Tough choices

There is much debate about how, and by how much, expenditure on public services should be cut.

Sixteen years ago I was in charge of a conference centre which needed to reduce costs in order to survive.

The staff got together and agreed that the wardens would take a 20 per cent cut in salary, and the lowest-paid a 10 per cent cut. But when I took this agreed proposal to the Church of Scotland authorities, I was given short shrift, for reasons that directors of human resources will always give in such circumstances.

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Bureaucrats of all shades run scared of radical measures. But this is a time of crisis in public finances, with at least a 15 per cent reduction needed.

As a modest start, I suggest the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities or whoever should talk with Unison and others and negotiate around a choice – 5 per cent reduction in salaries overall, or the equivalent number of staff made redundant, in either case with senior staff taking the harder knock.


Dunbar Road