Labour is out campaigning against 1.3 million alleged public sector job losses and compulsory redundancies. The government needs to put the record straight promptly before this camapign gets out of hand.
The official figure for job reductions in the puboic sector over the next five years is 600,000 according to the Office of Budget responsibility. This is around 10% of the public sector total. As 300,000 or so leave the public service every year you could save 600,000 with no compulsory redundancies at all. Where quangoes and offices are being closed down the employees could be offered something else elsehwere in the large public sector, as jobs become vacant.
Labour’s figure is 1.3 million or 20%. Over five years that is around the likely level of departures, but as far as Labour are concerned would entail redundancies as well. This figure is made up. The leak to the Guardian of “secret Treasury figures” was a leak of wrong Treasury figures. There is no secret plan to sack more than the OBR forecast. The OBR figure remains the best forecast. We can calculate a more accurate figure once we have seen the autumn spending round conclusion. That will depend on the balance between benefit bill reductions and the rest.
The government needs to be careful how it presents all this. Getting too many of your staff offside too soon when you need them to help you change the way public service is delivered would not be a good idea. They need to stamp on Labour’s attempts to whip up the public sector Unions.