The Chancellor has paved the way for a massive change in public sector pay policy.
Pointing to some of what he sees as excessive levels of pay in the public sector especially in more senior posts, the Chancellor warned public sector workers that they should follow the exampleof the private sector workers who accept cuts to keep their jobs. He said it was the time for a change of culture.
Using the 'next-door-neighbour test' (if you can't justify your wage to the guy next door then you've probably got it wrong) he pointed out that many jobs in the public sector are now being excessively remunerated. Mr Darling said "It is not altogether clear to me why we pay very large salaries to people to do the same jobs as were being done 10 years ago for rather less."
It seems that the Chancellor wants to review the public sector pay system to see whether it should be linked to the private sector as this is now used to justify pay levels for senior positions.
The Treasury it turns out gave 73% of its staff 'special performance bonuses' averaging £8,030 in 2009. Sounds more like 27% of the staff got a pay cut to me.
But the Chancellor missed the point that, if public sector pay has become so imbalanced over the last ten years, it was totally Labour's fault.
Labour is also lucky that an election is looming. The public sector, which will be not a little disgruntled about this, have to split their ire between Tory and Labour targets.
But the message is clear, the public sector is in for a bit of a hammering whoever occupies Numbers 10 and 11.
It would be a good idea to have a full public sector review. Let's get a panel of successful private sector business owners to come in and take a look at the public sector and produce a full review. I wonder how many Quangos, departments and top jobs they would scrap to make the whole thing much more efficient?
Hopefully this will also lead to a review on numbers and pay of MPs. How can high pay be justified for a job for which not qualifications or experience are required and where there are so many applicants for the jobs. Applicants who paid money just to be considered for the position.