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Public Sector Employment Share Lowest For 70 years

Monday, September 18, 2017

 

Today’s Conservatives seem intent on dragging us back to the dark days before the NHS was founded.

GMB, the union for public sector workers, has published figures that show public sector employment as a share of the labour market has fallen to a seventy year low.

Official figures released this week show that 16.9 per cent of workers were employed in the public sector in June – a 0.1 per cent 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. [1]

Even under Margaret Thatcher the public sector’s share of employment did not fall below 20 per cent.

Just under a million public jobs have been lost since 2010 due to funding cuts, privatisation and outsourcing.

The majority of the jobs lost have been in local government. [2]

A new GMB report published this week argued Government’s review of public sector pay policy is ignoring the 55 per cent of public sector worker who are not covered by a Pay Review Body, such as local government workers and school support staff

Thre report also reveals:

.·         Central Government has removed an estimated £5 billion from local authority budgets in order to enforce the pay cap across the whole public sector;

·         As recruitment and retention challenges mount, the cost of agency and temporary workers has increased by £2.5 billion since 2012/13. By contrast, the Treasury estimated that the cap would save £2.2 billion in 2017/18 – raising the prospect that the cap is not saving any money at all;

·         On average, PCSOs (who are not covered by the new pay award for police officers) are set to lose £9,580 in real-terms by 2020 due to the pay cap. [3]

Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said:

“These shocking figures are a stark reminder of the scale of the catastrophe that befalling our public services.

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

“GMB’s members are performing miracles but the vital services they deliver are being stripped-back and hollowed-out and denied the resources they need, and workers are being denied the fair pay rises they deserve.

“We should celebrate the fact that people are living longer, but if services don’t get additional funding then crises of provision are inevitable. That breaking point has already arrived in the NHS and social care.

“Seventy years ago the Labour Government of Attlee and Nye Bevan created cherished public services that have improved and saved millions of lives.

“Today’s Conservatives seem intent on dragging us back to the dark days of the past instead.

“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.”

ENDS

Contact: GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at press.office@gmb.org.uk?

Notes to editors

[1] ONS, Public sector employment UK statistical bulletin: June 2017, published 13 September 2017:https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/publicsectorpersonnel/bulletins/publicsectoremployment/june2017

Bank of England, A millennium of macroeconomic data, table A.51, updated 31 April 2017: http://www.bankofengland.co.uk/research/Pages/datasets/default.aspxSee also the complete table in note 5.

[2] Figures from the ONS June 2017 public sector employment statistical bulletin:Changes to public sector employment (headcount) by classification, seasonally adjusted (thousands)

Central  government

 

 

Local
government

 

 

Total general government

 

 

Total public corporations 

 

 

Total public sector

 

 

Of which:
Civil Service

 

 

2010

 

 

2,819

 

 

2,908

 

 

5,727

 

 

670

 

 

6,397

 

 

517

 

 

2017

 

 

3,021

 

 

2,115

 

 

5,136

 

 

304

 

 

5,440

 

 

423

 

 

Change #

 

 

202

 

 

-793

 

 

-591

 

 

-366

 

 

-957

 

 

-94

 

 

Change %

 

 

7.2%

 

 

-27.3%

 

 

-10.3%

 

 

-54.6%

 

 

-15%

 

 

-18.2%

 

 

[3] GMB, End the Public Sector Pay Pinch – Public Sector Pay and the Forgotten Three Million, 13 September 2017: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/58b828f44402436b74624b8a/t/59b6af4c80bd5e49f83c2d8c/1505144822522/PAY+PINCH+REPORT+2+-+FINAL+SPREADS.pdf

[4] Changes to public sector demand levels identified by GMB:

 

2010

 

 

2017

 

 

% change

 

 

Adults aged over 80*

 

 

2,854,694

 

 

3,170,900

 

 

11.10%

 

 

Monthly A&E attendances**

 

 

1,752,381

 

 

1,924,103

 

 

9.80%

 

 

Pupils in state-funded schools***

 

 

6,929,000

 

 

7,490,000

 

 

8.10%

 

 

 

* Figures for the UK in 2010 and 2016 – the latest year for which figures are available.
** Total attendances in the month of August in England
*** Figures for England

ONS, Population Estimates for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, 22 June 2017: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/populationandmigration/populationestimates/datasets/populationestimatesforukenglandandwalesscotlandandnorthernireland

NHS England, A&E Attendances and Emergency Admissions (timeseries), updated 14 September 2017: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/ae-waiting-times-and-activity/ae-attendances-and-emergency-admissions-2017-18/

[5] Public sector employment as a share of the overall workforce – 1937 to 2017 (data sources given in note 1):

Year

 

 

Public sector share of employment %

 

 

1937

 

 

9.0

 

 

1938

 

 

9.2

 

 

1939

 

 

8.8

 

 

1940

 

 

15.4

 

 

1941

 

 

17.5

 

 

1942

 

 

21.4

 

 

1943

 

 

20.4

 

 

1944

 

 

20.7

 

 

1945

 

 

21.9

 

 

1946

 

 

15.9

 

 

1947

 

 

16.9

 

 

1948

 

 

21.9

 

 

1949

 

 

26.7

 

 

1950

 

 

26.2

 

 

1951

 

 

27.8

 

 

1952

 

 

28.4

 

 

1953

 

 

28.2

 

 

1954

 

 

27.4

 

 

1955

 

 

26.4

 

 

1956

 

 

26.0

 

 

1957

 

 

25.8

 

 

1958

 

 

25.6

 

 

1959

 

 

25.8

 

 

1960

 

 

25.0

 

 

1961

 

 

24.7

 

 

1962

 

 

24.8

 

 

1963

 

 

24.8

 

 

1964

 

 

24.6

 

 

1965

 

 

24.5

 

 

1966

 

 

24.6

 

 

1967

 

 

26.5

 

 

1968

 

 

26.6

 

 

1969

 

 

26.7

 

 

1970

 

 

27.1

 

 

1971

 

 

27.8

 

 

1972

 

 

28.1

 

 

1973

 

 

28.0

 

 

1974

 

 

28.4

 

 

1975

 

 

29.9

 

 

1976

 

 

30.3

 

 

1977

 

 

30.6

 

 

1978

 

 

30.4

 

 

1979

 

 

30.4

 

 

1980

 

 

30.3

 

 

1981

 

 

30.3

 

 

1982

 

 

30.2

 

 

1983

 

 

30.1

 

 

1984

 

 

29.2

 

 

1985

 

 

27.5

 

 

1986

 

 

27.2

 

 

1987

 

 

25.9

 

 

1988

 

 

24.9

 

 

1989

 

 

23.4

 

 

1990

 

 

23.2

 

 

1991

 

 

23.0

 

 

1992

 

 

23.3

 

 

1993

 

 

23.1

 

 

1994

 

 

22.3

 

 

1995

 

 

21.8

 

 

1996

 

 

21.2

 

 

1997

 

 

20.5

 

 

1998

 

 

20.2

 

 

1999

 

 

19.9

 

 

2000

 

 

20.0

 

 

2001

 

 

20.1

 

 

2002

 

 

20.3

 

 

2003

 

 

20.7

 

 

2004

 

 

20.9

 

 

2005

 

 

21.0

 

 

2006

 

 

20.7

 

 

2007

 

 

20.4

 

 

2008

 

 

20.2

 

 

2009

 

 

22.0

 

 

2010

 

 

21.9

 

 

2011

 

 

21.1

 

 

2012

 

 

19.7

 

 

2013

 

 

19.3

 

 

2014

 

 

17.9

 

 

2015

 

 

17.4

 

 

2016

 

 

17.1

 

 

2017 (June)

 

 

16.9


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