General election 2017: Ed Miliband says Tory manifesto shows ‘nasty party well and truly back’ – politics live

19 May

Since 2011, there has been significant pay restraint in the public sector. For a number of years this was achieved without significant recruitment and retention issues, probably because public pay had done so much better than private sector pay during the recession. However, these pressures are emerging now, and could harm the quality of public services. There are significant trade offs in the future setting of public sector pay. Restraining public sector pay compared to the private sector, as proposed by the Conservatives, and – to a lesser extent by the Liberal Democrats –risks exacerbating recruitment, retention and motivation problems and ultimately the quantity and quality of public services provided.

On the other hand, increasing public sector pay results in significantly higher costs to public sector employers compared to the current Conservative government’s plans. The next government could decide to increase departmental spending to account for these higher costs of paying public sector workers. But if it did not provide extra funds, departments would need to make cuts elsewhere – for example by further reducing the number of public sector workers, cuts that may themselves reduce the quality of public services.

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