Magazine article Public Finance

Into the Breach

Magazine article Public Finance

Into the Breach

Article excerpt

Decisiveness is not the watchword of Gordon Brown's government Whether it's election announcements, treaty signings or the options for Northern Rock, the prime minister has shown a surprising lack of leadership skills.

There is one area of policy, however, where he has been firm and resolute. Both as chancellor and PM, Brown has insisted that public sector pay rises be capped at 2%. Inflation has to be kept under control, he stresses, and public servants have to do their bit

So police officers have seen their pay rise staged and effectively limited to 1.9%, despite their review body recommending a 2.5% increase. Nurses, civil servants and prison officers have also suffered from the staging process.

Meanwhile, Brown is pushing MPs to accept a similar deal for their own pay - although this will be subject to a Commons vote.

It came as somewhat of a surprise, then, that teachers were this week awarded an increase of 2.45%, with further rises of 2.3% in 2009 and 2010. Schools secretary Ed Balls described the award as 'fair and affordable'.

The announcement led to confusion across the public sector and understandable anger from the Police Federation.

There was no explanation as to why an exception was being made. …

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