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Public sector staff morale plunges as cuts start to be felt

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By Lucy Phillips

21 March 2011

Budget cuts are leaving the public sector under-resourced, resulting in poor staff morale, according to a survey published today.

Two-fifths (41.1%) of the 1,000 public sector workers surveyed said their ‘key challenge’ was managing widespread under-resourcing and more than three-quarters (76.6%) reported ‘average’ or ‘poor’ morale.

Among local government workers, 84.4% said morale was ‘average’ to ‘poor’ and 21.9% said their departments were under-staffed.

The findings come six months after the government announced its cuts programme in the Comprehensive Spending Review and ahead of the Budget this Wednesday.

Only one in ten (12.1%) of public sector workers thought the cuts were necessary, according to the survey by recruitment consultancy Badenoch and Clark. Almost all respondent (96.8%) said they would like the government to address employment issues in the March 23 Budget.

Duncan Ward, operations director at Badenoch and Clark, said the research painted ‘a glum picture of life in the public sector’.

He added: ‘Morale is low, as workers are asked to work harder whilst having little job security. Those departments that have already seen cuts are feeling the strain and those still awaiting the impact of the Spending Review are left in limbo. With a growing consensus that the forthcoming Budget will bring further cuts, a respite for the public sector looks unlikely.’