Tuesday, 3 January 2012

No to regional pay

It is 2012 ... so back to blogging. First up is my article published in the Cornish Guardian over the Christmas break. It was as follows and focussed on central government plans to introduce regional pay:

Earlier this month, George Osborne announced plans to end “national” pay rates for people working in the public sector.

It has also been reported that he wishes to declare areas like Cornwall to be “low pay zones.”

Put simply, it would mean that teachers, nurses and civil servants in Cornwall would get less pay than someone doing exactly the same job in areas such as South East England.

I fundamentally believe this is wrong. Surely it should be an important principle that people are paid the same rate for the same job.

Quite rightly, business leaders and unions have joined together to slam Osborne’s announcement.

Tim Jones, Chairman of the Devon and Cornwall Business Council, has said that the move would be "unsustainable and devastating,” adding that the cuts would have a “horrendous” impact on the local economy.

The General Secretary of the PCS union, Mark Serwotka, meanwhile said it was “economically incoherent for the Chancellor to say he wants to help regions outside London and the South East, then say public sector pay there should be even lower than it already is."

The reality is that there is already great inequality across, and between, the nations and regions of the United Kingdom.

And I strongly believe that central government should be working to reduce this inequality but if Mr Osborne gets his way it will get even worse.

Indeed, his actions could depress local economies that are in need of investment as yet more money is siphoned off to be spent in London and the South East.

Cornwall suffers from the lowest average wages in the UK. And yet the cost of living is especially high, thousands are struggling to access housing at a price they can afford, while government cuts are having a devastating impact on public services and the local economy.

Cuts to Cornwall Council’s budget alone represent a cumulative reduction in spend of around £500 million in the Cornish economy over a four year period.

I consider it a disgrace that the Coalition wishes to consign us to a second class future, entrenching Cornwall as a low-pay economy in both the public and private sectors.

And it is unbelievable that they expect people in areas like Cornwall to subsidise richer areas.

How about some UK-wide parity from the Government in 2012?

1 comment:

Curate Falconer said...

Not only do the ConDems want to have their cake and eat it: they want to have their cake and eat our's too.