Cllr Tony Devenish is a Westminster City councillor
Many ConservativeHome readers will rejoice that George Osborne is to set out in his Mansion House speech our Government’s commitment to permanent budget surpluses.
But what of those who have to deliver it, by providing public services within a balanced budget? While the BBC Radio 4 Today programme was predictably cynical about fiscal prudence quoting (surprise, surprise) economists in support of their big state bias, much of local government is quietly getting on with delivering ‘more for less’ having, without a fuss, cut ten percent of the workforce even under the Lib Dem-constrained Coalition Government.
But there is one further decision across the public sector which can make the Chancellor’s speech a reality. It’s not further ‘austerity’ as the BBC would say, it’s a simple principle which has already become the default position in much of Government which needs to be embedded in law as the new norm.
That is a fixed-term three year or less employment contract for all newly-hired public servants earning more than £60,000 per annum. In time, this would cover all those senior staff who are accountable for both delivering our public services and who will be the ones who ensure the Chancellor’s budget surplus principle becomes a reality.
Fixed-term contracts empower staff to deliver what we all want – quality public services, within budget, just like every family, business and – yes – much of the public sector already does. This includes councils who have a statutory duty to run a balanced budget just as George Osborne rightly asks of all of us.
The Mansion House speech proves to the Left that we really are ‘all in this together’.