Ben Chu: All hail the public sector

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The Independent Online

Outlook It was a common refrain of the boom years: public sector productivity growth is scandalously weak. All that extra money for schools and hospitals from the previous government appearing to be producing minimal extra output. What a waste of taxpayers' money!

This was always a rather silly complaint. For how does one measure the output of a hospital? By the volume of patients treated? What if their experience of care was a Stafford-style nightmare? Yet, interestingly, official figures yesterday pointed out that public sector productivity has been growing since 2010. While private sector productivity has been falling, public sector efficiency has been on the up.

This is logical. Some 600,000 public sector workers have lost their jobs since 2009. Yet the schools stay open and the hospitals carry on treating patients. Productivity has to be rising. Still, will we now hear a round of applause for the most productive individuals in our economy: our public sector workers?