Liz Truss’s latest idea risks undermining the very idea of levelling up

Editorial: Her public sector plans will drive down pay across the country, at a time of heightened worries over the cost of living

<p>Truss can correctly tell the British people feel that their priorities have not been delivered on</p>

Truss can correctly tell the British people feel that their priorities have not been delivered on

There are hardly any easier shots to play in the realm of Conservative Party politics than to portray civil servants, nurses and teachers as wasteful bogeymen. This is the context for Liz Truss’s latest plans.

In her reforms, which she claims will save close to £11bn a year, Ms Truss proposes scrapping roles that “distract from delivering on British people’s priorities, such as diversity and inclusion”. She also plans to ditch what is called “facility time”, the provision that allows union officials in taxpayer-funded jobs to devote some of their allotted working hours to union work.

That is merely the headline. The vast majority of the savings Ms Truss desires will come from recalibrating public sector pay in the regions, so local companies are no longer “priced out” by state competition. This will have the impact of driving down pay for public sector workers – including teachers, nurses, firefighters – across the country, at a time of heightened worries over the cost of living.

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