Kennedy calls for pay rises to deal with recruitment problems

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy has said local
authorities may need to pay public sector workers more money in
areas where recruitment and retention of staff are a problem,
writes Derren Hayes.

Speaking at the sixth annual Local Government Association
conference in Bournemouth, Kennedy said the only way to overcome
difficulties in recruiting in the public sector may be to offer
workers better pay and more flexible working practices than other
areas where recruitment and retention are not an issue.

He also called for councils to be given greater powers to raise
more money locally through taxes that could directly tackle
recruitment and retention problems in the public sector.

In many areas, particularly London, recruitment of social
workers has hit crisis levels. Many are put off by high costs of
living, unaffordable housing, and a negative public image.

Kennedy said it was not just an issue of paying public workers
more money, there is also a need to reduce bureaucracy and value
their jobs more.

He said: “We can’t shy away form this reality: we may have to
change the way we fund our local public services.”

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