Roughly Labour has aded a million extra employees to the public payroll since taking power. Overall it employs around 6 million state employees. To be able to pay all the wages without ending up in a Greek type mess, we need to reduce these numbers in a sensible way.
Let us assume 1 million of them are uniformed personnel and front line medics, teachers and other essential workers. Let us assume that overall 5% or around 300,000 leave public employment each year, to retire or do something else. Let us assume we would need to replace all of the front line staff leaving, and need to replace some of the others leaving. That would still enable us to save substantial numbers of posts each year as natural wastage continued. It means no -one faces compulsory redundancy and taxpayers do not have to make redundancy payments to departing staff.
This would be good news for all working within the public sector, as it would increase the opportunities for promotion. There should also be programmes to encourage retraining and accelerated promotion for those already on the payroll. A Conservative government is going to have to weight the reductions more heavily on the overhead, as it has promised a 30% reduction in overhead cost over the next Parliament.
Some will say this could cause more unemployment as the public sector sharply reduces the amount of recruitment it undertakes. However, if it is allied to good policies to promote a private sector revival, it will assist that, building confidence in the public finances, allowing more talented people to join the private sector,and avoiding crisis interest rates. By the end of a five year Parliament the public sector would have a more affordable level of employment, with a better balance between front line employees and back office and regulatory overhead.
Prmoted by Christine Hill on behalf of John Redwood, both of 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU