GMB highlights 1 million public sector jobs lost since 2010

18 Sep 17

One million public sector jobs have been lost since 2010 due to funding cuts, privatisation and outsourcing, according to research from the GMB union.

Figures published yesterday showed that public sector employment as a share of the labour market has fallen to a 70-year low.

Seven years ago there were 6.4 million public employees but that has now dropped to 5.44 million. The majority of jobs lost have been in local government.

Office for National Statistics figures released last week showed that 16.9% of workers were employed in the public sector in June – a 0.1% fall on the previous quarter.

This is the lowest share since the ONS's current records began in 1999 – and historic Bank of England data reveals it is the lowest share since 1947, the year before the NHS was founded.

The GMB said that when Margaret Thatcher was in office the public sector’s share of employment did not fall below 20%. It had peaked at 30.6% when James Callaghan was prime minister in 1977.

Rehana Azam, GMB national secretary for public services, said a “catastrophe” was befalling public services.

“Any sensible opportunities for efficiencies are long gone – funding reductions are now cutting into sheer bone,” she said.

“Enough is enough. We need to properly fund public services so they can cope with sharply rising demand, and real pay rises for the heroes in the workforce who sacrifice so much and are being denied the reasonable standard of living they deserve.”

A government spokesman said: “Since 2010, the government has taken the tough decisions needed to put our public finances on a sound footing while protecting funding for the NHS, seeing crime fall and the number of good schools increase.”

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