By Claire West
In further comment on the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) announced by the Chancellor, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
'Public servants did nothing to cause the recession, but will pay a heavy price today. Their pay has already been frozen, now they face half a million job losses and increased pension contributions that will add up to a reduction in take home pay.
'With spending cuts likely to cause another half million private sector job cuts, the idea that they will all get shiny new private sector jobs is wishful thinking. And if you add all of those meant to be returned to jobs by welfare reform, you end up in the realm of fantasy. Politicians may want to look optimistic, but ministers would have more chance of closing the deficit by buying lottery tickets.
'It is also fantasy to say that these are 'backroom' job cuts that will not affect service delivery and quality.
'Public sector job losses are likely to occur in some of the UK's more depressed regions where private sector job creation is already extremely poor. Job losses will depress local economies even further - and the cycle of decline has a good chance of bringing back the deep north/south divides of the 1980s.
'While we can give half a cheer for the commitment to keep DB pensions, public sector staff who keep their jobs could see big increases in contributions. Today's £1.8 billion savings target could come on top of increases already in the pipeline in some schemes. On top of this a change in the discount rate could trigger even higher contributions.'