220,000 jobs threatened, says union
More than 220,000 jobs are under threat in councils, the NHS, education and other parts of the public sector because of the Government's spending cuts, according to a new study.
The GMB union, which has been tracking job loss announcements in councils for months, said that when other parts of the public sector were included, the toll of job cuts was "shocking".
Over 170,000 posts were under threat at 318 local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland, but when planned cuts in the NHS, universities and Government departments were included, the total was 226,000, said the union.
A 90-day statutory consultation period was under way in most of the councils and other public bodies, with volunteers for redundancy being sought and vacant posts being scrapped, according to the GMB.
General secretary Paul Kenny said: "These figures on the number of public sector jobs no longer available to be filled are even more shocking than the figures GMB has been tracking at local councils.
"Unemployment at all levels is not just a social ill, it is an economic disaster. Putting people on the economic scrap heap is not a price worth paying as we found out during the Thatcher years.
"There is widespread revulsion that the Government has deliberately decided to add to unemployment by cutting jobs as the economy has not recovered from recession.
"Excuses from ministers that GMB is confusing compulsory redundancies with not filling vacancies and seeking volunteers will not wash as these figures show that 226,472 posts will not be available to be filled.
"It is not possible to grow the economy and achieve a balanced budget through deflation."
The biggest number of job losses threatened by local authorities was in the North West (30,000), followed by the West Midlands (22,000), Yorkshire and The Humber (21,000) and London (17,000), said the GMB.