Public services paying the price of austerity job cuts

Date: Thu 23 May 2013

UNISON Scotland response to Audit Scotland report on ‘early leavers’

UNISON Scotland has called for an end to the ongoing massive public service job cuts which cost hundreds of millions of pounds and devastate local economies.

In response to a report by Audit Scotland on the price of early retirement and severance the union argues that its alternative to austerity would boost the economy and protect vital public services.

Mike Kirby, UNISON’s Scottish Secretary, said:
“While the Audit Scotland report makes some positive noises about the way public bodies manage workforce change, the reality is that our precious public services are paying the price of austerity economics.

“Audit Scotland reveal that the cost of removing 14,000 jobs from the public sector in just two years was £561 million. And that’s the tip of an iceberg.

“We know that over 50,000 jobs have gone from the public sector in Scotland since greedy bankers caused the crash in 2008.

“Why should jobs and services go when the need still exists?”

UNISON has consistently argued for an alternative to austerity economics. Growing our way out of trouble: UNISONs alternative budget for jobs and public services published in March says:

• on average every redundancy creates £29,400 in additional costs to the public sector as well as undermining morale and productivity
• most of the cost of employing a public service worker is recouped by the state through increased tax revenues and reduced benefit payments
• economic research shows that for every pound spent on local public services, 64 pence is re-spent in local economies, supporting jobs and businesses

Lilian Macer, Convener of UNISON Scotland added:

“Every job lost costs the local economy dear – and piles stress on vital public services as a decreasing workforce faces mounting pressure to meet increasing need.

“Every new piece of evidence supports our call for an alternative to austerity. We need to grow our way out of trouble – and not carry on cutting jobs and vital public services at massive cost to our communities and the public purse.”


For information please contact:
Mike Kirby, UNISON Scottish Secretary, 07939 143355
Stephen Low, Policy Officer, 07956 852 822
Malcolm Burns, Communications Officer, 07876 566 978

Notes for editors

1. UNISON is Scotland’s largest trade union representing 160,000 members working to deliver vital public services.

2. UNISON Scotland’s e-Briefing – Public Sector Workforce in Scotlandpublished in Dec 2012 gives details on the cuts to public sector jobs since the crash in 2008

3. Growing our way out of trouble: UNISON’s alternative budget for jobs and public services was published in March 2013 – see news release here:

and the full alternative budget document here: