Gordon Brown has announced that he plans to prevent massive redundancy payouts and reduce increases in senior public sector salaries in 2009/10. In an effort to match the current cutbacks in private sector pay, redundancy payouts of three or four times annual salary would drop to about £7,000 and salary increases would fall to 1.5 per cent “in an attempt to show pay restraint.”
The attempt to acknowledge the financial struggles of the private sector, however, adds insult to injury. In March 2009, the Office for National Statistics released a study showing that on average, increases in public sector earnings have remained steady at 4 per cent. By contrast, private sector increases in earnings have fallen 1.5 per cent. The private sector lost about 13,000 workers from September 2008 to January 2009 while the public sector saw bigger pay increases and increased employment of about 15,000. This behaviour does not come across as “restraint.”
The facts are clear, employees in the private sector are facing hard times and the Government either cannot or refuses to ensure that the public sector tightens its belt as well to ease the burden on the taxpayer. That burden continues to mount and Gordon Brown is overseeing salary rises that still crush those of the private sector. When their constituents are facing economic hardships and the nation falls deeper in debt, the Government should be setting an example. These generous pay outs reflect the great divide between the private and public sectors.