Prior to the Budget there was some tension between Conservatives and Lib Dems on regional pay, with Conservatives talking about regional pay, and Lib Dems, most notably Vince Cable, talking about regional pay bargaining (the distinction matters: while nationally set regional pay rates mean lower salaries in weaker labour markets, regional pay bargaining could mean paying more to attract a quality workforce to a deprived area…). Post Budget, things look a lot clearer – the government is talking about introducing regional pay (or pay zones with the potential to recognise pay hotspots) starting with approximately 140,000 staff in DWP, Home Office and Department for Transport. The government’s rationale is straightforward enough and set out at length in the Treasury’s evidence review to the independent pay review bodies whose work this announcement undercut. On the one hand, they say that in stronger labour markets, public sector workers are underpaid, leading to … (To read the full article, subscribe below)
Nancy Kelley is deputy director of policy and research at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
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