London less reliant on state jobs than the rest of the UK

Ben Southwood
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LONDON and its commuter belt rely far less on the public sector for jobs than the rest of the UK, official statistics revealed yesterday.

In the third quarter of last year, public sector employees made up 19.4 per cent of the total across the UK, data from the Office for National Statistics showed, with just 16.6 per cent of those working in the South East directly employed by the public sector, along with only 16.9 per cent of London workers and 16.7 per cent in the East of England.

By contrast, 27.7 per cent of all those in employment in Northern Ireland were directly employed by the state, along with 25.7 per cent in Wales, 23.5 per cent in Scotland and 22.2 per cent in the North East. Public employees now total 5.7m, the ONS said, a fall of 55,000 on the second quarter, and 669,000 below the 6.4m peak in the fourth quarter of 2009.

But excluding a one-off switch that moved further education colleges into the private sector, there were more public sector jobs overall in September 2012 than in March 2008, as cuts to local government jobs were overtaken by rising central government jobs across England.

“The figures suggest that the government, in one respect at least, is beginning to slim the size of the state,” said the Institute of Economic Affairs’ Philip Booth. “However we need to go much further.”