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Blog 4th July 2017

Jul 4th, 09:44

Blog 4th July 2017

In this week’s blog, I write about the latest edition of the AWICS Wales News, the public sector pay cap, recruitment and retention in public services including the National Health Service, public finances and the Juxon Street and Sail Street development at Lambeth Borough Council.

The July edition of the ‘AWICS Wales News’ was published yesterday. It includes articles on:

  • Welsh First Minister sets out legislative priorities
  • Concordat puts People at the Heart of Social Care Commissioning
  • New Regulatory Framework for Housing Associations in Wales
  • Service Charges in Wales
  • Landfill Disposals Tax Bill Passed
  • Denbighshire Council reviews Homelessness Services
  • Wrexham Council implements Welsh Housing Quality Standard
  • Development of New Homes

Your copy can be freely downloaded from HERE

Our next seminar is on ‘All You Want to Know about Service Charges in Social Housing in Wales’ and will be held in Cardiff on 12th September 2017. For further information or to make a booking, please click HERE

The public sector pay cap is in the news this week. It was first introduced as a pay freeze by the former coalition government and was then ‘relaxed’ to a 1% pay cap. As a result, while private sector pay has now recovered to 2008 levels, private sector pay is lagging. Furthermore, with inflation predicted to increase to 4%, the retention of the 1% pay cap this year would represent a real term pay reduction of 3% for all public-sector workers. With the government having just lost its majority partly due to concerns about austerity, with many public services reporting difficulties with recruitment and retention, and with recent terror attacks and the fire at Grenfell Tower focusing public attention on the valuable contribution made by public sector workers, the government is clearly preparing for a change of direction. It appears that it will accept pay increases in the public sector of more than 1% where this is recommended by pay review bodies. The Scottish Government has already said that it intends to lift the public sector pay cap in Scotland. This news is clearly to be welcomed by all those with an interest in public services.

Nowhere is the problem with recruitment and retention more pressing than in the National Health Service where it is reported that more nurses are leaving the service than are joining and that the problem is especially acute with nurses of European Union origin who are reported to be leaving in large numbers because of ‘Brexit’. Commenting on recent statistics, Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary at the Royal College of Nursing, told ‘Public Finance’ that:

“These figures are the starkest warning yet that nurses have put up with too much for too long. Our members have had enough, and as a result the profession is shrinking.”

She said the average nurse was now £3,000 worse off in real terms compared to 2010 and urged the government to lift the public sector pay cap.

Real increases in public sector pay combined with increases in expenditure on infrastructure and reduced tax receipts will increase the government’s deficit unless taxes are also increased. It will be interesting to see how the Treasury will react – although I expect that political pressures will lead to an acceptance of a continued deficit and continued increases in public debt.

The ‘Inside Housing’ development of the week is at Juxon Street and Sail Street in Lambeth. The scheme cost £8.8million and provides seventy homes in two modular residential developments for first time buyers. The two modular blocks were built in a factory in Bedford using production line techniques. They are of four to five storeys. The developer, Pocket, builds homes to just above the minimum space standard, which it then sells at a reduction to the market rate. Lambeth Borough Council is one of our largest clients.

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