6 Oct 2009

Women lose out in the slasher wars

So who will pay for the mainly male bankers’ catastrophic errors? The women.

The public sector pay freeze, the biggest contributor to the government money chest announced by George Osborne today, hits women considerably more than men.

The public sector employment profile is about 75 per cent female. Something like 80 per cent of NHS staff are women, 70 per cent of teaching staff.

These legions of women workers face a freeze in a year when RPI is forecast to be between 2.5 to 3 per cent.

As for the rest of George Osborne’s speech, you’re very struck as you try to edit it how he wraps every sacrifice in a softer commitment.

The pension age hike is linked with the plan to raise the basic state pension in line with earnings.

The public sector pay freeze is sugared with a suggestion of one of those deals like Honda did with its workers earlier this year – “a public sector pay freeze… in order to protect the jobs of 100,000 people working in frontline public services.”

But rum that one as they’re not offering a Honda-style deal at all. Public sector workers who endure the pain get no job security attached.

Interesting that Labour critics are attacking the announcements as too mild, not cutting enough.

Slasher wars have truly started.

– Related: Tories plan a cull of poorly performing teachers
Counting the cost of  Brown’s spending promises

– On Thursday the Channel 4 News website will be providing extended live coverage of David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative conference, including film extracts, expert analysis and Twitter commentary. To watch and contribute, go to www.channel4.com/news from midday on 8 October.

Tweets by @garygibbonblog

4 reader comments

  1. Nick Shepherd says:

    Just watched your comments on the news – seems you don’t understand the difference between economic growth and budget deficits. You say that next May voters may be feeling better about the economy, but omit to say that the budget imbalamabce (the debt) will still be there and has to be paid off. Like it or not.

  2. Alan says:


    Most voters don’t care about the debt. It’s pretty much the furthest thing from my mind when I wake up in the morning. After WW2 our national debt was greater than out GDP (and therefore worse than it is now), and we managed to get out of that by creating the welfare state.

    Not to mention the fact that we still own a massive proportion of the banks, which will eventually be sold back to the private sector generating plenty of cash for the government.

    All this focus by British politicians on government debt is short sighted, and other contries around the world are pointing and laughing at us for it.

    Or perhaps I am missing something…

  3. Andrew Dundas says:

    Nick is correct: the deficit is a second order issue right now. The main priority is to restore growth of national income and jobs. Which is the difference between government and Tory policy.
    Turning to the boy Osbourne’s panic cuts, of course he’s aiming at public sector workers! They’re less likely to vote Tory anyway and he’s got 50 potential MPs who’re from the financial sector. There the ones he wants Tory policy to protect.

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