Headlines: October 30th, 2012

Regional pay for the public sector would ‘aggravate geographical, economic and social inequalities’, say 60 leading academics.

A warning from sixty leading academics that the government’s regional pay proposals for public sector workers could cause huge economic damage and widen inequalities, comes as ministers consider whether to proceed with plans that could end national pay bargaining, following a review instigated by the Chancellor.

In a letter published in the Times, the academics say that there is ‘no convincing evidence’ that regional or local pay rates would boost the economic performance of regional economies. Instead they are concerned that regional pay would reduce consumer spending power and undermine businesses in less prosperous regions of the UK.

The group of academics include many leading figures in the field of regeneration and economic development. They are drawn from academic institutions right across England, Scotland and Wales, and are based in many of the areas that could lose out if existing national pay arrangements are abolished.

Keith Shaw, Professor of Politics at Northumbria University said: “This proposal will depress public sector pay in regions outside of London and the South East and, in areas such as the North East, could lead to a spiral of decline that would serve to further widen the ever-growing north-south divide.