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Think-tank targets public sector jobs to combat debt

8 December 2009

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A leading political think-tank has announced that a million public sector jobs must be axed if the government stands any chance of easing the public debt.

Reform said reducing the headcount of frontline roles in the NHS and the police by 15% overall would save around £27bn a year as well as providing more efficient services and better pay deals in the future.

The centre-right group said the UK should follow France’s lead by implementing a “two out, one in” policy of recruitment, minimising the need for further compulsory redundancies in the future.

Of the health service’s 1.4 million-strong workforce, “only 220,000 provide administrative support”, it noted, and the NHS and police had grown six times as fast (30%) as the Whitehall civil service since 1999.

So far, all the major political parties have shied away from the topic of public-sector jobs cuts. However, Reform said that frontline jobs must be in the firing line for the government as they make up the bulk of the workforce.

Politicians have been careful to say they would shield those who actually deliver services from the efficiency measures, as all accept they are needed to help pull the economy out of crisis.

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