Headlines: December 8th, 2009

A new report says cuts need to be mader in front line public sector staff to make services more efficient and to help salvage public finances. The right-leaning think tank, Reform, says the Prime Minister and the Conservative leader, David Cameron, are wrong to pledge protection for front line services.

Today’s call for cuts comes immediately after the Government set out plans for 12 billion pounds of savings in a report called ‘Putting the Frontline First’, which includes proposals to curb pay levels for some senior public sector staff.

In its report, ‘The front line’, Reform says the need to cut the government deficit means the costs of the public sector workforce should fall by the equivalent of a million jobs. Staff make up the majority of the costs of public services, it says, and the bulk of public sector employees are front line workers. Cuts in costs should be achieved by local managers rather than through top-down action, says the repot, which argues that public sector managers are ready for reform. It says they take for granted the idea that costs could be reduced by at least 20 per cent without reducing the quality of service.

The Prime Minister said in future salaries above 150,000 pounds a year would require ministerial approval as part of an efficiency drive. He added: “Of course public service is admirable and important and it deserves fair reward and we must never forget that our priority is excellence at the front line. In the wider public sector, some senior pay and perks packages have lost sight of this goal and lost touch with the reality of people’s lives.”