The Trades Union Congress (TUC) say the civil service jobs cull is a ‘false economy’ that could obstruct real reform.
Recommendations of the government’s efficiency review launched by Sir Peter Gershon in 2003 propose the losses of over 70,000 civil service jobs in addition to the shifting of 13,500 positions into ‘front-line’ services and the relocation of 20,000 posts out of London and the south east.
The proposals would mean a reduction in the civil service pay bill by £1.3 billion it currently stands at £10 billion.
The TUC, however, say that many of the jobs that are ear-marked for the axe are low paid and together with paying for ‘fillers’ to perform jobs the total savings would be less than £1 billion, according to their calculations.
Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary, said:
“The government’s big boost to public spending is now showing results. Public services are improving but looking for simple savings through job cuts at this stage could be a false economy. They may shoot a Tory fox, but cutting thousands of civil service jobs will hit the morale and capabilities of the public servants expected to implement government reforms. The costs could easily outweigh the benefits.”
The TUC refute claims that the public service is inherently inefficient pointing to benchmark figures which show that public sector productivity in the UK was 19% higher than in the US, 15% higher than in Germany and 7% behind France.
They also belittle claims that the civil service is too big, the proposals recommend reducing the workforce to 8% of total government employment down from 10-12% as it has been over the last thirty years.
Furthermore the planned relocation of 20,000 jobs outside of London fails to address regional gaps in labour market performance because the capital has the highest unemployment rate and lowest employment rate of all the English regions, say the TUC.