» Monday, July 5, 2010

Civil Service compensation

Asked if another meeting with the civil service unions had been arranged, the PMS said that his understanding was that there was no meeting scheduled in the first place.

Asked if a meeting would take place, the PMS said that he was not aware of one, but he was sure there would be lots of meetings at different levels.

Asked about a letter from the Cabinet Office that had been sent to other departments regarding imminent changes, the PMS said that the context was clear; we had a difficult fiscal situation and the current arrangement for public sector compensation was out of line with what happened in the private sector. It was something that the Government had been looking at for some time, as had the previous government. Our objective would be to bring the public sector in line with the private sector, in discussion with the unions, and to move ahead on the basis of consensus.

Asked if there were any plans to reform strike legislation, the PMS said that there were no plans at the present time.

Asked if the Prime Minister was concerned about public sector strikes, the PMS said that the financial situation the country faced was very difficult and would involve some significant cuts to some programmes, but the objective was to do that in consultation with the public sector. We had already been trying to generate ideas for reforming the public sector from public sector workers, and we would proceed on the basis of a shared understanding.

Asked if it was right that some departments would have their budgets cut by 40% rather than 25%, the PMS said that departments had been asked to look at a couple of scenarios for public spending cuts. The purpose of the scenarios was to generate information to inform choices in the spending review. But in terms of settlements, that would be for the spending review.

Asked if it was usual practice for the Government to make high end projections to inform the decision making process, the PMS said that the 40% figure had not gone around Whitehall in the past, but we now had a deficit of 11%. Given the size of the deficit we needed to make cuts at departments (with the exclusion of health and overseas aid), and the Chancellor had made it clear in his Budget Statement that that meant cuts averaging 25%. In order to generate the kind of information needed to make informed choices, we needed to look at a range of scenarios.

Asked if this was about expectation management, the PMS said that we were not planning blanket cuts across departments, and we needed information to make choices between priorities.

original source.

Briefing took place at 10:00 | Search for related news

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