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Hutton report ‘a smokescreen’ for hiding glaring UK pay inequalities, says Unite

The Hutton report on ‘fat cat’ public sector pay  is ‘a smokescreen for some nasty rough justice’ being meted out to low paid workers, Unite, the union, said today (Wednesday, 1 December).

Top pay in the public sector should not normally be more than 20 times that of the lowest paid worker in any public body, according to Will Hutton, executive vice chair of the Work Foundation who was asked by the coalition to investigate this issue. 

Unite’s Assistant General Secretary for Public Services, Gail Cartmail said:
‘This interim report is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to looking at pay inequalities in Britain today, which will widen and become worse because of the coalition’s ‘cuts at any cost’ austerity programme.’ 

‘There is a case for wage ratios; societies with lower income inequality than the high levels prevalent in the are measurably happier and healthier. This is something that David Cameron may take note of as he ponders his so-called ‘happiness index’ proposal.’ 

‘The remit of the Hutton review ruled out the highest paid public servants, such as the BBC and publicly-owned banks. The remit that Hutton was given seemed designed to take the glare of publicity away from the real ‘fat cat’ villains lurking in the City and boardrooms of large FT 100 companies.’ 

‘And if fair pay is a good idea why not stretch the principle across the whole economy? The truth is that - despite Will Hutton's personal integrity and impeccable reputation in analysing the long-term flaws in the British economy -  there is a severe danger that his report will serve as a smokescreen to the real problem that blights many public sector workers, especially women - many of whom work part-time.’ 

‘The emergency Budget in June; the Comprehensive Spending Review in October with its £81bn of cuts; blanket pay freezes; and changes to pension benefits and retirement ages for public sector workers penalise those on lowest incomes hardest – some nasty, rough justice is being meted out here on the issue of pay equality.’   


Will Hutton's final recommendations will be published in March 2011.


Note to news editors: For further information, please contact: Shaun Noble, Unite communications officer, on 07768 693940












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