Latest Public Sector News

18.05.15

Up to 100,000 civil servants could lose their jobs in the next five years

The Civil Service could lose as many as 100,000 more jobs over the course of this Parliament, according to the head of the union for senior managers in public services.

Dave Penman, head of the FDA, quoted the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) analysis of the autumn statement, saying that only 40% of the total cuts for 2010-20 had been made so far.

Those cuts came at the cost of about 80,000 jobs, as the government primarily targeted staffing levels to make savings. Penman expects that trend to continue as the government makes the remaining 60% of savings, costing another 100,000 jobs.

“The DWP could lose 20,000 to 30,000 staff, the HMRC could lose 10,000 to 15,000 ... it is greater cuts than over the last five years and most of that is based around staffing, so it is not surprising,” he told the Guardian.

“That is what the civil service is expecting, it is certainly what we are expecting. We are back to the 1930s level of spending.”

The PCS (Public and Commercial Services) union said cuts of that order would make it “impossible” to deliver public services to the current standards.

On Thursday, Penman will address the FDA’s annual conference, where he is expected to call on the new government to ensure that the Civil Service is more than simply another mechanism to reduce the deficit, by offering a new deal for civil servants.

He will tell delegates: "If the Civil Service is being tasked with delivering 21st-century public services with pre-war resources, then the government needs to demonstrate that valuing civil servants, ensuring that they have the rights skills, paying them fairly, matching commitments to resources and genuinely engaging with them are the critical elements of the new deal that needs to be struck with civil servants."

But he has already said that the FDA could not stop “an elected government from cutting the size of the Civil Service when they have been elected to do so”.

Osborne will set out a second Budget on 8 July when the scale of cuts to public services and welfare payments will become clearer. The new government has pledged to balance the nation’s books by 2020 while cutting taxes and increasing public spending on health and pensions.

The FT is reporting that departments are already drawing up submissions for what is expected to be a “bloody” spending review in the autumn with deep cuts to many departments – including justice, culture, local government and transport – whose budgets are not ringfenced.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “The minister will set out his priorities for this Parliament in due course. Anything else at this stage, one week into his tenure, is purely speculation but all is working well so far and we have a strong, cohesive centre.”

The April/May 2015 edition of PSE is now available for FREE using the new PSE App, available on iOS and Android. Search ‘Public Sector’ in the App Store / Google Play. 

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