Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Think tank says public sector must cut million jobs

Think tank says public sector must cut million jobs

that is sad if they proceed doing it , right?


A million public sector jobs should be cut, mainly front line posts such as doctors, nurses, police and teachers, if the country's record deficit is to be eliminated, the think-tank Reform said on Tuesday.

Both the government and the main opposition Conservative Party are wrong to pledge to protect frontline services because they absorb most of the public sector costs, the non-party think tank said in a report called "The Front Line." A cut of at least 15 percent in the costs of public sector employment, equivalent to one million jobs, would save about 27 billion pounds, Reform said, without putting a timescale on it.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown's ruling Labour Party, behind in opinion polls to the Conservatives with an election due by mid-2010, faces pressure from markets to give a credible plan to cut a deficit set to top 12 percent of gross domestic product this year.

Brown has pledged to halve the deficit over four years, while the Conservative leader David Cameron has said his centre-right party will take an axe to public service costs to cut debt faster than Labour without harming frontline services such as health. But Reform said such pledges were misguided because public sector employment made up the majority of public services costs and the bulk of public sector jobs were frontline workers.

Reform Director Andrew Haldenby said politicians had to be "more honest with the public."

"The public deficit cannot be reduced sufficiently without tackling the frontline," he said in a statement.

Of the 1.4 million people in the National Health Service (NHS) in England, for example, only 220,000 provided administrative support, Reform said.

Since 1999, the Whitehall civil service had grown by 5 percent compared with a 30 percent increase in the NHS workforce and police service. The think-tank also said the public sector had to become as productive as the private sector.

Staff costs account for more than half of the total costs of the NHS, more than two-thirds of education and three-quarters of the police, according to official estimates.

On Monday, Brown pledged to slash consultancy and marketing costs as part of plans to save an extra 3 billion pounds, on top of 9 billion pounds of planned efficiencies announced earlier.

But so far plans outlined by either main party would hardly dent the budget deficit and few doubt that big tax rises and a very sharp squeeze on spending will be needed whoever wins the next election.

(Reporting by Avril Ormsby; Editing by Andy Bruce)



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