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In his pre-budget report, Gordon Brown announced a crackdown on public sector absenteeism. Research shows that public sector workers take on average ten days off sick a year, costing ?6 billion annually, while employees in the private sector only go ill for seven days each year. Perhaps Brown will be taking up the issue with his neighbour. An analysis by Campaign Information found that while the Chancellor has managed to vote in 22 per cent of Commons divisions since last year’s election, the prime minister has only managed 5 per cent.

Recent television programmes and newspaper stories have created the…

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