Chancellor defends localised public sector pay deals

George Osborne The government is looking at salaries being negotiated at a local rather than a national level

There are claims that teachers, nurses and health workers in the north of England could see their pay cut under government plans.

Proposals to end the practice of national pay bargaining have prompted fears that some workers will find themselves on the wrong side of a North-South divide.

Ministers believe public sector salaries should be more closely linked to average wages in the local labour market.

Pay differences

In Kingston-upon-Thames, workers in the private sector earn on average more than twice as much as staff in its northern namesake - Kingston-upon-Hull.

Although many London-based staff receive a weighting allowance, most public sector staff are subject to the same rates of pay whether they work in the north or the south.

The Chancellor has announced that the government is looking at salaries being negotiated at a local, rather than national level.

Speaking in Leeds, George Osborne said: "What we're trying to do is make sure that pay is fair and that it is right for the local economy.

"We've already introduced it in the courts service, they already have local rates of pay, so we'll be asking the independent review bodies whether this is the right thing to introduce more widely in the public sector."

Labour markets

Start Quote

Wallet with money

What we're trying to do is make sure that pay is fair and that it is right for the local economy”

End Quote George Osborne Chancellor

However, the move is opposed by teachers such as Emma Hardy, who works in a primary school in East Yorkshire.

Speaking to the Sunday Politics in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, Ms Hardy said: "George Osborne has already said there is no extra money to fund this.

"What instead he must be doing, if there is no more money, is either putting a pay freeze on people who live in poorer areas or giving us a pay cut."

The Public Pay Review bodies will now look at the options for making wages more responsive to local labour markets, with a report due in July.

Following the recent strikes over pensions, the proposed scrapping of national pay bargaining could spark round two in a fight between the public sector unions and the government.

Tim Iredale Article written by Tim Iredale Tim Iredale Political editor, Yorkshire & Lincolnshire

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  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    As a public servant who works in London I have no problem with this, Always the more militant northern branches who vote against most things like pay awards. However it does smack of a stealth way to extend pay freezes for our northern colleagues for the next 10 years. The proof will be if any subsequent awards for us southerners reflect the cost of housing difference in the South East.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Good call Osborne. Make sure there is less money around in poorer areas so local businesses can suffer as well. Poorer areas can get poorer and we can all relocate to the southeast / London which is the only part of the country which this terrible government thinks matters. I wonder what Cleggie's constituents in Sheffield think.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    I can not see how this proposal would be of any benefit to anyone, house prices are relative to a range of market forces, the problem is a lack of affordable housing in the south and the Government shoud be looking at solving that issue. People living in areas with lower incomes pay the same for fuel, food, clothes, loans etc. as people living everywhere else in the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Another brainless idea from a mediocre History graduate, with towel folding and data entry experience to boot.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Long overdue measure. Such distortions may well be at the root problem of regional lack of private employers and dependence on state jobs. Because they pay too much for the area. Making recruiting no cheaper to private enterprise in run down areas, so no point setting up there.


Comments 5 of 16



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