Public sector jobless total is set to soar

JOB losses are set to surge as the axe swings in the public sector, an employers’ survey has found.

One in three public sector employers plan to slash jobs this year according to the survey, published yesterday by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

The number of public sector bodies planning job cuts rose to 31 per cent from 13 per cent in the final quarter of last year, according to the CIPD.

More than 5,000 job cuts have been announced over the past week by employers including Birmingham City Council

Alan Downey, head of public sector at KPMG, which carried out the research for the CIPD, said: “It is now only a matter of time before we are faced with the deepest and most prolonged cuts in public expenditure that anyone can remember.”

The CIPD said overall the jobs market was still “on the ropes” with one in six employers planning redundancies in the first three months of the year.

The survey shows that employers are still cutting, rather than hiring staff. Overall, employers plan to cut 6.2 per cent of their workforce, compared with 3.8 per cent in the previous quarter.

Chief economic adviser at the CIPD John Philpott said the relatively robust jobs market of recent months was “a mere pause for breath” and warned that there were “more testing rounds ahead”.

“With many private sector companies looking to move jobs abroad in an attempt to find the right balance between skills, quality and cost reduction, the jobs market needs all the continued support and protection it is getting from the government.”

One in ten firms are planning to outsource to India or Eastern Europe, according to the report.

Unemployment currently stands at 2.46m with updated figures due to be released tomorrow.