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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Influencing the UK Government on Regional Pay

The Independent reports that Downing Street has signalled a U-turn over controversial plans by the Chancellor George Osborne to bring in local pay agreements throughout the public sector:.

David Cameron's official spokeswoman said yesterday: "Our case is, unless there is strong evidence to support it – and there is a rational case for it – then it won't change." She was responding to a report in The Independent that Nick Clegg is preparing to veto the idea amid growing opposition from Liberal Democrats, who fear it would widen the North-South divide and spark a political backlash.

Downing Street's statement marks yet another retreat from the measures announced in the Budget in March, when Mr Osborne said: "We're looking to see whether we can make public sector pay more responsive to local pay rates... So we should see what we can do to make our public services more responsive, and help our private sector to grow and create jobs."

As I have reported previously it is not just Liberal Democrats who are opposed to this measure. A number of Tory MPs have also spoken out against it. But it is no coincidence that influential blogs and newspapers are quoting the opposition from Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader, Kirsty Williams and her party as key opponents of local pay, who have helped to push the Government towards a possible u-turn. I just wish so much of the pushing was not so uphill.
What is wrong is when a national employer only has an additional cost of living allowance in London or London and the South East. Every area of the UK except the least expensive should have a cost of living allowance. Only then can you have fair national bargaining on the basic salary.
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