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Myth Of Underpaid Public Sector

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Public sector workers are paid more on average than those in the private sector, according to the first comprehensive analysis of the pay divide by Britain's national statistician.

The Office for National Statistics found that full-time public sector staff earned an average of £74 a week more than those in the private sector. Once employer pension contributions were included, the gap rose to £136, illustrating the generous pay-and-perks deals enjoyed by local and central government workers.

The findings threaten to undermine calls by the Trades Union Congress at its conference in Manchester this week for "civil disobedience" and co-ordinated strike action in protest against the Government's planned public sector spending cuts.

The Coalition's austerity measures are expected to lead to 600,000 public sector job losses, as well as pay freezes and pension reforms over the next five years. The TUC warned of a "darker, more brutish" society and labelled the Government the "demolition Coalition".

In its September Economic and Labour Market Review, published yesterday, the national statistician reported that the average weekly salary for public sector workers in April last year was £539, compared with £465 in the private sector.

The difference was more stark when pensions were included because fewer than half of the private sector workforce were enrolled in a retirement scheme, compared with nearly all in the public sector – many of which are taxpayer-subsidised final salary schemes paying two thirds of working income for life. Including employer pension contributions, the total average remuneration package for the public sector was worth £615 a week and £479 for a private sector worker. Mark Littlewood, the director-general of the Institute of Economic Affairs think tank, said the report illustrated "just how preposterous" the TUC's claims were.

"The idea that the public should rally round these 'oppressed' workers is ludicrous," he said. "Why should their higher salaries be paid for by waitresses and hairdressers? An attack on public sector pay is not an attack on the poor but the privileged."

Ruth Lea, the economic adviser to Arbuthnot Banking Group, added: "It's a useful and timely piece of research. The private sector has taken a real beating in the recession and it should be share and share alike. It's a challenge to the public sector why they should be treated so differently."

Only private sector workers who are in a pension scheme fare better than public sector workers – with a total pay packet of £666 against £644 for public workers. Staff at the very top of their professions also do better in the private sector, with or without pensions.

Mr Littlewood said the research would have been even more depressing reading for private sector workers if job security had been included.

"The likelihood of losing your job in the private sector is much higher," he said. The number of public sector workers swelled under Labour from 5.2 million to more than six million.

Adam Lent, the head of economics for the TUC, said: "You can't make direct comparisons. The public sector has many more professional and highly skilled workers within it than the private sector. Averages simply do not tell us anything useful."

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That's not £136 a month, that's £136 a week

And massively undervaluing the pension, and ignoring all the other perks, keyworker subsidies, subsidised healthcare, canteens, and on and on and on and on.

I'm not sure why they think this is newsworthy though, we all know pay in the public sector is completelty out of hand.

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Crikey, no way. Someone earning more than me!

I know, lets reduce their salary to my level. That'll fix it!!

Of course, you can always ask your highly efficient private sector organisation to pay at least and equivalent. But that involves not bending over for your managers shafting doesnt it?

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And massively undervaluing the pension, and ignoring all the other perks, keyworker subsidies, subsidised healthcare, canteens, and on and on and on and on.

Don't forget they also get on average an extra weeks holiday, erm I mean "days off sick"

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Crikey, no way. Someone earning more than me!

I know, lets reduce their salary to my level. That'll fix it!!

Of course, you can always ask your highly efficient private sector organisation to pay at least and equivalent. But that involves not bending over for your managers shafting doesnt it?

Crikey, someone who does not understand that public sector salaries are paid for by taxes levied on the private sector.....

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Depends what they do. Mrs needsleep is a sister in intensive care. Earns every penny many times over. Often comes home physically and emotionally drained. Works nights, weekends, Xmas, bank holidays.

On the other hand when I worked in a government building down south I had no doubt every one of the staff in the equality and diversity department (almost exclusively staffed by middle aged white female do-gooders) that took up almost an entire floor earned just as much as Mrs needsleep. That is where the problem lies, where the fat is. And a lot of them birds were fat.

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Actually, it will. Well spotted.

Yes you are so right. But then none of us will be able to afford a house.

And the public sector cant afford to spend as much so the economy goes down the bowl.

But its ok as we all earn the minimum wage.

Wouldnt it be easier to brag to your mates about how loaded you were after asking for a payrise?

Reducing the average pay level benefits noone except the wealthy.

Are you David or Gordon?

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Oh, and if you can afford an Exige, you earn far, far more than most of us.

So i guess reducing my pay to yours, actually means i can aford a Lotus too and i'll be loaded like you!

I can't wait!

Edited by pandabear

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And the public sector cant afford to spend as much so the economy goes down the bowl.

Where do you think the money paid to the public sector comes from ? The private sector in taxes.

If you paid the public sector less, you could lower taxes, and guess what, tax payers could spend more. So no, the economy wouldn't go down the bowl.

Factor in that for every £4 it raises in tax, £1 goes on servicing the debt not in small part due to the large public sector wage bill. Then cutting that bill and we'd be better off further still.

By your rationale, lets double all public sector wages, because there would be even more money spent in the economy, heck, why don't we do it properly and add a zero to all pubic sector wages and wow the economy would be booming <_<

And that my friends is why we're in the mess we're in. People like you and Gordon Brown.

Edited by exiges

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Yes you are so right. But then none of us will be able to afford a house.

And the public sector cant afford to spend as much so the economy goes down the bowl.

Was waiting for that one - biggest canard going.

But its ok as we all earn the minimum wage.

I can imagine the voting pattern of the public sector in general - voting for labour who have wiped out the earnings capacity of 100,000's with their migrant labour policies - about time the public sector got a taste of that one - having voted and foisted it on the rest of the economy and being largely conveniently institutionally insulated form the effects of it.

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Yes, you are right, the public sector pays no taxes. No taxes at all, ever. No income tax, inheritance tax, VAT. Only you pay tax.

It is a wonder of economics that your taxes pay the public sector, who employ people to pay more taxes, which are used to pay more contracts for companies who employ staff who pay taxes... and so on.

I admit to being to being amazed at whoever it was that realised this, but I am impressed.

If the public sector wages fall as far as you want, will you be able to buy a new Lotus?

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Crikey, no way. Someone earning more than me!

I know, lets reduce their salary to my level. That'll fix it!!

Of course, you can always ask your highly efficient private sector organisation to pay at least and equivalent. But that involves not bending over for your managers shafting doesnt it?

oh ffs will you get it it in your head that we are all royally fooked if the public sector doesn't stop spending more than is taken in taxes. nothing to do with worker power. end of.

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Yes, you are right, the public sector pays no taxes.

You don't get it do you ? The private sector generates wealth, the public sector doesn't.

All the money in the public sector comes from private sector taxes.

Public sector workers "paying tax" are just recycling money generated elsewhere.

If someone with more patience than me can explain it to PandaBear that'd be dandy.

Edited by exiges

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Oh, and if you can afford an Exige, you earn far, far more than most of us.

So i guess reducing my pay to yours, actually means i can aford a Lotus too and i'll be loaded like you!

I can't wait!

may i ask how old you are pandabear?

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Yes you are so right. But then none of us will be able to afford a house.

And the public sector cant afford to spend as much so the economy goes down the bowl.

But its ok as we all earn the minimum wage.

Wouldnt it be easier to brag to your mates about how loaded you were after asking for a payrise?

Reducing the average pay level benefits noone except the wealthy.

Are you David or Gordon?

Hilarious. Every pound we dont have that we spend now is a pound stolen from the future, look at it that way.

|Out of interest, do you have any fix, or just keep borrowing?

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And the public sector cant afford to spend as much so the economy goes down the bowl.

The economy is already down the bowl because of high taxes and land prices, the least we can do is lower the taxes part. The good thing about the public sector job losses is it will actually save money, as long as the people being laid off don't have children.. if they do we are screwed as we'll probably end up paying them even more money on benefits.

But I think on balance public sector job losses and less beaurocracy will still be cheaper than paying them benefits, with a smaller public sector it will be harder for them to syphon off taxpayers money into various backpocket enterprises.

Ofcourse lowering the land prices part of the equation will fix everything but no one is going to do that.

This website is a bit missleading really, they should call it landpricecrash because that's where most of the cost lies. But ofcourse that would confuse the average person as they don't understand how it works.

Edited by Saberu

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Entry to the Civil Service, etc., is by open competition - the same as football. To complain that civil servants have better pay and conditions at this particular point in time is like complaining that the Premier League have better pay and conditions than the Championship.

If people are skilled enough they can get into the Premier League who will be only too delighted to have them. The same applies to the three leagues of the civil service which in my day were the Clerical, the Executive and the Administrative.

As in football, if you're good enough you get promoted up the leagues.

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Entry to the Civil Service, etc., is by open competition - the same as football. To complain that civil servants have better pay and conditions at this particular point in time is like complaining that the Premier League have better pay and conditions than the Championship.

If people are skilled enough they can get into the Premier League who will be only too delighted to have them. The same applies to the three leagues of the civil service which in my day were the Clerical, the Executive and the Administrative.

As in football, if you're good enough you get promoted up the leagues.

:lol:

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I'd imagine the average pay in the Civil Service is lower than the average public sector, as it doesn't include the well paid teachers, nurses, doctors, firemen etc

I doubt I earn £7000 more per year tham most people employed in the private sector on here :)

Edited by jaynewcastle

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My 17 yo Step brother works part time for the local council leisure centre putting out crsh mats etc. (not even life guard) completly unskilled. £7 / hour I couldn't believe it I thought it would be minimum wage.

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Crikey, no way. Someone earning more than me!

I know, lets reduce their salary to my level. That'll fix it!!

As someone said, of course it will.

I'm paid an amount that enables my company not to have to borrow to stay in business, this money is enough for me to live.

Why shouldn't the public sector be subject to the same basic mathematics?

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  • 245 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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