Public sector cuts competition - who's won the bubbly?

The hottest award of the last seven days is announced - MT's public spending cuts compy...

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Just to remind you, we are offering a bottle of champagne apiece for the best serious and the best funny spending cut suggestions – that’s a grand total of two bottles of fizz, courtesy of MT. And you thought there was recession on.

In the best traditions of award ceremonies from the Oscars down, before we get onto the actual winners here’s a selection of the runners-up. No prizes, just the kudos of being mentioned in such illustrious company.

Perhaps the most popular layer of fat for trimming, judging from your responses, is the mythically-generous public sector pension. ‘Now that public sector salaries are in line with – if not ahead of – private sector rates of pay, final salary pensions schemes must be cut big time,’ says Colin.  John goes even further: ‘Scrap index-linked final salary pension schemes,’ he says plaintively. ‘These would probably be enough to send us skint even without the banking crisis.’ If you weren’t such a obviously selfless and community-spirited bunch, we might be tempted to suspect the green-eyed monster at work here.

Politicians don’t escape your wrath either. ‘Capture the hot air produced by politicians and recycle it to heat the Houses of Parliament. All the bulls**t they produce could also be used to grow vegetables. What a harvest that would produce,’ says eco-friendly Andrew. Save money and help the environment; what’s not to like?

Here’s one from Dick which could be both funny and serious – unless you are a management consultant that is. ‘Tell all the major consultancies either to make an immediate refund of 50% of the fees they have taken from Government in the last five years, or never work in the public sector again.’ Ouch.

But enough prevarication – it’s time for the winners. Drum roll please. The award for the best serious suggestion goes to Terry Barnard, who tackles one of the biggest public sector management bugbears of recent years - absenteeism. ‘How about introducing a private sector style sick pay scheme for the public sector?’ he says. ‘Industry manages its absence levels to 3%-4%, but levels in parts of the public sector are regularly double that. Manage absence as you would manage any other performance issue and surprise surprise, levels will plummet.’ Hear hear.

The gong for the best funny, meanwhile, goes to Ed Newton. His suggestion got the biggest laugh from the MT crew, and we’re a hardbitten lot. ‘Move the government to Milton Keynes. Sell all the central London property to Weatherspoon’s, Holiday Inn, Tesco etc. This will raise lots of cash, reduce the traffic jams in Whitehall and get rid of all those useless politicians into a more appropriate part of the country.’ Ed, it makes perfect sense to us.

Bottles on the way to both lucky winners, and a big thank you to all our entrants for taking part. We hope you’re listening Gordon, Dave and Nick (yes we mustn’t forget him - even if the voters probably will).

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