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How will the relationship between citizen and state change?

11:40 UK time, Thursday, 24 June 2010

The coalition government is asking nurses, police officers and other public sector workers to suggest ideas for "fair and responsible" savings. What impact will such changes have on UK society?

Ministers will determine the extent of the squeeze faced by individual departments in October's spending review but are asking workers to outline services they believe are non-essential.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg e-mailed or sent letters to workers about the scheme, in them the prime minister wrote: "We want you to help us find those savings so we can cut public spending in a way which is fair and responsible."

General secretary of the GMB union, Mr Kenny, said: "Cameron and Clegg have a damned cheek in asking public sector workers to co-operate in sacking thousands of them. It is an utter outrage."

Are you a public sector worker? Are you happy to suggest savings? Will the financial crisis mean that the relationship between citizen and state needs to be redefined? Should the private sector and voluntary sector become more closely involved?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.


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  • Comment number 1.

    We are not citizens but subjects which means we are subjected to the will of the Mon achy we are not a Republic. Our relationship with the ruling class and us is as usual we ignore their rules which is aimed at harassing the man in the street and kissing up to the rich even if they do not live in this country. I feel for many years no one with more than two brain cells will trust any PM or any civil servant as they like to call themselves our information come through the state sponsored media who was as much power over us as the BBC.

  • Comment number 2.

    I would hope that frontline staff are not too adversely affected, but it's always the way, when you've got a fat middle management trying to justify their existence. We NEED doctors/ nurses/ firemen/ police to keep us safe & healthy. What we do not need is the pleathora of bean counters. To sack 1 manager would probably save the cost of employing 5 nurses.

    I am a bit worried about public & private coming together. From what I have experienced in a local authority home, the maintenance is put out to tender. The company who says they can do the job for the least gets the contract. This is reflected in the lack of quality & pride in their workmanship. I've had some awful repairs carried out in my various homes which wouldn't be acceptable anywhere else, such as tiles put up badly & flooring put down on an uneven surface so the tiles break only to be replaced by a bigger sheet of lino without leveling the floor. I would do the work myself to a better standard, but am not allowed to. I've also seen the cleaners in hospital just pushing a broom around the floor a couple of times a day, but ignore the smear of blood on the wall which was there when I arrived & still hadn't gone when I left. The medical staff clearly took pride in their work, despite being run off their feet, I couldn't see the same in the cleaning staff.

  • Comment number 3.

    I think that to save money instead of releasing criminals from prison or not imprisoning them in the first instance we should close all UK prisons and instead use prison ships which many can be converted/used as they are sitting idle gaining rust due to world recession, they should then be located where theres lots of iceburgs.

  • Comment number 4.

    I am curious about something related to benefits. On the BBC last night you had Dave & Nick faced with a studio audience and of course there was as usual a single mother on benefits in there telling us that it is not worth going to work as she will lose benefits.

    My question is this - As there now so many single mothers on benefits that you cannot walk down any high street without bumping into dozens of them or does the BBC make strenouos efforts to find them to make a point.

    If they cannot afford children dont have them. They are all taught about contraception. Unfortunately they are also taught how to get the rest of us to pay for their mistakes. Time for a change.

  • Comment number 5.

    "1. At 12:06pm on 24 Jun 2010, D G Cullum wrote:

    We are not citizens but subjects which means we are subjected to the will of the Monachy we are not a Republic."

    Not technically correct. From wikipedia -

    "From 1 January 1949, when the British Nationality Act 1948 came into force, every person who was a British subject by virtue of a connection with the United Kingdom or one of her crown colonies (i.e. not the Dominions) became a Citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies."


    "Hence, from 1949 to 1982, a person born in England would have been a British subject and citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies, while someone born in Australia, would have been a British subject and citizen of Australia."

    So UK-born people are both subjects and citizens of the UK.

  • Comment number 6.

    How will the relationship between citizen and state change?

    Does it need to change?

    I'm pretty happy with the current arrangements -

    Ok we don't get the protection from the whims of the financial markets we'd like.

    And the authorities tend to abuse any new powers they get such as RIPA and the photography ban.

    Hopefully these things will improve in time.

    But over all things are pretty good.

    This just looks a cynical execise so that when the cuts come the goverment can turn round and tell usd it was all our idea.

  • Comment number 7.

    After WWII we built many many many pre-fabricated houses because they were needed quickly and were cheaper than building normal housing. Much of this housing is still around today, hence surely it has got to be mUCH MUCH cheaper to have another similar house building program to at least provide cheap housing so that taxpayers are NOT paying/subsidising a single parent £500.00 plus PER WEEK to live in expensive property in expensive areas.

  • Comment number 8.

    How come the BBC dont seem to be able to show a private sector worker that has just had his pension fried by the crisis and then show a public sector worker that tells us all how lucky he is.

  • Comment number 9.

    1. D G Cullum wrote: "We are not citizens but subjects which means we are subjected to the will of the Monarchy we are not a Republic."
    Incorrect! I am a British citizen; my passport confirms this fact.
    Cameron and Clegg will make any cuts they wish, without any regard for suggestions offered up by public sector workers. They must think we're all stupid. Either that or this article confirms my fear that they are nothing more than inexperienced amateurs dropped in at the deep end. Heaven help us all!

  • Comment number 10.

    Of course.
    Not just ''fair and responsible, but timely and leading by example.

    -How many are the BBC paying to go to Glastonbury ???

    ''October's spending review'' ??

    -Surely that's too long a time to wait.

  • Comment number 11.

    As a teacher, I am desperate not to see children's chances of further improvements in education being hijacked by cuts. So, if there are to be cuts, it must not be in staffing levels or vital teaching and learning resources, but in paperwork, directives and those who produce them. Do we need so many education quangos? Do we need so many advisers? Do we need so many Whitehall produced memos. Do we need such a vast Ofsted empire?

    Ask anyone in the public sector, be they police, nurses, doctors, prison officers, probation officers or street cleaners. All they need is the tools of the trade, not a paper chase or a string of experts telling them what to do and then changing their mind next year.

  • Comment number 12.

    The savings have got to be made. Employee's are being asked to suggest ways of making it less painful - though painful it will be. That seems quite reasonable. Much more reasonable than turning up to work and finding the doors locked, as is how many employees of SME's find out that cuts were necessary.

  • Comment number 13.

    Looking back to the 1980s I could never understand then why our government declared war on its own people. I just can't believe it's happening again. Asking us to help really is the final patronising act.

  • Comment number 14.

    This is a simply ridiculous proposal - ask any public employee which service should face cuts and they will reply 'That one!'. They will never say 'This One!'. What will next coalition idea be - to ask Turkeys to vote for Christmas!!

  • Comment number 15.

    At Stoke Mandeville recently I came across a nurse that needed some help. She called "upstairs" for help, which was in accordance with the manning standard and TWO managers appeared to find out why.

    help never came though.

  • Comment number 16.

    When the government is efficient enough not to need to write to us to ask us to confirm our personal details then we will know that something has changed.

  • Comment number 17.

    When sending out two or more letters, bills, etc., send all of them in a single envelope instead of paying for two lots of postage.

    Implement the rules on roadworks that were supposedly introduced by the last Tory government, but which have never actually been enforced.

    When hospitals send people appointments, send them far enough ahead of time that people have time to request changes. Don't send them with only a week's notice, especially at times of the year when the recipients are likely to be on holiday.

    Collect all recyclable material at the same time, from the same recycling bins, rather than paying two (or more) lots of contractors for multiple collections.

    Cut down on the number of different 'road improvements' on each stretch of trunk roads.

  • Comment number 18.

    It’s about attitude as much as money. The last Labour government allowed public sector workers to view their role as managing the public rather than serving them. Malevolent council jobsworths were given the authority to fine members of the public for not disposing of their rubbish in accordance with ever stricter and more complex regulation . Teachers examined pupil’s lunchboxes in search of forbidden contraband like biscuits or soft drinks. They even abused the anti terrorists act to mount “surveillance operations” on members of the public.

    The NHS is as bad - bossy and admonishing healthcare works make nasty judgmental comments about peoples lifestyles and even withhold treatment if they are judged not be up to scratch.

    It’s time for a change. Over mighty public sector workers need and deserve to be humbled – their job is providing public services not managing and judging people’s lives.

    They are not going to like it – no one likes losing status or being put in their place –there will be a lot of moaning but the one thing they won’t do is resign and get jobs in the private sector. The public sector gravy train is addictive – once on it people never leave.

  • Comment number 19.

    I would suggest a thorough review of systems and procedures, as the administrative overburden causes a lot of waste.

    For example, the benefits system is over-complex, involving huge numbers of complex (and poorly-designed) forms and additional bits of paper, often posted quite unnecessarily in separate envelopes.

    Many governmental agencies appear incapable of communicating by e-mail, insisting on using telephone and post which cost money and waste time. If the person with whom they need to communicate has e-mail, use it... but it is not even available as an option let alone a first choice.

  • Comment number 20.

    I am grateful for the front line service that most of our emergency services staff provide, yes they may indeed be able to highlight areas of wastage, probably have been doing this for years anyway. But alas this will not even dent what is being asked of them. What about the private drug companies that do very well thank-you out of the NHS, or the privately run alternative to the NHS that get business from the NHS or indeed products from the voluntary blood donations that end up in private hands. Bigger savings can be made from just these two suggestions. I'm quite sure there might be similar savings from firefighters / police etc that also use private bodies for outsourcing, the private entities are in it for profit, just squeeze savings from this profit.

  • Comment number 21.

    'Fair and Responsible'

    Ok - here goes.

    Clamp down hard on bonuses that exceed £30,000 however given with a tax band of 80%
    Have a REAL, meaningful enquiry into how many Managers are now within the public sector, espcially the NHS and Town Halls. Can never find them anyway, always on 'meetings'
    Leave the real front line services alone.
    Reduce the excessive management structure by a least two thirds. Trust me the Hospitals and Town Halls will still function without them.
    Tell the BBC that the licence is frozen for the next five years.
    Tell the BBC Executives that they can willingly go into the 'commercial sector' and find salaries they are receiving from the public.
    Prove to all of us that are genuinely low paid and/or pensioners that you really mean what you say and clamp down on those that are taking the micky out of you and us.

    Won't happen of course but it was a nice dream while it lasted.

  • Comment number 22.

    Having been involved in trying to find savings in a Whitehall department as part of the Gershon efficiency review, I feel it is well meaning but naive to expect any serious response from civil servants about ways to make savings - indeed bitter experience tells me that there is little point in trying to enter into any discussion about cuts. As things stand there is no incentive for anyone to make savings. Rewards witin the civil service depend on what you manage not producing useful outcomes. Civil servants will always find reasons to maintain the status quo, justifying meaningless expenditure on the grounds that it is providing a "useful public service" rather than taking steps to address address inefficiencies which are galringly obvious even to them. As a last resort, they will always suggest cuts which are intended to embarrass their political masters to the greatest extent in the realistic expectation that any action will be quickly shelved. (On this, Yes Minister was very accurate).

    To give civil servants an incentive to find cuts, I would suggest that if a Department fails to meet its targets (as judged by an independent auditor - the capacity for the civil service to manipulate financial data is endless), any shortfall should be made up by reducing salaries.
    passport if in doubt).

    And by the way Mr Cullum (post1), I, like you, am a citizen, not a subject (check your passport if you are in doubt). As a citizen, I find it intolerable that any Government, whether it be in London, Edinburgh or Brussels, should take a penny more of my earnings than is absolutely necessary.

  • Comment number 23.

    As Network Rail is subsidised by the taxpayer the government should force all senior management to forego any bonuses on top of their already high salaries. It's disgraceful

  • Comment number 24.

    11 wind-blown

    "Ask anyone in the public sector, be they police, nurses, doctors, prison officers, probation officers or street cleaners. All they need is the tools of the trade, not a paper chase or a string of experts telling them what to do and then changing their mind next year."

    Sounds about right. There does need to be management, and systems for checking performance, but it is clear that there is way too much bureaucracy and quangos.

    It strikes me teachers would do better if they were left to get on with their jobs, rather than paperwork, and given much more power to impose discipline.

    Same seems to apply across the public sector. I'm highly critical of the public sector as it stands. There clearly is a layer of parasitic management running through the whole set up, absorbing money, and stopping people like you doing the good job you can and want to do.

  • Comment number 25.

    @ #4
    The problem is that there are more than enough single mothers on benefits to go around. The BBC don't need to search them out. On R4 last night a single mother was interviewed and said that ONE of the reasons she had her 2nd child was to obtain more benefits.
    Education? It will take generations to change this and i'm afraid that this government, like the last, will not follow through with their good intentions to reform the benefit system because it is SO unpopular, however necessary. The problem with benefits is that particularly during the last 13 years they have gone from being a safety net for people in need to being a fishing net for the idle workshy scroungers that blight our nation. I am all for the benefit system supporting those in need but some people see it as almost an occupation. Before the liberal bed wetters get their hair shirts out, I used to work in the Benefits Agency. You would not believe some of the things I have seen going on amongst so-called 'claimants' in an effort to avoid work!!

  • Comment number 26.

    Are all public sector workers going to be asked their views or just 'frontline staff'? As a scientific researcher at a university, I'm not, I imagine, considered 'frontline' but I hope one section of the public sector doesn't get their say over what happens to the other.

  • Comment number 27.

    Doubloons, rubies and general pirate that's fair, safe and sensible savings. Ah har!

  • Comment number 28.

    i think if the government put a stop to those on dla having brand new cars that would save money and one parant mothers whose boyfriends are working and they recieving housing council tax all benefits its going on all the time that needs to be stopped they should get a fixed jail term for it and if the government dropped peodophiles on a desert island to fend for them selves that would save money

  • Comment number 29.

    It says on my passport citizen of Britain, and most important member of The European Community.

  • Comment number 30.

    Why don't we make a massive simplification to the tax and benefits system, making it fairer and requiring many fewer civil servants to administer it?

    Pay everyone a personal allowance (more for disabled, etc.), and tax everything we earn at, say, 50%

    Get rid of expensive means-testing, the ludicrous separation between income tax and national insurance, and the roller-coaster of marginal effective "tax rates" when you come off means-tested benefits.

  • Comment number 31.

    Doe the Public Sector also include those nationalised banks?

    All profits from the banks should be used to pay back tax payers before shareholders - no questions asked - shareholders would have lost their entire investment if they had failed, so they should be grateful for taxpayers help.

    Incentivise people to use the nationalised banks so they become more profitable and able to pay back taxpayers faster, this will mean shareholder dividends can then resume - this should then drive up the share price as return becomes better, then when share price return to level govt paid - sell the shares.

    I may be being simplistic - but we are being asked to sacrifice our pensions and take real term pay cuts while shareholders and executives are profiting from taxpayers - this seems deeply unfair.

  • Comment number 32.

    When I retired as a civil servant my wages before tax, insurance, pension and other deductions was £12,000 a year. More than many people get, I appreciate that, but how much would the country save by lowering my wage any further? When the government brought in the minimum wage my wage which was under eight thousand at time went up to meet the new minimum.

    People confuse what civil servants at the top get and what those at the bottom get. However, my time in the service saw continual changes. Not just of names of the organisation and procedures, but equipment, change of office, moving sections about the office. This went on all the time. Old buildings that had stood empty for years were spruced up and brought back into use only to be closed down again a year later, then opened up again three years later and then closed three years after that. At the same time brand new buildings were put up and then privatised with the government paying huge rents for buildings they once owned.

    If the government wants to stop waste I would suggest it looks at this continual moving from one building to another and back again.

    Also, if the government are reducing police numbers and asking for unpaid volunteer special constables to take over I think they should take the lead.

    Abolish all wages for MPs. Let them lead the way. After all they are the leaders, we the followers.

    Get rid of their expenses at the same time. They choose to go into politics. It should not be a career, more of a volunteering of services like the people who work in charity shops.

  • Comment number 33.

    "General secretary of the GMB union, Mr Kenny, said: 'Cameron and Clegg have a damned cheek in asking public sector workers to co-operate in sacking thousands of them. It is an utter outrage.'"

    Heaven forbid that a politician asks someone at the 'chalk-face' for an opinion!

    I don't work in the public sector but have worked for a large corporation in it's HO - many of the lower management know exactly where the 'flabby' departments are; teams that look very busy but really achieve nothing vital - excess layers of management, MI teams producing stats that nobody uses, staff whose roles overlap or duplicate effort.

    At the end of the day the cuts will be made by the politicians so they can't escape responsibility, but a little consultation is not a bad thing, providing its genuine.....

  • Comment number 34.

    The notion of an upright citizen with a sense of civic responsibility is very much a thing of the past. With the exception of perhaps 0.5%, we are all freeloaders now. O tempora! O mores!

  • Comment number 35.

    It is absolutely simple.
    If the police buy a Mercedes van for 20k then 20k goes abroad. If they were to spend 20k on a British built van then about 4k comes back in tax and about another 4k is saved in benefits because someone British is needed to build it. Thus it is really simple, get the public sector to support the British tax payer by buying British and thus help the economy out of the mess.
    Remember, buying American tanks cost 500 jobs straight away, the same has been occuring for years with council vehicles, ministerial cars, police equipment, armed forces uniforms.... all of this is imported, damaging our industry, our balance of payments, our employment. It HAS to stop - NO other country does this.

    I don't give a fig leaf for european regulation here, find me a German police car in France, or a Swedish one in Germany and you can spout European legislation.

    And if we don't have a factory making what we need set one up!

  • Comment number 36.

    I suspect that part of the problem of those employed by the state is that they have no direct connection with where their salaries are coming from. If you work in the private sector and the company has done badly then you know that there is to quote Mr Byrne "no money left" to pay you. In that case, if you're lucky and the company can come up with a plan such as many car plants did recently, you compromise and keep your job. Otherwise you're sacked. The ever increasing number of public sector staff have been paid up to now with the government equivalent of a credit card and now the bill has arrived. Everyone is now being asked to contribute more money in order to minimise the number of public sector job cuts so I'd hope that we won't hear too many complaints about pay freezes ( hands up any private sector employees had a pay rise recently), increased pension contributions ( hands up how many have private sector pensions worth more than the paper they're written on)etc etc. We're all pedalling as fast as we can to generate cash but we can't afford all of you.

  • Comment number 37.

    This is a stupid idea. The government should drop the touchy feely act. Faffing about consulting public workers will just cost time and money.

    Make the cuts, make them ruthless, do it fast, and then lets move on.

    This "fairness" thing is getting on my nerves. Nothing is fair. This entire recession isnt fair. People are losing their homes and their jobs because of banking errors and greed. Whilst people are having to take on second jobs to make ends meet others are selfishly living on state handouts.

    Dont patronise us. We all know the last government made a colossal mess which needs cleaning up.

    The irony of it all is that the average Labour voter who voted them in to secure their level of benefits are now going to be hit the hardest. I'm not laughing, honest.

  • Comment number 38.

    The state, currently in the hands of the Con dem coalition, has declared war on its citizens in the interests of an ideology. There is no debt, as their state can still engage in expensive wars. Soon sections of the population will find themselves obliged to fight back, go on strike against job losses, or protest against public services that they have paid for. And then the Con dem coalition will unleash force, backed by hastily written legislation.
    Oh yes. Nearly forget to make my obligatory suggestion for cuts. Start with the economic editors of the BBC and their research staff, who are dupiclating the PR efforts of the Con dems in giving credibility to this irresponsibity.

  • Comment number 39.

    What you are actually asking is do you agree with the frontline workers who on average are paid bottom line wages making decisions on who will be sacked to save money so that useless back office penpushers can keep their jobs.I wouldnt lower myself to say that any frontline low paid worker should be sacked at the expense of parasites who earn twice as much but know and do very little.Perhaps the same excercise should apply to the very top first in ALL departments of the public services.

  • Comment number 40.

    How ridiculous it's akin to an hangman asking the victim to choose the best rope.

  • Comment number 41.

    The budget statement included the provision for all government departments to face cuts of around 25% with the exception of Health and Oversees Development. Both of these are being ring fenced. The inclusion of Health as being a target for ring fencing is probably obvious, but the same status for Oversees Development is not at all apparent to me - or am I just being thick

  • Comment number 42.

    "#14. At 12:32pm on 24 Jun 2010, Brianlancashire wrote:
    This is a simply ridiculous proposal - ask any public employee which service should face cuts and they will reply 'That one!'. They will never say 'This One!'. What will next coalition idea be - to ask Turkeys to vote for Christmas!!2

    Has it occured to you that the Gov might look at all the comments and opinions it recieves and if there are enough valid points made about the same 'that one', they might act? Yes, staff in the flabby department are unlikely to say 'cut here' but if every other department points at them and says they do nothing useful 'cut there', the message might be heard.

  • Comment number 43.

    A relation of mine is working behind the scenes of the Police Force. He is retiring at the grand old age of 52. He has been allow to this on my tax money. That's one saving....make them work until 65 just like the private sector.

    Aother relation of mine works for the probation service. She tells me that many of her colleague come in and do nothing all day. I would make them all redundant or get them to do some useful work.

    It is just common sense and I am being to wonder if the Goverment has any of that.

  • Comment number 44.

    My friend, who works in the public sector, employs the services of a consultant on an annual basis so that he can get the same budget for consultants the following year. He hasn't needed one yet but finds it better to have the possibility should the need arise. This is just one example of waste that I expect is evident throughout the public sector.

  • Comment number 45.

    How ridiculous it's akin to the hangman asking the victim to choose the best rope.

  • Comment number 46.

    At last - bringing the public section in line with what we have faced in the private section for the past few years!

    Ought to wipe a few smiles of a few faces - having had to put up with comments from those in the public section that they have yearly pay raises and performance related ones, have a good pension, and job security etc.

    Welcome to the real world!

  • Comment number 47.

    At 12:15pm on 24 Jun 2010, steve_the_chauffeur wrote:

    "If they cannot afford children dont have them. They are all taught about contraception. Unfortunately they are also taught how to get the rest of us to pay for their mistakes. Time for a change."

    Agree entirely except of course most of the time it's not "a mistake". If it's "a mistake" you take a morning after pill or have an abortion. We have the best contraception, information and infrastucture ever, but the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Europe. So either they are all terminally thick, or being pregnant is not seen as a problem (supported of course by you and me). By 2025 "who do you think you are" will have been replaced by "nobody has any idea who you are".

  • Comment number 48.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 49.

    "General secretary of the GMB union, Mr Kenny, said: "Cameron and Clegg have a damned cheek in asking public sector workers to co-operate in sacking thousands of them. It is an utter outrage.""

    In this quote lies part of the problem. The Union Leaders do not want their underlings consulted for fear of losing control of their partisan politiking agenda. I would ask every public sector worker to put their views forward and bypass their union masters. I do not belong to a union because I refuse to pay for the massive salaries at the top of the union movement amongst other things. What are the unions for nowadays anyway. Most of their objectives (sick pay, holidays, workers rights etc) are now written into employment law and in the history of strikes, no worker in the long run has every been made better off by them, ever. Strikers lose pay in the short term, damage their business' reputation in the long run, make services worse for everyone in the short term and ultimately and inevitably the benefits recieved as a result of the strike never make up for the loss of money etc in the short term.

  • Comment number 50.

    I was advised by the Tory Government in 1987 to get a local goverment pension (the fund of which is still sound and needs no additional help from the public). My employer also advised me to take out my pension. Everyone at the time said it was a such a good investment. Now I am angry as the goverment seemed to reneging on its promise so I need not have bothered. I could have done with that money in hard times.

    This is the same for the private sector where companies could take pension holidays, dip into pensions for cash and if the company went bankrupt pensions were considered fair game. It was the Government that taxed dividends on pensions.

    The only investments which seem to be exempt from this real money grabbing is property investment which causes misery to thousands who can't buy over priced houses and to others who invested in their homes and now find the area destroyed by rental property which has little reguation or expectation as well as tax breaks on repairs.

    How can ordinary people plan for their future if the government keeps changing its mind so that it can favour property investment. Remember Pension funds contribute to business in share ownership whereas rental investment takes money away from areas which need it and disbribute it to areas which don't, as rents go from the poor to the rich.

  • Comment number 51.

    One simple saving, write all goverment paper work in plan english so that some one with a reading age of 10 can understand it.

    Then with the one execption of "welsh" in wales, do not produce ANY goverment document in any other language.

    Citizenship is only granted to those that can read and under stand reading age 10 documents.

    Only asylum seakers to be granted translators free of charge.

    Our council produces the council tax documements and its web site in over a dozen languages.

  • Comment number 52.

    As ever this will be a smoke screen. Any consultation is just a way of seeking justification for what they have already decided to do. You can be sure that they will say "We had a reply from xxxx person saying they felt cutting this would be a really good idea!" when they make the announcement. Whether that was the only positive comment for that cut to 5 million negative ones will not matter to the Politicians as its all about spin.

    The main cuts they could make to public services is to remove the horrendous amounts of paperwork involved and actually keep operating processes the same for a period of time. The job I do in the public sector is the same as the one I trained to do 15 years ago. The professional responsibility is the same. The paperwork, management and bureacracy has increased exponentially in that time.

    The paperwork I complete and the processes I use change daily it seems with little or no warning or training. The outcomes I want to get and the piece of practice I undertake remains the same as when I trained.

  • Comment number 53.

    I think it is a great idea to ask those who will be affected to contribute to the considerations. If you ask a manager to cut costs by 25% you can bet it won't be from the top - whereas, if you propose to front line workers that salaries either have to drop by 5% or else 200 staff lose their jobs, I'm pretty sure that many would be willing to take the cuts.
    Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg need to understand that we need to see a balance between cuts and increased tax take - so put in place a department of HMRC whose job it is to identify corporate and individual tax avoidance and to recover the amounts due. The department would have to prove its value in terms of return on investment - which should be simple enough.

    If public sector departments face 25% cuts, then so must the BBC. I want my licence pay reduced - cut back on management costs and 'talent' fees and stop sending so many people off on jollies.

    Put a cap on the management and administration costs of every public sector agency. 2% of budget maximum - rest must go to actual services. (Schools, Universities, colleges, hospitals, local authorities)and the 2% includes the costs of any quangoes. If public sector had to report on how much resources were being consumed by management and admin, you would soon see it drop!

    Since banks are also, now, part of the public sector - I think that bank employees should also have the right to input into saving money in the banks.

    Maximum salary for any public sector worked should be £100k. And the maximum pension allowed should be £50k (these are more than generous). However, public must also be educated about public sector rather than believing the media garbage. Public sector workers already pay an average of 8% into their pensions (more than most private sector employees)the contributions to the fund by employers should have been more than enough to fund the arrangements - but the Government plundered the funds in the same way that Robert Maxwell did to Mirror Group employees. Is it right that these workers should have their pensions reduced because of that?

    Anyone who won't work for public sector for under 100k should go and find a job in the private sector. In the same way that the BBC should not be competing with others for 'talent' neither should public sector compete with private sector salaries.

    Govt should also put PFI on the Government books and let us see exactly how much debt the labour party accrued - and name and shame those companies making obscene profits from these PFI contracts.

  • Comment number 54.

    Pay the bailed out bank staff the same rates as the rest of their colleagues in the public sector.

    'But they'll all leave' I hear the familiar cry. Actually when the rest of the public sector has been cut by 25+% I think we'll find it quite easy to replace them.

    'But they won't have the right skills' is the other old cry. Actually anyone who has worked in the public sector in recent times has had to be creative and imaginative with the limited resources we have - could definitely teach the banks a thing or two.

  • Comment number 55.

    Crisis? What crisis? This has been going on for two years now and as far as I can see nothing has changed. I was expecting people literally starving to death in the streets: something like the 1920s where people queued for hours to get into a soup kitchen, unemployment at 30% etc. Things could get a hell of a lot worse and still be nowhere near that state of affairs. We have become so cushioned and spoilt that even the average standard of life in Britain 40 years ago looks like the third world to us now.
    When this "crisis" was declared, I was all for digging up the garden, planting vegetables, letting out the spare room and learning how to mend shoes and cut hair to save money. What an idiot I was! What a lot of crying wolf! - we are as far from national grinding poverty and a crisis as I am from a seat in the House of Lords. What an utter farce. I think the people of this country wouldn't know an emergency if it sat down in front of their 3D TVs and passed wind.

  • Comment number 56.

    I know. Why not get rid of all the managers and administrators in the NHS. That would save an absolute fortune (similarly in eduction I guess).

    Of course, there will be nobody to pay the doctors and nurses, and other front-line staff, but they'll be happy to work for nothing won't they. There'll be nobody to buy the drugs and other supplies they need, or buy and arrange maintenance of equipment, or arrange cleaning and catering and maintenance of buildings, or book appointments, but none of that matters does it.

    No, no, must protect front-line services at all costs. Slash the management and administration to save money. Welcome to cloud-cuckoo land.

  • Comment number 57.

    How will the relationship between state and citizen change'? is the HYS question - first of all I challenge the HYS question which bears no relation to the news release on public sector workers having their say?

    In addition, this is a formal complaint to the BBC HYS team for this ludicrous wording of this HYS question and an insult to all public sector front-line workers?

  • Comment number 58.

    At 12:06pm on 24 Jun 2010, D G Cullum wrote:
    We are not citizens but subjects which means we are subjected to the will of the Mon achy we are not a Republic. Our relationship with the ruling class and us is as usual we ignore their rules which is aimed at harassing the man in the street and kissing up to the rich even if they do not live in this country. I feel for many years no one with more than two brain cells will trust any PM or any civil servant as they like to call themselves our information come through the state sponsored media who was as much power over us as the BBC.

    Correct Sir, we are subjects.....the only issue I would have with your statement would be anyone with two brain cells, surely you meant one brain cell as I understand the education system only dishes ones out. For one to have two brain cells must mean they have a masters degree in some obscure subject, like the 'Moments of madness with Manny the Poo' or was it 'Two cars are better than Shank's Pony' by some out of town yorkshire git.

    As for question, its not a bad idea as those at the coalface see things that are wastful if only they would be able to speak up without being dumped on.

  • Comment number 59.

    Due to the labour govenments requirement for form and policies and changes to this and that, managers are getting further and further away from managing, this suits those who cant handle responsibility. but i would say that managers are paid to manage, employees deserve to be managed well and that everything possible should be done to free up managers from unnecessary work and let them re-engage with staff and do what they are paid to do...Manage.

    To really cut expentiture you also need better leadership from local councillors, so much time is wasted on producing options, starting work and then stopping because one councillor has had a complaint, this is after the democratic consultation exercises. Councillors in run ups to elections will chop and change this and that to get votes they simply dont worry about the cost if it gets them elected.

    equality, local government is about 80% female, but has less than its fair share of female managers, I would say that local government needs 50% female managers at least and 50% male and 50% female workers, rather than mostly female.

    Finally human rights [echr] says that workers collectives are possible, these are not seen in local government but should be promoted as an alternative to the politically skewed unions, balance is needed and all workers rights need to be supported not jut those views of unite.

  • Comment number 60.

    Yes there can and I think the letter below also sums up the feelings of a lot of middle England.

    Dear Mr Cameron,

    I listened with great anticipation to Chancellors emergency budget of Tuesday 22nd June and agreed with most of what he said.
    In some areas, I believed he could have been more severe, but that is my opinion.

    The reason I am writing today is the subject of PENSIONS, and the raising of the retirement age to 66 and then to 70.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that a person has to have paid into the fund for a minimum of 38 years to qualify for a state pension.
    I have achieved this since I joined the Royal navy at 15 1/2yrs and am now 56. Even if I only started paying contributions from age 18, I still achieved this figure this year on my 56th birthday.

    I have always worked since I was 12, firstly a paper round, then collecting for Cancer & Polio, milk round,bread round and sunday washing cars for 2/6d with a friend. I have never been shy of hard work and have never claimed a days benefits from the state.
    I have had my own business for 16 yrs since leaving the Royal navy at 40.

    So why must I continue to contribute to a fund until I am 66, another 10 years of working life, that gives me and millions of other hard working people no additional benefits.

    You continue to espouse the virtues of fairness and the values of working, ( rather than being on benefits ) yet I will recieve the same state pension for working 48 years as does someone who has only contributed for 38 years ( and in some cases, where someone has decided on a life of benefits, they who have contributed nothing to the fund are allowed to take out of it.)

    Common sense says that if you pay into something longer than others, your reward should be greater.

    I urge you to address this imbalance in the name of fairness and also to encourage people to seek work.

  • Comment number 61.

    I think it's sensible to get an idea from those working in the hospitals, police and so on as they are the people who know what the priorities are.

    But the coalition wont be able to hide behind this.

    Ultimately, it will be the ConDem Party who will decide how much is cut. If they cut too much and put too much pressure on services to cut savagely, they will be ultimately responsible if they fail public services and fail the public.

  • Comment number 62.

    I would hope that frontline staff are not too adversely affected, but it's always the way, when you've got a fat middle management trying to justify their existence. We NEED doctors/ nurses/ firemen/ police to keep us safe & healthy. What we do not need is the pleathora of bean counters. To sack 1 manager would probably save the cost of employing 5 nurses.

    Someone has to do the managing and as the average GP gets paid £150,000 per year it is more likely that you would have to sack 5 surgery managers to pay for one GP!

    In the NHS the majority of operational managers are Nurses my wife is both a nurse and the Senior Clinical site manager for one of the biggest hospitals in London which normally ranks in the top 5 for both performance and outcome in the UK ,often number 1.

    For this very important task she receives an annual income approximately half that which a premier league footballer or a senior banker earns in a week.

    Her job saves lives for which She will now receive a 5-10 % real term pay cut over the next 2 years. If She had to take on additional responsibilities undertaken by non clinical managers this would impact on her ability to carry out Her core job. Patients would suffer quite possibly they would die ,it is that serious.

    Managers perform important roles too even if they are not on the front line.

  • Comment number 63.

    I have recently retired from DWP after many years of hard working loyal service. Over the years I have seen a complete transformation in the managing of this big department. The calibre of managers from senior G5 grade and above to the junior management grade of EO has fallen drastically to the extent that generally this department is being run by a bunch of muppets who are not fit for the responsibilities they have. I know of one who can hardly string a sentence together and is barely literate. Staff have little or no respect for them, they do not lead by example and this is shown in staff survey after staff survey but nothing changes. The IT systems approved by these muppets are not fit for purpose either and cost a fortune because of this. Given the opportunity I could save this department millions at a stroke.

  • Comment number 64.

    Last week on Tuesday I received a letter from the Local Council telling me what my Council Tax would be.

    In the same post I got a letter from the same department, telling me I did not have to pay it, as I qualified for Council Tax Benefit.

    The following day, I got another letter from the Council Tax Benefits office telling me that I had been awarded benefit and that the amount I had to pay was £0

    Three letters, all telling me about my council tax, 3 persons dealing with one issue, and sending out a letter (each)

    There is one area where cuts can be made!

  • Comment number 65.

    My wife is a public sector worker and I work for a private IT contractor on government work. What we both witness is a huge amount of cost centred around the employment of people that really don't want to be there.
    Many civil servants I work with appear to have a huge amount of flexibility in terms of the days that they can opt to work or take off. Many may work a three day week or choose to do five days in four. Others are in receipt of civil service pensions (having officially retired at say 57 and had their service credits made up to aged 60 to give a full pension) but still get to work three days a week to keep their incomes up!
    In short there is a lot of smoke an mirrors around funding of staff and the work fits in around their lives rather than the other way.
    Part time workers are employed at an overhead, we all know that. While the flexibility for them must be great to those of us that have to deal with them it leads to costs while we wait for decisions or wait for messages to be relayed by those that are working on a particular day. I have even had official complaints made against me for "thoughtlessly" emailing someone on a Friday when it is her day off resulting in her "not fully enjoying her weekend"! Naturally if they have a query for me I am expected to either be there instantly or have a fully qualified and up to speed deputy in place at all times.
    Where my wife works it is perhaps a little more obvious how massive savings could be made. She works in a school where levels of absentism seem to me to be through the roof. The nature of the children being taught means that staff ratios are high but frequently as many as 20% of staff are off "sick". The current self certification regime makes it easy to skive and come back just before you need a medical note.
    Because the children need care then the school has no option but to bring in extra staff at extra cost while continuing to pay those that simply feel like an extra week off. I saw a simlar attitude when I worked for HMRC many years ago.
    Absentism and over flexibility in working practices ae rife. We don't get away with it in the private sector. That's where I'd conduct my review and establish some fair but firm rules to get rid of the passengers.

  • Comment number 66.

    I love forums like this- what is so wonderful about them is that most of the correspondents have no idea about the real world and have never run anything more complicated than a whelk stall. Let’s knock a few myths on the head:
    1. Fat pointless managers: these are the people who make sure that the frontline staff, doctors, nurses, teachers, policemen, soldiers etc can get on with their jobs. There are the ones who make sure that leaks get fixed, salaries paid and computers maintained. Should frontline staff stop doing the jobs that they were trained to do and get involved in these ancillary tasks? Would that have an impact on front line services?
    2. Public Sector Pay: Public sector pay not as good as some parts of the private sector eg banking financial services or even professional footballers but we are better off than some of the private sector particularly the more informal parts, eg van drivers etc.
    3. There seems to be an assumption amongst some journalists and the media, that the public sector is a gravy train, when compared to the amount of money clever dick opinion column writes in national newspapers get paid we are paupers. Sometimes they even seem to resent the fact we are paid at all and keep suggesting that the work can be best done by unpaid volunteers.
    4. The public sector sponges off the private sector: Huge amounts of our work are done through commercial contractors, eg cleaners, electricians, delivery men etc. These cuts will affect the private sector. About 25% of private sector work actually relies on the public sector. This is not just about getting rid of blokes in bowler hats from Whitehall.
    5. The public sector is one monolith: The public sector is a mass of different organisations, including central government departments ( ministries) most of whose staff is based outside London, local authorities ( probably the biggest public sector employees) , the NHS , independent t bodies that receive government funding but are not directly controlled by the government eg universities. All of these organisations will be expected to reduce their costs, but in practice it will be left for each and every bit to make their own decision on how to save money. If they make decisions which the public does not like then, I suspect the government minister will not rush to support them- they will be left to their own devices.
    Rant over

  • Comment number 67.

    Of course there can be fair and responsible savings.Much of this is about the mindset of the whole system. At my local hospital I have watched them change from an army of receptionists and escorts who took people to the right dept and checked their files were in place to a system where two people give patients directions to their dept and appointment letters are put through a letter box in each dept where one person checks the paper files for that days appointments are already in place or on the database before the clinic starts. Appointment waiting times have have reduced and more patients are being seen.

  • Comment number 68.

    The government have finally woken up and asked the workers.

    Every private business on the planet must ask these questions daily.

    How do we make our product quicker, better, cheaper than the competitor.

    When funded by the taxpayer, the option is who cares what the price is I need to sign off this document.

    I would reduce all budgets by 20%, and target an increase in output by 20%, then review again in 6 months with the view of a similar target, and keep doing this again and again.

    How about this, I have a friend who worked as a temp for the local council, there were 14 others in the office, the reason why they needed a temp, no one else did anything at all, absolutely zero, for 6 months while this temp was there.

  • Comment number 69.

    In education, get rid of crappy organisations such as the General Teaching Council and the Institute for Lecturers - these were always an imposition, and for non-staff members a financial imposition, demanding additional expenditure.

    There must be hundreds of similar organisations trying to impose conditions and rules and regulations on people who already know what they should be doing in their jobs!

  • Comment number 70.

    no problem just read the news stop funding the private sector so your eton mates cameron /clegg can get big bouneses.

  • Comment number 71.

    How will the relationship between citizen and state change?

    Those citizens who make up the Board of Network Rail who have just voted themselves £2.4 million in bonuses can have new relationship. 20 years hard labour in a state prison for treason!

  • Comment number 72.

    This country is being held to ransom by overpaid coal miners who are protected by a left wing union which is determined to wreck the economy. There should be large scale sackings in the mines and pit closures. The way to prosperity is for large scale privatisation and cuts in public more free milk in schools.

    Sorry...I was writing a HYS comment for the 1980s, not the caring 21st century.

  • Comment number 73.

    As a Governor of a large primary school, I am staggered at the amount of money handed over by the LEA to contractors and consultants, on behalf of our school for buildings, maintenance and services. Apparently this practice is rife everywhere.

    We became a 'cheque-book school' two years ago and have already saved over £100,000 on needless bills during the past year. Thats over one million pounds in ten years. Other schools in the area are now very interested, (and this is NOT to be confused with the new 'free-school' status).

    If all schools had more say in how their own budgets were being used as an open cheque-book to private contractors who seem to charge whatever price they want, all Councils would save £millions every year.

    End this free gravy-train and lets see some real competetive tenders for work.

  • Comment number 74.

    "I know. Why not get rid of all the managers and administrators in the NHS. That would save an absolute fortune (similarly in eduction I guess).

    Of course, there will be nobody to pay the doctors and nurses, and other front-line staff, but they'll be happy to work for nothing won't they. There'll be nobody to buy the drugs and other supplies they need, or buy and arrange maintenance of equipment, or arrange cleaning and catering and maintenance of buildings, or book appointments, but none of that matters does it.

    No, no, must protect front-line services at all costs. Slash the management and administration to save money. Welcome to cloud-cuckoo land."

    There has to be some degree of management in any service. Having 8 or 9 tiers of management between the frontline and the body at the top of the pile is way too much.

    There is no reason why hospital managers, or any manager in the Public Sector should be paid substantially above the wages of frontline staff. Ordering stationary, arranging contracts with cleaners and gathering statistics doesnt compete with teaching, nursing, being a Dr or working in any frontline public service in terms of stress and skill.

  • Comment number 75.

    The Coalition seems to have adopted the philosophy of Pontius Pilate.
    I know a good money saver. Stop following the Americans into useless 19th century wars. Not only will it save money, but he cream of British youth will not be dying in mediaeval, broken third world Muslim countries.

  • Comment number 76.

    The cuts need to come in Whitehall and Parliament. Then the banks should be made to pay back some of that money they gladly took from us tax payers, then we should spend more effort on catching benefit AND tax fraudsters. That should bring in huge savings without increasing VAt and cutting pensions etc.

  • Comment number 77.

    We can only save if we have a surplus of something.

    If I have a couple of pounds left after I've paid all my bills for the week then I can save them and hope the bank doesn't run away with the money of course.

    This country abolished industry many years ago. We produce nothing and export nothing. We spend what money there is on imports.

    If we rebuild industry with real jobs we could solve many problems at once. Most of the problems highlighted on these Have Your Say forums would be covered.

    Unfortunately the new government thinks it's the old government. Cameron is still besotted with the unlamented Tony Blair.

    If he decided to invest in industry rather than looking for what to save he would be able to produce money and wealth.

    Of course he will not be allowed to do this because a revitalised British industry would compete with German industry and the purpose of the Common market/Eu/EC/EEC or whatever they call it these days is to make sure we are out of the race.

    We are ruled by Europe and it's they who make the decisions.

  • Comment number 78.

    We may wish we did not have to make cuts but just consider size of the deficit and debt. £156 Billion Deficit would take 27 years to reduce to zero at only 6 billion reduction a year but there is also the debt-the borrowed money which is about £800 Billion-if we pay that off at only £20 Billion a year it will take 40 years. It does look as if every penny of benefits and every penny of public spending for the last ten years has been funded by borrowing and will be paid for in taxes from our grandchildren.

  • Comment number 79.


    The banks reckless, irresponsible behaviour, guaranteed by the taxpayer, has ruined the global economy. Their behaviour is scandalous. The government's response is disgusting. The bank of England, the F.S.A and the O.F.T have not just failed people who have been exploited, but also millions of people around the world. The collateral damage is unintelligible and so are the banks.

    Banks have to be viewed in their current state as a threat to not just financial stability, but international relations as inevitably when money is the agenda who knows what is possible. I don't think there is enough awareness concerning just how corrupt the financial services are and zero tolerance is needed.

    The banks brought the world to its knees.

    So make the banks pay for the damage they created.

    The entire damage, not just the money they had to borrow to save them from going bust.

  • Comment number 80.

    Most money in the economy is controlled by the state. They collect the money in taxes and spend it accordingly. Most countries do this including Europe and the USA.

    What I would like to see is a total seperation from the receipients of the money and the state, where ever possible.

    Certain things would still be 'owned' by the state, police officers, armed service officers, etc. But everything else could be 'privatised'.

    I know this is an old argument but think about local government. There is no need for them to employ skilled craftsmen (electricians, pumbers etc.) when they could use local companies. No need for manual labour, for the same reason. No need for social services as this could be done by charities( I worked for one for over 2 years and it was more commercial than most businesses). Even Town & Country Planning could be done by professional organisations. The administration, including the collection of Council Tax could be done by a private sector organisation set up for the purpose. I would even sell off the council buildings and lease them back from industrial landlords responsible for the maintenance, (this would end any empty/redundent office space). I would go so far as to appoint a private management organisation to run the selection process for each contract.

    Defined rules would be, a ban on employing any close family member of the council, local services will mean they have the headquarters within a maximum of 30 miles of the authority, (to stop the growth of mega-service providers alledging economics of scale whilst taking cost cutting decisions in big HQ's in London). Longterm contracts overseen by a private evaluation company with the power to fine and revoke contracts if an organisation is not providing the agreed standard of service.

    This will take a long time to achieve but is currently underway in some public services. In 1989 I had a discussion with a person working in administration in the police headquarters. She was a civilian doing a job previously done by a Chief Inspector.

    I have as an objective, all local authorities owning nothing. The only thing not owned would be the authority of the elected councilers.

    If we had this type of service in both local and national public service we would end all the discussion of public v private workers, as all would be private. We would elect our councillers on the results of their policies, and nothing else.

    There would be no fat cats, no bloated middle management, no non-jobs with the word 'facilitator' in the title. Ownership of all the organisations appointed would be local, with a ban on them selling out to big service conglomerates in London.

    Foe example; when water was privatised the French were held up as an example of how it could be done. What people didn't understand was it is the supply of water that is privatised in France. The decision about who is to supply the water, and the price, is done by the local authority, who get the best deal for the public, or face being voted out.

    The reason we have this belief that most of the public sector employees are featherbeded, is because the people who spend the money do not have any concerns for the public from whom they raise the money. Without the initiative of a profit motive (which even charities have) all organisations act as monopolies.

    The relationship between the citizen and the state would be on the results of policy as they affect the people, not on the persuit of vanity projects.

  • Comment number 81.

    "The coalition government is asking nurses, police officers and other public sector workers to suggest ideas for "fair and responsible" savings. What impact will such changes have on UK society?"

    It all depends on whether the coalition government are going to take any notice of the suggestions that they receive. I am sure that this is all window dressing as far as they (the government) are concerned, as they will make whatever cuts they feel are necessary whatever the Public Workers have to say.

    If they do surprise us and take note of what has been suggested and everything goes pear shaped they can always say "well you suggested it" so it is not our fault.

  • Comment number 82.

    how about abandoning foreign wars? or even cancelling the two new aircraft carriers, which after all are unlikely to get the J35s (assuming they can be made to work).

  • Comment number 83.

    The UK Commission for Employment and Skills (surely an early candidate for closure to help cut back on non-essential Govt. expenditure) carried out an audit of occupation changes between 2001 and 2009. Totally out in a class of its own in increase in numbers in that time 252,358 ballooning to 482,979 was "Educational assistants". So now we know where the 50% over and above inflation increases on education by the last government were largely spent. Despite these regiments of extra staff educational achievement has seemingly marked time at best. It would appear that education may possibly need not to be a "ring fenced" expenditure

    Working in the construction industry I often visit schools and am always surprised at just how many adults there seem to be "milling about". I know I am getting on towards retirement but in my (large) primary school there was one teacher per class of 40, the head and the school secretary!

    Other public funded "growth" areas were:

    Town Planners 13,886 to 26,931
    Registrars and senior educational admin 25,195 to 44,210
    Youth and community workers 70,868 to 114,992
    Housing and welfare officers 110,357 to 176,173
    Social service managers 11,067 to 17,275

    In the "top" 20 of job reductions not one publicly funded occupation appears.

    Public sector employees may not have caused the problem but the previous government's spend, spend, spend policies have and public sector jobs growth has plainly been a result. So if the government now wishes to "invest" (to borrow a well known phrase from a former Chancellor of the Exchequer and Prime Minister) less in government funded areas a consequent decline in public sector jobs would appear to be a quid pro quo.

  • Comment number 84.

    Here's my suggestions

    1. Save money by scrapping intrusive and time wasting 'government target' based paperwork.

    2. Stop paying for expensive consultants.

    3. Decriminalize and tax illicit drugs which have less harmful effects than alcohol and cigarettes. This will not only raise revenue but cut costs of imprisonment, court costs, policing costs and reduce overall crime by creating a smaller underground market. It's quite frankly stupid to have things illegal when they are proven to be less harmful than legal substances.

    4. Completely rewrite the benefits system from scratch, make it basic and clear and also rewrite the rules afresh. Those who are scamming the current system know it inside out. Also cap the amount possible claimed, you should not be able to horde benefits.

  • Comment number 85.

    So, Mr. Kenny of the GMB thinks it is "a damned cheek"!! Well, I suppose he's entitled to his opinion but has he forgotten that it was his New Labour cronies who got this country into such a dire financial mess?

    Economies have to be made and had the previous Government not adopted an absolute ridiculous 'spend, spend, spend' policy we wouldn't be where we are today.

    It will hurt and it will go on hurting for years to come, so get used to it!!

  • Comment number 86.

    David Cameron isn't going to listen to the individual oipinons of his staff. It's just a Con by the Con Dem Governemnt to make us feel we are empowered when there is no real consultation at all.
    All the Government will do is pick the views which tally with their own and if they go wrong blame us the electorate as , after all, we were consulted.

  • Comment number 87.

    As a public sector worker, I am absolutely furious at many of the ill informed and ignorant comments now being bandied about by supposedly educated people who have obviously been taken in by all the right wing propaganda.


    Public sector salaries have in general seen below inflation level increases for the last 10 years (effectively a pay cut).


    Public sector salaries are actually LOWER than those in the private sector. If you doubt that, ask yourself how many private sector workers have been clamouring to get into these so-called lavish public sector jobs (if there were any) over the last few years. Very few.


    Traditionally, to offset the lower public sector salaries, pensions were slightly better than the corresponding private sector jobs. By the government changing the indexation from RPI to CPI, this will slash future payouts on these pensions which many public sector workers have paid into over many years thinking that they would get a decent pension at the end of the day. This is just legalised theft.

    I joined the public sector 20 years ago, not for riches, but to help my fellow citizens whilst getting a decent days pay for my efforts. Since then, my conditions, pay, pension and job security have all been eroded into the dust. All this whilst seeing the private sector take up many positions which used to be wholly filled by public sector workers. In truth, the public sector has been slowly privitised for the past 20 years, so any cuts made to one will now have a serious effect the other.

    So if you want my opinion on where to make cuts, let's start with all those contracts to external private companies such as building professionals, cleaning companies, maintenance companies, education providers, health providers etc etc. The public sector (which bye the way includes banks these days) and it's workers can do a much better and cheaper job than the profiteering, foreign owned, private companies looking to get a slice of the pie.

    I've had enough of being stigmatised by the press and made to feel like some kind of scrounger just because I put people before profit and chose to work in the public sector. Well no more - I'm off to get a job as a consultant in the private sector where you'll pay me more for doing exactly the same job. And for some strange reason you'll apparently respect me more for it. Goodbye and good luck.

  • Comment number 88.

    Compared with private industry, taxpayer-funded organisations always appear to be more profligate with their cash. How many private organisations give two-day bank holidays? One large public-funded company local to me automatically gives everyone Monday AND Tuesday holiday. The public sector seems bloated, and could be thinned down dramatically, without loss of real jobs. Costs always seem much higher than necessary: Oxford railway station being nominally upgraded at the same cost of building 100 houses? Seems a bit steep to me. But what do I know? I'm only a self-employed mug, with no index-linked pension to look forward to. Maybe Del-Boy was right: Only Fools and Horses work!

  • Comment number 89.

    I suspect some PR window-dressing here. I'm a civil servant, and the only body that's invited my suggestions is the BBC - I've received no email from the government, and I can't find any official website with a facility to put forward ideas. It was the same when a "public consultation" on spending cuts was announced a week or two ago - eventually I traced the announcement to HM Treasury website, but there was nowhere for the public to contribute to the debate.
    Perhaps it's time the BBC stopped parroting the contents of government press releases announcing yet another "consultation" when there is no basis for the claims.

  • Comment number 90.

    I am not a Public Sector worker but realise that something has to be done. I would suggest getting rid of a lot of the middle/top managers in all of the departments. There are far too many of them, they are not needed and they are a drain on the country's finances.

    Front line workers ie: Nurses, Doctors, Care Assistants, Teachers, Police(wo)men, Fire(wo)men, Ambulance personnel, Armed Forces, Rubbish Collectors, Social Workers, Librarians etc etc are all important and should be left alone.

  • Comment number 91.

    Ministers will determine the extent of the squeeze faced by individual departments in October's spending review but are asking workers to outline services they believe are non-essential.

    MOST people due to their own position/circumstance/BIASED IGNORANCE just do not understand the FULL implications of many services.

    This is MORE about "divide and conquer"

    The MAIN area of CUTS should be to those workers who are basically USELESS and underperform or NOT even perform at all, but in reality these imposed cuts will SPECIFICALLY miss out the WORST workers/employees, hence once cuts are implemented I think we will be left with services which then employ a much greater percentage of incompetants and lazy mongerals.

    I remember years ago ICL carried out massive research to access the RIGHT/CORRECT areas it needed to cut back on to survive when it merged with Fujisu.

    I know of HONEST managers who ultimately and HIGHLY professionally made themselves redundant because of overlaps in productivity/servicing etc and in areas whereby parts of the business could be merged and fully and competantly STILL DO the job to the same ability as previous.

    I VERY MUCH doubt that the public sector would EVER be as honest and compliant in assessing their own abilitys and worth, in such a way as to ultimately decide their own fate of being cut.

    If the public sector does NOT FIRST and FOREMOST weed out the dregs then standards and productivity will be hit MUCH MUCH more severely and ultimately, this government will pass those dutys and areas of failure over to private industry/contractors.

    If you are in public service and you have just a tiny bit of decency, then to save that service from complete long term destruction/privatisation you need to do your moral duty and put forward the slackers/lazy so that your own job and that of hard working can be sustainably saved.

  • Comment number 92.

    Yes, the Private Sector should be involved in the form of an independent Time and Motion study of all Public Sector administrative and clerical workers.

  • Comment number 93.

    I do wish the PM would not use this word 'fair' all the time as it will return to haunt him like Blair's quotes about Iraq's WMD. Life is not fair and there is no point is trying to imaging that it is.

    Agonising over which 500,000 public sector jobs are reassigned to the private sector or the dole won't make Britain PLC one extra penny or help it compete with the rest of the world. It’s like arguing over oars in a sinking lifeboat and it wastes time.

    So s*d fairness, let’s get the UK moving forward again out of debt and into profit and then we can all argue about fairness if and when we ever again have something to share out.

    The UK was bled dry by a Labour government trying to hide its supporters under a state comfort blanket of 'fairness' and I wish the new PM et al would instead treat voters like adults and just get on with it instead of wasting time trying to be polite and softening the blows. We are all in for canings of various degrees and the sooner we accept the nasty medicine the sooner we can move on.

  • Comment number 94.

    Our new Green Party M.P. suggested in Parliament yesterday that the government should reduce tax evasion AND avoidance. What a pity she doesn't understand such a basic difference (as seemingly do not others on here from messages above)

    Anyone with an ISA account is AVOIDING tax as is anyone with no income who registers for gross interest on their savings accounts because government legislation says you can. Avoiding tax is quite legal. Anyone receiving cash for any service without declaring it is probably involved in tax EVASION, so I suspect that 99% of commentators on here are guilty of participating in tax evasion by paying Fred to fix the car, build that extension etc., but of course it's always someone else isn't it but never me.

  • Comment number 95.

    I worked as a Civil Servant for some years and was appalled at the level of financial mis-management within my department. So much talk and so little actually achieved.
    Now my daughter has worked for her local council for over 25 years and has reported similar massive wastage. For example human and civil rights legislation has meant a plethera of officers all of whom give the local rate payers nothing for their money.
    If you work for your local authority it is also likely that you will be expected to attend many courses on matters which are little more than common sense to anyone else. Free people to take personal responsibility and save a great deal of cash.

  • Comment number 96.

    As for the government asking only public sector workers - they should consider themselves lucky that the government aren't asking the rest of us!

    For anyone that works in the private sector, the public sector seems a nest of incompetents, beaurocracy and money wasting schemes all overseen by a conflic of interest ridden management.

    Being brought in line with the 21st century is long overdue.

  • Comment number 97.

    perhaps we should find useful work for dole-scroungers ie single mothers could rear rejected zoo animals or those with multiple children could dig for truffles. Thats the problem in this country, no enterprise.

  • Comment number 98.

    Anyone who thinks reducing department budgets by 25-30% can be achieved by "trimming middle management" is in danger of losing touch with reality.

    And I'd STILL like to know which public services Cameron, Osbourne and the other millionaires in the cabinet will be missing most.

    And I remain unconvinced that someone earning £100,000/year having to pay an extra couple of thousand in tax is equivalent "pain" to someone on £15,000/year being told "your job no longer exists - welcome to unemployment benefits, which we'll be slashing as you are quite obviously a work shy malingerer".

  • Comment number 99.

    1. Set the minimum wage at a liveable rate, say £7.50 an hour.
    2. Set the Basic Tax Threshold to the annualised minmum wage.
    3. Set the maximum benefit payment(annualised) to 70-75% of the minimum wage(annualised).
    4. Set the Basic Tax Rate to 20%
    5. Set the Higher Tax Rate to 50%.
    6. End the Maximum Earning Limit on NIC.
    The aim is to show that you are better off working, to do that people have to see the effect in their pocket.
    This would address the taper effect when people come off benefits and start work and see a dramatic reduction in their income.
    7. Beef up HMRC to claw back the £28 billion in unpaid tax and then attack the £40 billion a year in tax evasion and tax avoidance schemes, that is serious money lost to the nation's finances.
    8. Set CGT to the claimants Tax Rate.
    Introduce serious financial penalties and jail terms for those involved in these 'tax efficiency' schemes, it's fraud no more, no less.
    The figures dwarf that of benefit fraud.
    Step 1-6 will make work pay, will simplify the benefit system and make it's adminstration cheaper.
    Step 7 will show the government's serious about making sure everyone does their bit in securing the nations finances...

  • Comment number 100.

    In principle this could be the single most democratic act the Conservative party has ever been part of, which naturally makes a lot of us suspicious!

    The truth as to whether this is a good idea or bad will come down to one thing alone- how it is implemented.

    If front line workers make suggestions that save money but they aren't taken up, then what is the point?
    If, as many rightfully worry, this is just so any suggestions made by the workers that agree with cuts that have already been decided upon so can be rolled out with a 'you brought it on yourselves' argument then that's a different matter!

    For instance:
    What if hundreds of front line staff ask for higher quality pens, because currently the ones at half the price last a tenth as long, with a potential saving equivalent to a part time job?
    What if a single person suggests sacking the part time worker?
    Will they get the better pens, or just sack someone?

    The proof will be in the actions, not the rhetoric!


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