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Reform Deputy Director Richard Harries was quoted extensively in an article on the new Government’s plans for the public finances.
“When you look at productivity in some of our public services, the figures on the face of it look very good – education productivity up and health productivity up. But that has mainly been done by holding wages down. You can do that in the short-term, but as the real economy picks up and wages go up elsewhere that’s not a possibility.”
“Improving functional leadership is very much a race where central government is looking at the backs of local authorities … The idea that you can actually not just build up functional expertise but treat it with a seriousness and a prestige in Whitehall is long overdue. Until that changes, the government is going to find it very difficult to get some of the savings out of Whitehall departments that are potentially there.
“The pressure on the public finances is not going to go away. The challenge for the government in the next parliament is to find new ways to transform our public services, which have to go beyond what we saw last time.”