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This research briefing gives an overview of the public’s attitudes to key issues of public services reform – specifically, issues of choice, quality and the use of more providers from outside the state, including charities, social enterprises and businesses. It uses new polling carried out for this study, as well as examining what is known from existing research.
Mind the Gap: The size and costs of pay differentials between the public and private sectors in the UKMatthew Oakley
Mind the Gap examines how public and private wages differ in local areas. It demonstrates a complex picture of mismatches between the wages one might expect individuals to receive based on their characteristics and types of job, and the public sector wages they receive: pay differentials vary dramatically both across and within regions and across the pay distribution.
Rebalancing the pay and pensions of public sector workers so that they are in line with that of equivalent workers in the private sector would save £6.3 billion a year in public spending. This money would be better spent on tackling local unemployment and could create at least 288,000 private sector jobs in some of the areas of the country suffering most from the impact of the recession.
Selling expensive social housing as it becomes vacant could create the largest social house building programme since the 1970s. The sales would raise £4.5 billion annually which could be used to build 80,000-170,000 new social homes a year and create 160,000-340,000 jobs a year in the construction industry.
Something in the Air shows that air pollution is Britain’s invisible environmental problem. It is comparable to obesity and alcohol and second only to smoking as a public health problem, but gets far less attention. Yet some government policies, such as encouraging diesel vehicles in cities, are making the problem even worse.
All company directors should be forced to repay bonuses if they underperform. Executive Compensation advocates introducing “clawbacks” to all bonus contracts as the best way to end rewards for failure in the boardroom. Clawback would also be an effective way of ensuring shareholders are able to reduce the outgoing pay of a poor performing director who had decided to resign.
The Big Data Opportunity shows that better use of data, technology and analytics could help the government save money by improving efficiency rather than reducing service levels. Applying cutting-edge data and analytics in the UK public sector could generate potential savings of up to £16–£33 billion a year.
Too Much to Lose finds that the valuable contribution that older workers – who at 8.3 million make up a quarter of the workforce – make to the economy is often ignored. The report makes recommendations for better helping unemployed older workers back to work, and to support individuals’ opportunities later in life.
Fuelling Transition says the electricity market needs to be allowed to invest in gas as a transition fuel, subject to a long-term EU emissions cap. Extending the EU cap to 2035 would give greater certainty to investors, allowing the market to decide which technology has the most potential to deliver emission reductions at the cheapest cost.