Headlines: November 10th, 2009

Unions say cuts in public spending would lead to thousands of jobs being lost and limit Britain’s ability to lift itself from recession as well as bringing reductions in important services at a time when they are most needed. The warning comes in a new TUC pamphlet published as a separate survey showing that public sector employers expect to shed jobs in the final quarter of this year.

“Speaking up for Public Services” is the latest in the TUC’s Touchstone series. It says widespread budget cuts would see jobs being lost in the private as well as the public sector. It argues that every pound invested in public services through direct employment and procurement of supplies and services generates an additional 64 pence in the local economy.

The pamphlet, which has been written for the TUC by the Association of Public Service Excellence, includes the results of a survey of 2,000 public sector employees. More than 90 per cent of them report an increase demand for their services since the recession with struggling families needing help with housing problems, debt advice, training and job hunting. Maintaining investment in public services, the document says, is vital to preventing long-term unemployment and minimising the social and economic impacts of the downturn on people and their communities.

The TUC paper comes a day before the release of the latest unemployment figures and alongside the latest quarterly CIPD/KPMG Labour Market Outlook survey of more than 700 employers. It says employment prospects will deteriorate less slowly in the final part of this year but says employers hiring intentions are well below pre-recession levels. The balance between those taking on staff and those shedding jobs is more buoyant in private sector services, standing at plus 11 per cent, while in the the public sector, employers in public administration report a negative balance of minus 18 per cent.