Public-sector workers earn nearly 7 per cent on average more than their counterparts in the private sector, and the gap has doubled since the recession began, it was reported last night.
Analysis of official figures by 'The Sunday Times' suggests that staff employed by the state are getting bigger pay rises, working fewer hours and receiving pensions far in excess of their peers.
Since Labour came to power, the number of public-sector workers has risen by 914,000 to more than six million – around a fifth of the workforce.
Data published by the Office for National Statistics indicate that average public-sector earnings rose to £22,405 last year, compared with £20,988 in the private sector. The previous year, non-state employees were just 3 per cent behind on this measure, and until 2005 they were receiving more, the newspaper said.
The average public-sector employee worked 25 hours a week last year – a fall of an hour on the year before, and two and a half hours less than private-sector workers. The state worker also enjoys three or four more days of holiday a year, 'The Sunday Times' found. And civil servants get employer-pension contributions worth 19.4 per cent of their salary paid into final-salary schemes a year, more than three times the average of 6 per cent paid by private-sector firms into employees' defined contributions schemes.
The newspaper's analysis was validated by Straight Statistics, a group that campaigns for the accurate reporting of official data.
Director Nigel Hawkes told the paper: "However you look at it, public-sector workers have done better over the past decade – and the gap is widening."