Headlines: June 18th, 2010

A report today says public sector workers not only have better pay than people in the private sector but also enjoy shorter hours, earlier retirement and better pensions. The study from the Policy Exchange also puts the size of the public sector at more than seven million people.

Policy Exchange says the number of public sector employees grew five times more quickly than staff levels in the private sector between 2002 and 2009. At the same time, it says the public sector wage bill has increased three times faster growing by a third in real terms, or 67 billion pounds.

Figures in the study show that on an hourly basis, a typical public sector worker is now 30 per cent better paid than a typical employee in business. In addition they have better pensions with the difference being worth an extra 15per cent of their salary. In the private sector employees put in 23 per cent more hours, equivalent to 9.2 years of a public sector employee’s working life, where a publically employed counterpart might be on sick leave, holiday, strike or in retirement.

Andrew Lilico, Policy Exchange’s Chief Economist, said: “People used to say that public sector workers had great pensions to make up for their low salaries. That’s now out of date, as public sector workers have much better pay, as well as better pensions and conditions,” and he added: “There is scope to make savings without being unfair.”