same as the latest cost increase. Sizewell is a successful British nuke which is producing electricity at economic prices. The project was cancelled because it was privatised and low interest rates were not available. The Finns are building their new nuke through a consortium which issues bonds at low rates.

      The Koreans and Japanese are having problems and would have been keen to build their tried and approved designs. The new lefty Korean president has cancelled nuclear in Korea because he thinks they are going to be affected by earthquakes.

  50. Posted July 3, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    A young man, full of indignation, told me the other day that when he was buying his second hand car he discovered a dealer who takes back brand new ones from disabled etc people who get them free from the government and then don’t want them. Brand new cars! Who can afford those? If they are keeping themselves, that is.

    Is this really going on? I can believe it is, as spending other people’s money unwisely is rife, but would like your confirmation.

    • Posted July 3, 2017 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

      And confirmation that students didn’t vote twice in the recent general election.

  51. Posted July 3, 2017 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    In his autobiography, Kind of Blue Ken Clarke mentions that public sector salaries were pushed to “heroic levels” under the Labour government.

    I agree with productivity as a criterion – hard to measure in some areas…some areas merely reduce the productivity of everyone else. There should be no rises to anyone with a six figure job. The civil service routinely over promotes people near to retirement so they can enjoy higher pensions…a crack down on these practices would be welcome.

    PS Whatever happened to the idea of making savings identified by civil servants? It seems to have died like many PR-inspired “initiatives” – Sir Humphrey lives!

  52. Posted July 3, 2017 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    I’m looking forward to seeing how much more productive Northern Ireland will be with that £1B of extra cash over the next two years.

  53. Posted July 3, 2017 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Better idea. Let’s pay Conservative MPs by results. So no pay until they clear the deficit as as repeatedly promised and until migration is down in the “tens of thousands”. The whole lot of them are charlatans on a false prospectus.

  54. Posted July 3, 2017 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    The problem with the public sectors idea of “efficiency” is that it is complete inefficiency for the country when seen in the round.
    Take blood tests, we have radically different approaches in different parts of the country. Not driven by patient choice, or even by medics, but by dictat by the Clinical Commissioning Groups trying to drive down costs.
    So in some parts of the country if you need a blood test, the GP surgery will take your blood there and then when you present with the symptoms. Either the GP themselves or the practise nurse will do it.
    In other parts of the country you are made to take another day off work to queue for hours at an overcrowded central “phlebotomy clinic” with all the sick people of your town spreading their diseases amongst each other.
    In many parts of the country the phlebotomy clinics are open Saturdays so hey at least workers can get a blood test without wasting another day or half day off work.
    In other parts of the country the phlebotomy clinics are strictly Monday to Friday working hours only, so any working patients have to take more time off work to queue. Indeed those who normally work away during the week are really stuck, the NHS really doesn’t know how to cope with anyone who doesn’t fit the neat “stay in the same town every single day” mould they assume.
    A whole system has grown up which is not seen anywhere else in the entire rest of the world (where patients have some real choice and buying power) forcing working people to take far more time off work than is necessary for simple blood tests. Costing many of them income reduction. And reducing the countries tax income with all these lost productive hours and associated tax take. And at the same time pushing up the spread of communicable diseases as all those sick people cough and splutter on each other for more appointments than are necessary. Worse than that in some places the phlebotomy clinics are in the heart of busy acute hospitals, so all these ill people are trampling their coughs and sneezes into the very heart of what should be a clean sterile hospital environment, for no good reason at all.
    All designed by the UK public sector as their idea of efficiency, which actually makes the country as a whole much less efficient, and is so spectacularly wrong given that no single other developed country does it like this (for good reason).
    If this is the productivity and efficiency you are asking from the public sector then be careful what you wish for.

    • Posted July 4, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      I have contacts who work in a London hospital with surgeons. One of them turned up unusually early for one of their assessment meetings. He was delighted to have found that, during the computer hacking aftermath, they could use their own professional judgement about whether blood tests were necessary. Normally, the computer tells them to take blood tests automatically. He knew the patient’s condition and how they were progressing and that sticking them all the time like dracula was only necessary if they showed certain symptoms. Unfortunately for patients, the system is now back up and running, with surgeons waiting for results before they can do what they know is necessary. No doubt, the more blood tests the more productive from managers point of view and more reasons for a pay rise.

    • Posted July 6, 2017 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      You are quite correct Iain and it’s usually poorer areas that get the very worst service.

  55. Posted July 4, 2017 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Pay rises *cause* productivity to rise. Productivity is just output per hour, how can that rise when output itself is barely rising? Government deficit remains far, far too small.

  56. Posted July 6, 2017 at 1:06 am | Permalink

    How do we measure the productivity of the legal profession, those masters of the negative sum game. Perhaps the number of times they pervert natural justice. It’s all in Gulliver’s Travels.

  57. Posted July 6, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Did we see a productivity rise from MPs when they received their above inflation pay awards,or did we just see them carrying on as they did before?

  58. Posted July 6, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Interesting comments. I have two points which I think should be clarified in the public arena.
    Firstly, we speak of the 1% pay cap which I understand to be gross pay? But the increases in personal allowances – 2010/11 = £6,475 and 2016/17 = £11,000 – means that net pay will have risen by £900 on top of the 1% increase (ignoring minor NI and pension contribution changes).
    Secondly, The NHS for one uses a system of annual pay increments (generally between 4 & 7 per pay band); NHS employees receive these automatically (technically they are supposed to be performance related – but this is rarely the case). These are significant 5%+, and if one is promoted they are moved to a higher band and the system triggers again. I presume other public bodies operate in a similar way?
    Why are these two items never raised?

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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