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22.11.16

PCS calls for end to Civil Service staff cuts ahead of Autumn Statement

The Autumn Statement must offer a boost to Civil Service staff, the PCS has said, after the union published figures revealing that jobs have been cut by a fifth in the past five years.

The union released figures showing that jobs in the Civil Service have fallen from 527,000 to 416,000 since 2010, a 21% cut which leaves the smallest workforce since the Second World War.

The south west suffered from the biggest decline, with 31% of jobs cut, including 1,800 civilian Ministry of Defence jobs. Around 8,500 DWP jobs were also cut in the north west.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS, said: “The chancellor must announce a significant boost for public services and jobs, and put money back in people’s pockets.

“Any refusal to do this would expose the lie at the heart of Theresa May’s claim to want to govern not just for a privileged few.”

The union pointed out that further job cuts would be particularly hard to deliver safely in light of a recent leaked memo that suggested up to 30,000 extra civil servants will be needed to oversee the UK’s exit from the European Union.

Following the leaked memo, FDA general secretary Dave Penman said: “Whether the memo represents a considered Government position or not, it's clear that unpacking 40 years of EU membership is the single biggest task facing the civil service since the second world war.

“Whilst politicians squabble about hard and soft Brexit, there is a deafening silence from ministers over whether any additional resources will be provided to deliver this momentous task. Brexit on the cheap appears to be the government's preferred approach, but this will satisfy no-one.”

He added that the Autumn Statement provided the government's opportunity to outline how it will provide the resources the Civil Service needs to ensure a successful Brexit.

PCS has also called on chancellor Philip Hammond to reverse the public sector pay cap.  The union is currently balloting its members after refusing to accept a government deal to cap public sector redundancy payments, as well as campaigning against planned HMRC reforms which will see over 90% of its offices close.

Public sector finances experienced a small boost ahead of the Autumn Statement today after the latest monthly figures from the Office of National Statistics showed that net borrowing has decreased. After experiencing an unexpected increase in September, public sector net borrowing in October 2016 was £4.8bn, representing a decrease from £6.4bn in October 2015.

In the financial year to date, borrowing is at £48.6bn, compared to £54.2bn at the same point last year.

The figures show that public sector net debt has continued to grow, from £1,591bn in October 2015 to £1,642bn. However, it has been falling as a percentage of GDP for five consecutive months, indicating that GDP is growing faster than debt.

(Image c. PCS)

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