Various groups are touting polls that they claim show at one extreme 70% of people opposed to gay marriage, and at the other 65% in support. What’s the real picture?

The cause of the disparity is party my old bug bear of questions asked as an agree/disagree statement grid. I have railed about these in the past, but in short, while such questions have their specific uses, they are extremely vulnerable to bias.

Let’s start with basic principles. If you are seeking to find out what people’s opinion is on same-sex marriage, a good place to start is a question along the lines of “Do you support or oppose legalising same-sex marriage?”. A possible drawback with this is the issue of civil partnerships, which colloquially many people may think of as gay marriage. Given the issue currently at hand is whether to allow couples of the same sex to marry or just enter a civil partnership, we should really make that clear in the question.

This is basically the approach ICM took in their Sunday Telegraph poll:

“You might be aware that currently the law allows gay people to enter civil partnerships but they cannot get married. The Prime Minister, David Cameron wishes to legalise gay marriage but some senior members of both the Catholic Church and the Church of England are opposed. Do you support or oppose the move to legalise gay marriage?”

They found 45% supported legalising gay marriage and 36% opposed gay marriage, with 19% of people saying don’t know. YouGov took a similar approach, but offered people a three way choice – supporting gay marriage, supporting civil partnerships but not gay marriage or opposing both gay marriage and civil partnerships.

Since 2005 same-sex couples have been able to enter into civil partnerships. While civil partnerships offer the same legal rights as marriage, same-sex couples are not able to marry. Which of the following best reflects your view?
I would support same-sex marriage
I support civil partnerships, but would oppose samesex marriage
I oppose both civil partnerships and same-sex marriage
Don’t know

They found 43% support for same-sex marriage, 32% support for civil partnership but not gay marriage, 15% opposed to both and 10% sayibng don’t know. Clearly the proportion of people supporting gay marriage is almost identical, but the more nuanced options for those opposed to gay marriage has led to some people who would otherwise have said don’t know giving an opinion.

The other two polls at the extremes were both agree/disagree statement grids. The poll that showed the most support for same-sex marriage, from Populus, asked:

Do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
Gay couples should have an equal right to get married, not just to have civil partnerships

They found 65% of people agreed, and 27% disagreed with 8% saying don’t know. They also asked whether people agreed with the statement that “Gay couples should have exactly the same rights as heterosexual couples” which was agreed with by 76% of people. The tables make it unclear whether the order of the statements was rotated, or whether they were asked in the order presented with the marriage question first.

The Populus question itself is fairly straight forward, the higher level of support is probably due to the the agree/disagree statement structure – it is asking if people agree or disagree with a statement in favour of gay marriage, casting it as an issue of equal rights.

Compare and contrast it with this poll conducted by ComRes for the Coalition for Marriage, which asked if people agreed or disagreed with the statement:

“Since gay and lesbian couples already have the same rights as married couples available to them under civil partnership, they should not be allowed to redefine marriage for everyone else”

This is essentially asking if people agree with a statement opposed to gay marriage, casting the it an issue of a minority imposing their views on the majority. Asked that way, 51% agreed with the statement and 34% disagreed (so inferring that only 34% supported gay marriage).

Finally the 70% figure being quoted by opponents of gay marriage comes from this poll by ComRes for Catholic Voices, which asked if people agreed with the statement that:

“Marriage should continue to be defined as a life-long exclusive commitment between a man and a woman”

70% of people agreed, with 22% disagreeing. Here we have a statement that doesn’t even mention same-sex marriage, being rather overinterpreted by people for their own ends. Perhaps the logical inference is that anyone agreeing to this statement must be opposed to the laws on marriage being changed so that same sex-couples can marry (though, by the same rather tendentious logic, one could infer that 70% of people must think that divorce should also be made illegal), but in this case, we have other questions in other polls that actually asked directly about gay marriage, so we can be fairly certain that 70% of people are not interpreting the sentence that way.

I would again urge people to be cautious about polling questions asking if people agree/disagree with a loaded statement. It is rarely the best way of asking a question and carries with it risks of bias. If there are a conflicting polls on a subject, do not cherry pick those that suit your own views – take a broad look across all the polls. In this context, when the argument is cast in terms of equal rights a majority support gay marriage, when cast as a minority imposing their views upon the rest a majority are opposed – when asked simply and directly just under half are in support.

UPDATE: Sean Fear in the comments section has pointed out an Angus Reid question on gay marriage. They asked a similar question to YouGov, but without some of YouGov’s explanatory text:

Now, thinking about same-sex couples. Which of these statements comes closer to your own point of view on the legal recognition of same-sex couples in the UK?
Same-sex couples should be allowed to legally marry
Same-sex couples should be allowed to form civil partnerships
Same-sex couples should not have any kind of legal recognition
Not sure

Their results were again pretty similar to YouGov and ICM – they found 43% in favour of gay marriage, 34% in favour of civil partnerships but not marriage, 15% opposed to both.

96 Responses to “How many people support gay marriage?”

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  1. If the Yorkshire miners could be smashed the teachers should be no problem. But as my friend says teaching is a vocation ( she was educated by Quakers) so perhaps those motivated by money alone should leave.

  2. @ Amber Star and Old Nat

    Tonight I had dinner with the former Chief Justice of the CA Supreme Court. I learned an interesting fact. This very conservative former jurist is a Scottish-American and has an affinity for the homeland of his ancestors. He even lived in Scotland for two years as a teenager and remembered some of his mom’s Scots phrases (though he doesn’t speak Scots or Scottish Gaelic). If this guy were a British citizen, he’d undoubtedly be a Tory (he likes the Tories to the extent he knows about British politics) although he hinted at a nationalist streak (I didn’t really discuss independence with him though I did talk about the whole commerce clause analogy) as he seemed to associate Westminster’s Parliament as English.

    It makes me wonder if the Scottish Tories are really extinct or if they simply moved away and immigrated to the United States and Canada and simply vote for new and different parties.

    As conservative as this guy is, he did occassionally have liberal moments on issues regarding gender equality and the right to privacy. Makes me wonder if that was his inner Scot taking over.

  3. Colin/TF – good points both, it seems we broadly agree that it could be a good thing if handled sensibly and fairly.

    Rightly ot wrongly GOs motives are rarely trusted by many neutrals lets alone opponets.

    I expect Knee-Jerk Union opposition but I hope our front bench are more balanced in their response.

  4. But national pay structures are more a feature of company size than of private/public sector. My company, a largish multinational, has national pay structures… I chose not to live in London. My cost of living is lower, but then again I don’t have access to national museums, the Olympics, underground trains etc…

    Another issue about regional pay scales: how do you deal with the imbalance in areas within a region? Should someone get paid more because they live in Mayfair not Hackney?

    Being a polling site though, what is the likely outcome for the polls? I suspect that this could look like the Tories abandoning the North and Midlands. I dare not speculate about the impact on the L*bD*ms

  5. If we get Rhetoric like Wolf’s from Government MPs the issue will become polarised driving people with views similar to mine in to the anti camp

  6. The creation of local pay will be a massive own goal.

    The effects on the regional economies will be regressive. Those area like the north east will be hit with massive job cuts this year will then find the spending power of those in work cut, private sector employers will see no need to increase private sector salaries in the region producing ever wider gaps between the south east and the rest of the county, It will result is ever greater differences in house prices making it very difficult to move from a poor region into the rich south east there by pushing up wages in that region.

    In short the possible wipe out of any Tory gains made out side the south east over recent years is a real possibility. This is a very short sighted proposal which will come back to bite the government.

    At the bottom of this is a desire to take on the unions and provoke a reaction. The quiestion in terms of VI will be do we have the type of reaction Thatcher got ,positive VI, or do we have the Heath reaction to the question who governs, the answer being not you!

  7. @ The Other Howard

    I think it is another move to break the power of the Public Sector unions. A tactic i used myself when I first became a Production Director. Once national bargening stops then “divide and rule” is much easier.
    This is a charming ‘take’ on the government’s motives for varying public sector pay by region. I actually think it is much ‘nastier’ & definitely more speculative than my (removed)comment was.

    At least my comment was grounded in fact (albeit jazzed up with some lively speculation). There are already recruitment issues in the SE, believed to be due to the pay & pensions changes being made by the current government. I fail to see how creating conflict with the Unions would make the public sector more attractive to workers in areas of ‘full’ employment.

  8. @ Anthony

    I rarely whinge about being moderated but come on – Wolf’s comment is acceptable but mine isn’t?!

  9. If I live in a ‘poor’ area but commute to my job in a ‘richer’ area (or vice versa) , which location determines my pay level?
    If they pay MPs according to the prosperity / poverty level of their constituencies then I might just go along with it. :-;

  10. @ Tinged Fringe

    I suspect the idea isn’t actually ‘lower pay for people in poorer areas’ but ‘higher pay for people in areas with higher living costs’
    I suspect you’re wrong. The proposals are: Pay won’t be reduced for current employees in the so-called ‘lower cost’ regions but it will be for new starts. And the pay of current employees in ‘lower cost’ regions will continue to be frozen or raised at less than the cost of living is rising, whilst employees in other regions will receive above inflation raises. Which is effectively a pay cut for those in the ‘lower cost’ regions.

  11. @OZWALD

    I’m sure that the parliamentary Tory party could live with that! But actually that is a great point about the value of jobs: what argument could you make that an MP from (for example) Witney being worth more than an MP from Sunderland? Are the voters in Sunderland worth less? (full disclosure, I support Newcastle so my actual answer might be biased)

  12. Solidarity with Amber on the moderation question

    Wolf has form (did you see his comments on the unions and the war a few days ago).

    This is, on the whole, a respectful forum and we do not need these types of comment.

    I am afraid I am a cynic and my view of Tory motives is low based on what they did to my region 20 years ago. I see this as an attempt to consolidate their position in the South, try to attract new voters in London (and possibly the the Midlands) whilst abandoning the other regions.

    Electorally it would make sense and be very difficult to reverse

    As for the LD – I often read LibDem Voice and the party membership there is now ideologically more libertarian than liberal

  13. @Thesheep
    Thanks for your comments. The list of anomalies will be a long one. Will my lawyer charge me less because I live in a ‘poor’ area? Or will he/she charge me more because their offices are in a ‘rich’ area?

    BTW, my sympathies for being a Newcastle supporter ! (only joking). I support the other Magpies – Notts County and our main ambition is simply to survive!

  14. London weighting already exists and could be boosted, along with outer London weighting (intermediate). There is lready mechanisms in place to pay premiums where labour is costlier.

    instead they opt to freeze and reduce pay for the rest.

    Won’t go down well.

  15. NICKP
    `instead they opt to freeze and reduce pay for the rest.
    Won’t go down well`

    Agree and he might have done that had we been in a boom…But we are in the middle of austerity and he might save himself a few bob too
    This might reinforce the Tories as a party of London and the South-East

  16. @ Colin @ Tinged Fringe

    Totally agree with your comments to my earlier post.

    @Amber Star.

    I cannot see anything nasty in my post about Public sector Unions. I always had good relations with theTrade Unions once I had got the situation on a more equal basis. I went to the TUC most years.

  17. JIM JAM


    Although our political “colours” differ, I so often find little to disagree with in your views & like your pragmatic approach.

  18. Andy JS

    “My assumption would be a big split between responses from people in big conurbations like Greater London and the rest of the country.”


    “How do people who value the Union of the kingdoms justify this”

    That’s the wrong question. Rather you should ask:

    How will people who are working to end the Union of the kingdoms take advantage of this?

    I cannot speak for them, only for those who have a very low opinion of the competence of the leadership of all three Westminster parties and an even lower opinion of the metropolitan media, politics and celebrity culture they operate in.

    Incompetence is normal.

  19. OZWALD

    @”Will my lawyer charge me less because I live in a ‘poor’ area? Or will he/she charge me more because their offices are in a ‘rich’ area?”


    His/her cost base should be lower & his/her prices should be lower.

    If clients did more shopping around & asking for quotes , from solicitors , the effect could be enhanced.

  20. @Colin
    “If clients did more shopping around & asking for quotes , from solicitors , the effect could be enhanced.”
    Agreed. I have noticed that some major supermarkets have some flexibility in their pricing from one area to another.

  21. “Average hourly wages of public sector workers are 24.3% higher than those in the private sector. Most – but not all – of this difference can be explained by public sector workers typically having greater experience and more education. After taking into account these differences, average hourly wages are estimated to be 8.3% higher in the public sector than in the private sector.

    The estimated public sector pay premium varies remarkably across regions. There is no evidence of a public sector pay premium in the South East of England, while in Wales the estimated premium is 18.0% for men and 18.5% for women. This
    provides a strong case for having regional variation in the pay awards that are set centrally ”


    Teachers are at the extreme end of pay differentials with “local average”.

    My response to ChrisLane’s justification of this anomaly-that ” a child in Sunderland is as valuable as a child in Surrey” -is to observe that the Sunderland child’s father & mother might have similar views with regard to their own relative”value” when compared to the local school teachers.

  22. OZWALD


    Customers can drive prices down if the local economy provides competitive edge.

    My experience , living in the SE ( not London) is that suppliers of all sorts are being pressed for a competitive approach.

    Our local Sainsbury’s lists the prices of the local branch of Lidl on some items.

    If you can’t get a discount , or a better price, in this environment, you never will.

  23. From the BBC

    “Work done by the think tank The Resolution Foundation, which focuses on those on low and modest incomes, shows that there was almost no wage growth in the middle and below during the five years leading up to 2008 and yet the economy grew by 11% in that period. Others also point out that the share of the national income which goes into wages, as opposed to profits, has been decreasing since the mid-1970s. The argument is that less of the economic pie is going into the pockets of ordinary workers.

    What is also clear is that a disproportionate amount of the economic wealth has been going to those at the top. The earnings of the richest few per cent have increased rapidly in the UK since the 1980s and that pattern accelerated in the last ten years. In the United States that process began earlier and has been more extreme.”

  24. I don’t think this policy of regionalising public pay is going to help the Conservatives. It will further cement their position as the party of the south east (sans London), meanwhile everywhere else goes a bit further to pot.

    They need to reach out into the rest of the country, not ram themselves into a corner of it. There’s many seats beyond there they need to win. It may not matter so much if they are relatively popular, but a 1997-style defeat next time will be just that bit worse.

  25. Colin re Chris Lanes comment.
    I think there is a clear case for teachers in difficult schools getting more than a teacher in a comfortable school.
    Where I live in Darlington the Head teacher has no problem getting teachers when someone leaves but a Head in a tough Middlesbrough school does.
    The Pupil Premium could be used to boost the Head’s income in such schools and they could use the money , inter alia, to pay for more experienced teachers.

    It has been clear to me for a number of years that the unwillingness of the Teacher unions to be flexible about the need for some differentials would lead to a Government finding ways around them.

    Labours response imo should be too say we are not opposed in principle but we want some assurances and perhaps some Nationally set maximium differentials to ensure the wealth gap does not grow between the regions.

    TF is right about disposable income but much of this is housing costs and we could end up with Salary differentials facilitating a widening of house price variations.

    I am sure that there are many other issues but I hope for a constructive opposition, a real test for EM.

    As above, though,the real problem for Government is that GO is trusted little, outside Cons supporters, and his motives will be questioned strongly; they should get someone else to front the initiative.

  26. @Colin;

    My concern is that people will suffer from Friedman’s money illusion. I’m sure you know how Friedman showed how inflationary expectations can destroy equilibrium in the long run, but the same principle applies to differential public sector pay. Whilst £40,000 in London may buy the exact same equivalent of what £30,000 in Hull will buy, people will suffer from the money illusion – they’ll look at the nominal value, and not the real value. As a result, people will head towards the South-East and London to seek the apparently higher wages, despite the fact that in terms of real wage, what they’re getting isn’t actually changing!

  27. ‘If the Yorkshire miners could be smashed the teachers should be no problem.’

    I don’t agree with that at all.If the teachers went on strike closing schools for a month I suspect people would notice their power pretty quickly.

  28. Good Afternoon.
    Just in from godson’s footy, and now waiting for the Grand Slam game in Cardiff.

    I am a public sector worker. Since losing my deputy headship in 1994 at the young age of 39 due to illness, I have been a classroom teacher and done some good work I think in the state sector, since 1978, and hope to do for another decade.

    My hourly wage rate is £29.50. It puts me into the lower middle class bracket, and I make no complaint. I decided to become a teacher since I loved my teacher in Nick P’s school, and since leaving Oxford in 1978 I have done so, and do not regret it at all.

    I teach because I have the skills, knowledge and passion to help young people become themselves, inrellectually, emotionally and spiritually. Yes, it is a vocation, wolfman, but as Jesus told us a workman also needs to have his wages.

    Society benefits from a highly trained and paid teacher workforce.

    Politcally, I would point out that the privately educated Cabinet Ministers (vast majority of them) were taught by men and women who are paid at a higher rate, and where their Headmasters and Headmistresses are funded at a far higher per capita rate than those people in the public sector so the new departure might rankle with people.

    For example a public school for girls which I know provides per capita £1700 per month. In state schools it is about £400 a month. Mrs Thatcher taught us that it is the money that counts. That is why we remember the Good Samaritan she says.

    Does the Bournemouth and Poole (Dorset) child have a different value on her/his education from that of a child in Sunderland or Newry?

    In the TEACH FIRST innovation the young people are paid at a higher rate than their contemporaries, and research indicates that pupils in these schools have their gcse and their a level grades raised by at least one grade.

    Another question. Why does the average new teacher last only 5 years in the public sector, and why does 50% of PGCE cohort go into teaching in the public sector?

  29. I am not sure how this works.

    If I am a degree qualified person who happens to work in the north then the public sector wages will be depressed to equalize then with equivalent private sector jobs?

    Can someone post a link to the IFS report that this is based on as I would like to see we are comparing apples with apples.

    Also, if we believe in this regional differentiation could we get to the state where we see highly qualified people based in the north getting paid the same or less than unskilled people in the south. Also, it seems that we will start to see issues with differentiation and we will start to see regional benefit levels.

    Also, on the cost of living in the South – how much of this is just based on housing costs. If we strip out housing /rent does everything else cost so much more? If not then is this the best way to deal with this.

    By setting this out as a clear policy I think we will see this leading to a big change in the perception of our society and will cause hostility towards the south in the regions.

    People from the north will no longer be paid enough to visit London, visit subsidized art venues or use the subsidized transport.

    I just find this a truly bizarre and destructive way to deal with the inequalities in our country.

  30. Is Clegg really looking to be booted out of politics in 15?

    His constituency area has a huge number of students – he’s already lost that vote over tuition fees.

    It also contains a huge number of reasonably well paid public sector workers – a well-off middle class Liberal enclave of high end NHS workers, council workers and civil servants, university academics and teachers. Economically comfortable people with liberal social outlooks – perfect Lib Dem material. But that laager also happens to be in one of England’s poorest regions. So presumably, these are the very peoe that Osbourne has in his sights. And Clegg has given his blessing to Osbourne hitting them hard in the pocket.

    Say what you like about Clegg, he can’t be accused of thinking of his own electoral situation in 15 when agreeing policy. Put all these attacks on his core supporters together with the proposed boundary changes, and he’s looking very, very vulnerable in 15.

  31. The logical extension of local pay is to pay people more (or less) depending on which street, or even which house, they live in.

    The richer the street, the more the pay.

  32. JIM JAM


    I agree absolutely that if local conditions require premium pay for teachers , it should be available.

    I cannot agree with the proposal in your last paragraph.

  33. When we need an ambulance and we are from a well off area, and we are in a poorer area, say, for arguments sake, after a terrible terrorist bomb has gone off, do the less well paid ambulance drivers, para medics, police officers and firemen/women get less pay or more pay, or are they subsidised somehow.

    And how will teachers’ employers in poor areas attract teachers from prosperous areas if the pay to teachers in poor areas is lower than for teachers in the well off areas?

    And how will teachers working in a poor boroughs in London such as the borough for which the great man, Simon Hughes MP is the MP be paid in comparison with teachers in well off areas such as Twickenham where Vince is MP?

    How much do teachers get paid in St Paul’s Schoo and in Westminster School and in Eton School and how much do the headmasters of these schools receive per capita?

  34. TOP HAT

    @”As a result, people will head towards the South-East and London to seek the apparently higher wages, despite the fact that in terms of real wage, what they’re getting isn’t actually changing!”

    Not when they realise the cost of living in London . If you wind up living in a shoe box which costs the earth, don’t you ask yourself why you are living there ?

  35. BAZSC

    @”Can someone post a link to the IFS report that this is based on”

    See my post upthread.

  36. LEFTY

    @”Economically comfortable people with liberal social outlooks – perfect Lib Dem material. But that laager also happens to be in one of England’s poorest regions.”

    I suspect that this is an excellent characterisation .

    I like your choice of words-particularly “comfortable” & “laager”.


  37. @”How much do teachers get paid in St Paul’s Schoo and in Westminster School and in Eton School and how much do the headmasters of these schools receive per capita?”

    As much , we presume, as their paying customers are willing to cough up for, given the perceived quality of teaching & the education they are buying.

    Parents of state school children are not able to impose the effects of such judgements upon a school.

  38. I see the political narrative that will accompany Osbourne’s initiative, but the purported justification in terms of regional economic efficiency is questionable at best, if not mendacious.

    The spin line today has been that the problem with the regions is that over inflated public sector pay in the regions dampens down private sector growth. That assumes that there is a suppressed well of private sector growth sims ready to spring forth and bloom in the regions if only they are allowed to recruit high quality staff on low wages.

    The reality of course is far more nuanced. In reality, decent public sector employment and pay levels have kept many regional economies afloat and buttressed private sector growth but by bringing money into the regions and by mitigating a drain of talent to the South East.

    Osbourne knows this only too well, but the political agenda means that he has to continue to push the “public sector is the root of all evil and cannot possibly be a driver of growth” agenda.

    If this policy is implemented, the outcome will be a sharp reduction in overall wealth in the North, Wales, NI and Scotland and a re-invigoration of the traditional brain and talent drain out of these regions. Osbourne, the tactician (as opposed to “strategist”) is banking on the political capital that he gets on the South and the more affluent areas of the Midlands outweighing the fact that he’s more or less writing off the Tories as a political force outside the bottom third of the Kingdom.

    Electorally risky, morally dubious and a big threat to the social cohesion of the country.


    Regarding your earlier comment, you might be interested to know that MORI was once asked by the Palestine Liberation Organisation to conduct a survey on their behalf. Bob Worcester was very strict in the rules he applied to this: he demanded that he phrase the questions and that payment was made up front. No supporter of the PLO he!

    @ MR WEEBLE & BT

    I agree entirely with Mr Weeble on this one. I honestly cannot see how BT can defend ComRes when their question wording reads as “Since gay and lesbian couples already have the same rights as married couples available to them under civil partnership, they should not be allowed to redefine marriage for everyone else”. I mean, come off it!


    I can’t agree with you about the anti-Ken propaganda. This site is financed by ads like that. If UKPR did not get any advertising revenue then Anthony’s blog would not even exist – and then none of you would be able to read my expert opinions. Think about it!

  40. There has been a huge push to outsource the lowest paid public sector workers to private agencies/companies over the past ten years. I wonder if that will now reverse as folk realise that doing so will raise the average income of the remaining public sector workers in an area?

  41. @LeftyL

    Do national pay scales apply beyond the English border? Either way, there won’t be any transfer of wealth from Scotland and Wales, thanks to the Barnett formula having guaranteed their share of Exchequer funding. Lucky them.

    But I agree with you in terms of the impact in England. It won’t be long before Osborne follows through pay cuts with cuts in funding to public authorities in the North, Midlands and South West* on the grounds that they’ll need less funding to pay their staff. And if as reported he’s looking at making these pay variations very local. Its going to be areas where local economies are already weakest which see an even further weakening after further losses of Exchequer funding, with knock on effects on the local private sector.

    [*Will the prospect of the political fallout from this be gladdening the hearts of the 15 Lib Dem MPs in the mostly low waged South West?]

  42. Good Evening.

    Prayers for Mr Muamba’s tragedy. football certainly is not ‘far more important than matters of life and death’

    The players, crowds and referees were brilliant, and many people there were saying their prayers.

    On the pay question. Why are the Liberal Democrats going along with this policy departure.

    Is it really being proposed that a school teacher in a poor area of our United Kingdom will be paid less than a teacher teaching rich students?

    This is quite amazing.

  43. @ Chris Lane

    Is it really being proposed that a school teacher in a poor area of our United Kingdom will be paid less than a teacher teaching rich students?

    This is quite amazing.
    I agree with you. And I am struggling to take the approach of JimJam & TingedFringe who wish to ignore the over-arching principle: Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value.

    Whilst there has been some small departures from this in the past, e.g. London weighting, these departures have been exceptions. Now the exception is to be the rule! You are right – & this proposal to discriminate by geographical location is not an easy thing for a ‘lefty’ to agree with.

  44. Phil
    Do national pay scales apply beyond English border?
    Yes Lots of them. Civil servants in immigration, work and pensions etc etc. Osbourne will also intend I presume that such an approach would apply to organisations like the post office etc There will also be Barney consequentials if English spending declines in speres that are devolved.
    Lib Dems?
    A few took umbridge when I claimed that Cameron proved the truth in Alan Clark’s comment that the attraction of politics was the cruelty, citing treatment of poor Clegg by the Tories. It really doesn’t get better.
    More importantly, this initiative demonstrates again that Cameron’s main problem is that he is bone idle. This idea isn’t, as many are pointing out, thought through. To take teaching as an example, all the evidence internationally and going back decades is that teachers teachers gravitate towards prosperous areas and away from poor ones.

  45. The easiest way to match pay to local conditions is for those in inner London/ outer London/ south east England/ west of England and east of England to be given- in that order- significant base salary increases.

    As I understand it the plan is to freeze the pay of those not in the said regions for years to come.

    In other words this is not about regional/ local pay accuracy- it is just another ruse to cut spending. I think most people will see through that.

    There are lots of people who work in the private sector who have a partner who works in the public sector.

    This won’t be a vote winner IMHO.

  46. Back to gay marriage, one of the things likely to distort the polls is that some – I suspect many – equate marriage with church and think the proposed change will force churches to marry gays in church. There is also a degree of mendacity supporting this myth or the ‘slippery slope, ECHR will make churches marry them in the end’ associated myth.
    On local pay rates, I agree with the argument about using London etc weighting to do the job selectively. I’m interested what private sector employers who have standard pay rates do: all my recent experience has been with individually negotiated pay within very broad pay bands but what do Tesco do?
    It smacks of GO finding a new way to punish the public sector, with the ideological justification being the dogma he pursues against all the evidence that the public sector squeezes out the private.

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