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Cath Everett

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610,000 jobs will be axed in the public sector by 2016


Some 610,000 jobs will be axed in the public sector by 2016 as a result of coalition government budget cuts of more than 50% in some departments, according to draft copies of today’s Comprehensive Spending Review document.
The plans were unwittingly revealed yesterday by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, when he fell foul of a photographer’s telephoto lens and was snapped in the back of a car in Downing Street reading the document.
It made clear that the government accepts the forecasts made by the Office for Budget Responsibility on public sector employment and revealed that 490,000 public servants will lose their jobs by 2014-2015. The figure is expected to rise to 610,000 or one in 10 of the total workforce by 2016.
Around 14,000 jobs will be cut in the Ministry of Justice alone, 11,000 of them in front line services, which means that posts ranging from prison and probation officers and magistrates’ court staff will be abolished. A further 10,000 will go at HM Revenue & Customs, one in eight of the total.
Millions of public sector workers who survive the cull will also be told that they have to either take a pay cut or reduce the numbers of hours that they work. State employers will be encouraged to make “voluntary deals with staff on pay restraint or reduced hours in order to save jobs”, with each having to “determine the workforce implications of spending settlement in their areas”.
The document added: “Action on pay will help to reduce job losses and the government will support employers in doing all they can to reduce the number of redundancies.”
Alexander’s slip-up came only hours after a similar error by Prime Minister David Cameron over the defence review, sparking suggestions that ministers were trying to soften the blow by leaking unpopular announcements.


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