PO Box 28287
Telephone: 0131 662 6988
Fax:0131 667 8175

23 Cramond Glebe Rd
Cramond Village
Telephone: 0131 336 1619

Free EnquiryEmployment Winter Of Discontent

The last decade saw Public Sector jobs bloom and flourish. However, the Coalition Government is taking the stance that in order to stabilise the nation’s economy, a series of drastic cuts must be implemented. With the forthcoming Spending Review looming large in many people’s minds, how will those in the Public Sector be affected?

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), in 2007 Public Sector jobs accounted for 29.9% of the UK’s total employment figures. Since then, that figure has grown, whilst those in the Private Sector have experienced significant job losses over the same period. The Institute of National Statistics (INS) has recorded that in the years between 2007 and 2010, around 2.5 million employees in the Private Sector were made redundant as the recession’s bite deepened. However, forecasters are making the prediction that it is the Public Sector that will suffer in October’s Spending Review.

Getting our house in order.

It is indisputable that the country’s finances are in poor order. In the financial year 2009-10, the country’s deficit reached an unprecedented figure of £155 billion. The Government’s spending had far outweighed the revenue it had generated through taxes. In order to close the gap between income and outgoings, the Coalition Government believes that the best thing to do is to implement a series of dramatic spending cuts. Where the previous government was in favour of introducing 67% in cuts and 33% in tax increases, the Coalition believes that a 50-50 split is the better option. While this would mean fewer job losses, an increase in tax could force redundancies that haven’t been officially targeted.

Those most in the firing line would appear to be those in public administration, education and the health sectors. While politicians continually pledge to uphold the National Health Service, it appears to be already in disarray - failing to meet targets, facing millions of pounds in law-suits for negligence claims and seeing many doctors and nurses emigrating in favour of better pay and conditions. Whatever the moral arguments over the existence of the NHS, it has to be conceded that it is a massive drain on public resources. With the inevitable cuts to NHS spending, those who will suffer the most will be the public, who can look forward to increased waiting lists and understaffed hospitals.

Teachers, too, are facing bleak times. With the Coalition’s proposal for a number of ‘Free Schools’ nearing implementation, sceptics suggest that this will create a two-tier education system within the UK and, crucially, will put further strain on the nation’s economy. With parents taking the place of teachers, there could be a situation where teachers struggle to find employment and the wages they need to survive.

Any cuts will have further repercussions on local economies. Shopping facilities, restaurants and entertainment faculties will experience a loss of revenue, forcing the sort of closures experienced during the depths of the recession. Tax increases will leave the public with less money to spend and the financial crisis could worsen before it improves.

The real hope for the public is the fact that the Government is a coalition. Spending cuts are at the heart of the Conservative’s economic policies, but the Liberal Democrats have a less strident approach. Public Sector workers will watch the Spending Review with interest to see whether the combined policies of two political parties will create a happy medium of spending cuts and tax increase. If not, we could see the UK plunged into a ‘winter of discontent’, reminiscent of the decade of strikes of the 1970s.

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