‘Go work today in my vineyard’
Democratic accountability between government and employment
The Christian Party encourages self-employment where possible because we believe in self-determination and personal development, as well as personal responsibility and social justice.
The Christian Party welcomes the growing trend towards self-employment as a sign of growing self-confident entrepreneurship. The identification, use and development of one’s natural talents will lead to a happier workforce. The role of government is to facilitate employment, support employers and employees, and maintain standards in employment through properly targeted employment legislation with the minimum of red tape.
As of 2018, 27 million private sector jobs compare to 5.3 million public sector workers. The public sector now accounts for 16.5% of UK employment, the lowest percentage since records began in 1999.
The public sector had outgrown a healthy balance in our economy and it was not sustainable. It had grown in tandem with big and unmanageable government, and the transition to small and manageable government will accompany the transition to a healthier balance between the public and private sectors. This needs to be managed with a long-term vision.
The government’s role in public sector employment is to promote the essential aims of government such as defence, employment and health, and to kick-start new sectors that need national support until they are self-supporting. It needs to encourage self-management and to use the public sector as a breeding ground to identify and release personal potential. The UK is well known for pioneering new developments, but the inability to implement change across large institutions such as the NHS within the working life-time of such pioneers is sapping their energy, frustrating their usefulness and denying the UK of the benefit of their vision and talents. Government can use its authority to hasten change in large institutions and to release and maximise the potential of such pioneers either within the public sector, or in conjunction with the private sector.
This demonstrates the necessity of a healthy relationship between the public and private sectors instead of the ‘for or against’ attitudes of the major political parties. This requires a proper appreciation of the role of government, employer, employee and trade unions. In moving from big to small government, the standards attained in the workplace and employment need to be safeguarded and maintained in a respectful manner consistent with social justice.
Trade unions have a role as well as government to encourage the development of the workforce they represent, and not simply to maintain the status quo. The Christian Party encourages trade union leaders to engage with this process of change to benefit their members. On-the-job identification of transferable skills, the use of job search facilities and retraining as part of continuous professional development will help to reduce the job-dependency mindset in public sector employment – a mindset which promotes complacency and unwillingness to challenge the system, even when that system is manifestly failing. Institutional abuse, incompetence and corruption is tolerated because of one’s dependence upon the institution for one’s salary and pension.
Trust in and between management and workforce will be addressed as the best means to avoid damaging industrial disputes. Trade unions can encourage and embrace change, by showing that a happy workforce is a self-developing one, with a vision for self-fulfilment. It is better for their members to have a planned transition into a developing sector rather than the inevitable job cuts in the ‘sudden death’ environment created by prolonged industrial disputation. Imaginative ways of saving jobs and of skill development through job sharing and apprenticeships will be encouraged.
A healthy cooperation between government, employers, employees and trade unions will enable public sector workers to bypass the dole queue and move into jobs in the private sector with the minimum of disruption.
The effects of the coronavirus pandemic is an opportunity for change, self-development and new ways of working and should be embraced rather than feared, but the role of Government in such a circumstance is not merely financial and supportive but as a catalyst for change and entrepreneurship.
We will explore options to manage this transition, beginning with entrepreneurial programmes in schools promoting self-esteem and a ‘yes we can’ attitude. We will begin with the rising generation, recognising that older workers need more help with transition and in identifying transferable skills. Ageism and retirement will be addressed with the help of trade unions to ensure that experience is rewarded, rather than various strategies such as constructive dismissal, failure to adapt to the changing needs of the business and workforce but also of the aging workers. Recognition of such factors will be a better course of action instead of relying on or using the legalistic and adversarial sanctions of spurious equalities legislation. Academic identification of new and aspirational jobs needs to work in tandem with on-the-job retraining and job search facilities to enable public sector workers to develop transitional skills with the minimum of disruption.
The Christian Party expects the Government to facilitate such changes.
Fat cat pay structures
The Christian Party is not opposed to high salaries and “honour to whom honour is due”. However, some salaries are obscene compared to the work and responsibility involved.
Large salaries are often justified on the basis of the responsibility of the position, however in recent times, we find senior personnel shirking their responsibility when things go wrong. In a climate when people will not take responsibility, they ought not to be paid as if they are bearing huge responsibility. The Christian Party will promote discussion on how responsibility is to be assessed and how it is to be remunerated. We will encourage a consistent, comparable and credible pay structure in the public sector.
We will reduce the number of highly-paid quangos and Government sinecures, while acknowledging the skills of those who were selected and appointed to them. Such skills merit recognition, while such people need to recognise that their God-given talents are a combination of nature as well as nurture – a good start in life as well as their hard work. They will be encouraged to view their involvement as a public service, which will possibly be enough to ensure that fat-cat salaries decline. Fat cats may not be working any harder than many others lower down the pay scale. Their responsibilities may be greater, but too often an unrealistic assessment of this is used to justify obscene salaries.
During the credit crisis ‘too big to fail’ was commonly quoted. The solution has been to reduce the size of large institutions. Some organisations are ‘too big to manage’ because the responsibility is too great for one man to bear.
The argument that public sector pay needs to match private sector pay scales in order to attract talented people does not hold up. 1. as matters stand at present, fat cat pay does not prevent scandal and incompetence in public sector posts. 2. there are enough public-spirited people who are not so motivated and who do not need fat cat pay to do a competent job. 3. public sector jobs have the advantage of job security and an attractive and secure pension. In 2018, almost one third of all council tax goes towards pensions.
Government should give the lead in correcting public sector pay disparity and, on a similar theme, there should be a pay cap on UK Charities.
Government, employers and employees
Our growth-generating tax regime will help to lift workers out of economic dependency on the state, to develop confidence to explore and utilise transferable skills, and release the potential of workers to develop their own interests through job creation.
Reducing ‘big Government’ will reduce Government spending and interference. The promotion of the entrepreneurial spirit will play an integral part in stimulating growth in the economy. There will be greater opportunities for business with less red tape and less red ink on their balance sheets. There will be more money available both through salaries and income tax to lift the poor from the poverty trap. Progressive employment legislation and promotion of visionary entrepreneurs will encourage the rich to invest in the United Kingdom. Reasonable taxation will reduce tax avoidance. These are the benefits when the Government restricts itself to matters that only the Government can do and when the electorate gives the Christian Party the opportunity to implement its programme for government.
Christian party members of parliament will:
- Support radical cuts in the public-sector workforce in order to reduce both the size of government and the size of the government spending.
- Support a radical re-employment and training programme so that public-sector workers are not thrown on the ‘scrap heap’, but are empowered for a smooth transition into the private sector.
- Call for a referendum on membership of the European Union.
- Call for voting in civic elections to be compulsory, and non-voting to be subject to a fine.
- Give, for the purposes of fund raising, political parties the same status as charities.