UK budget hits public sector hard

Some 600,000 jobs are expected to
be lost in the public sector over the next six years, the Office for Budget
Responsibility (OBR) has said.

The OBR has forecasted 490,000 job
losses by 2015 and 610,000 by 2016.

During a Commons exchange, David
Cameron said unemployment would fall during the coalition government’s term.

Denying Labour’s claims that more
would be “pushed into abject misery”, he said: “There are going
to be more people in work.”

Mr Cameron said the Office for
Budget Responsibility (OBR) had produced full tables for employment in the
public and private sectors – “something that never happened under a Labour

During prime minister’s questions,
he said: “What’s interesting from the tables is that you can see the effect
of Labour’s policy before the Budget and the effect of our policy after the

“What the figures show is that
under Labour’s plans next year there would be 70,000 fewer public sector jobs
and the year after that there would be 150,000 fewer public sector jobs.”

Earlier, the Guardian said leaked
Treasury figures predicted that up to 120,000 public sector jobs and 140,000
private sector jobs could disappear annually for the next five years.

The newspaper said the figures came
from a slide which was part of a Treasury presentation on the Budget.

It claimed the chancellor would
have seen the presentation before delivering his Budget last week and said the
leaked documents suggested that the Budget could result in a 1.3 million increase
in unemployment.

Shadow chancellor Alistair Darling
said that “far from being open and honest”, the chancellor had
“failed to tell the country there would be very substantial job losses as
a result of his Budget”.

“The Tories did not have to
take these measures. They chose to take them,” Mr Darling said.

“They are not only a real risk
to the recovery but hundreds of thousands of people will pay the price for the
poor judgment of the Conservatives, fully supported by the Liberal Democrats.”