London: England is copying India in more ways than one; austerity is the new mantra in the UK as well.
With Britain facing a record high state deficit of more than 6 billionpounds, political parties are trying to outdo each other in announcingmeasures to cut government spending.
While the Labour government has announced a salary freeze for therichest public sector employees, the Conservative party says that isnot enough. They would freeze salaries of all the 6 million publicsector employees and all this in an election year.
Senior bureaucrats, judges, health service managers - the top earners in the corridors of power in Whitehall face a freeze in their salaries. The government is targeting the 750,000 highest earning public sector employees.
"The salary freeze effectively means a pay cut for the richest public sector employees. Clearly will be an unpopular move and that too in an election year. But the government says painful cuts are necessary at a time when Britain faces a record high national debt of 175 billion pounds."
"If rules have to change because of austerity I am all for it because austerity is needed," said Lord Swraj Paul, MP, House of Lords.
But the opposition Tories say this is not enough. If they came to power in the next general election, they would cut pay of all the 6 million employees of the public sector resulting in saving more than 3 billion pounds and 1 lakh government jobs.
Unlike India, both parties seem to be fighting the election on a no populist measures plank, promising to be straight with the public about the tough measures needed to get Britain out of the economic hole it finds itself in.