276,000 fall in public sector posts

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Public sector employment fell by more than a quarter of a million last year, with some areas seeing a 7% slump in the wake of the Government’s spending cuts, according to research.

A study by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed that public sector employment decreased by 276,000, or 4.4%, across the UK over the year to last autumn.

The South West suffered the biggest reduction at 37,000 (7%), followed by the North West (35,000 - 4.8%), South East (30,000 - 4.2%), London (28,000 - 3.4%) and Yorkshire and the Humber (20,000 - 3.6%).

Public sector employment fell by 233,000 in England (4.6%), 23,000 in Scotland (3.8%), 9,000 in Wales (2.8%) and 4,000 in Northern Ireland (1.7%).

London had the highest number of employees in the public sector towards the end of last year at 790,000, followed by the North West (680,000), South East (678,000) and Scotland (589,000), said the ONS report.

All regions of the UK showed a fall in public sector employment compared with an increase in jobs in private firms - up by more than 200,000 in England, 39,000 in Northern Ireland, 30,000 in Scotland and 12,000 in Wales.

Northern Ireland, Wales, the North East and Scotland all had around one in four of the local workforce employed in the public sector, while in the South East, East of England, London, the East Midlands and the South West, the figure was lower than one in five.

Local government employment decreased by 195,000 in the year to last autumn, accounting for 71% of the total fall.

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