Localism and not localism again

6 Jul 2011 by Karl Hallam

BBC Home Editor Mark Easton's work does not get enough attention as far as we are concerned. He consistently takes a topic and looks at it in a way that brings further understanding and probably without phone hacking. Today he is looking at localism again and how George Osbourne's pledges on lower paid public sector last year turned out not to mean that much.

In essence he is saying that the Chancellor has promised something he had limited influence over and then failed to ensure what influence he did have was applied. You need to read the full post. Here is the start and a link to the whole bit ...

Can politicians keep their promises? I don't mean "do they keep them?". But are they, actually, capable of delivering what they pledge?

In June last year, Chancellor George Osborne stood at the despatch box and promised that the lowest paid workers in the public sector would be protected from his two-year pay-freeze: "They will each receive a flat pay rise worth £250" he announced to cheers from his backbenches.

Officials said the pledge would help 1.7 million of the poorest paid public servants in the land.

It was a neat political trick, defusing accusations that his policies favoured the wealthy and that the freezing of public pay was unfair to the least well off.

The trouble was that though the money was set aside, the promise was not one he could make because he doesn't control the pay of most public sector workers: that is largely a matter for local authorities.

This afternoon I asked the Treasury whether they had calculated how many low-paid workers each council in the country employed and ensured that those authorities had the extra cash required to fulfill the chancellor's pledge. The answer, it seems, is no.

A spokesman said the settlement with councils was done "in the round".

He explained that none of the money was "hypothecated" for particular functions, but stressed that "budgets were adjusted" taking account of a whole range of factors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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