After all the talk, the Chancellor’s much anticipated deficit-busting budget is finally upon us. Mr Osborne termed it "tough but fair" but many might not subscribe to his verdict.
For those in the public sector, it’s unpleasant. A two year pay freeze, essentially a pay cut (as Mr Cameron himself confessed), a smaller pension pot and the potential for further job cuts.
A recent Policy Exchange report revealed that on average those in the public sector spend nine fewer years at work over their lifetime and earn 30 per cent more than their private sector brethren. Despite these generous benefits – or perhaps because of them – productivity in the public sector has fallen over the past 10 years, while productivity increased in the private sector 28 per cent. Surely it’s about time the gold plated public sector pensions were abolished and pay came in line with the private sector? On the subject of pay, the Policy Exchange report found that median gross pay is £22,417 in the public sector and £19,932 in the private sector.
A problem is that without public sector jobs, unemployment will obviously rise and thereby leave those in work to foot the bill – unless the Tories’ plan for the private sector to increase employment is successful…I guess that is a story yet to be told.
The private sector has perhaps fared slightly better, with the eradication of the tax on jobs proposed by Labour and the national insurance threshold being raised making it cheaper for companies to employ staff. That said, it was a surprise that capital gains came down under a Labour government and perhaps more surprising that the Conservatives have increased it.
What surprises me most is the uproar of furious liberal democrat supporters over the VAT increase. It is true that Nick Clegg campaigned against it, however there is one thing that needs to be remembered – it is a Conservative led government and Mr Clegg was never going to get his way on everything. And, is being £33 a year worse off on average really worth splitting hairs about?