Public Sector Cuts
Where to start! Thousands of publicly funded services across Britain are about to be lost, with devastating consequences. It has been estimated that approximately 720,000 public sector employees will lose their jobs. This will inevitably will have a knock-on effect in the private sector and a PwC report put the total number of job losses arising form the public sector spending cuts at about 943,000. Those in the Public Sector who do keep their jobs will see their pay, pensions and terms of employment squeezed. The cuts to Council budgets will see no area of life untouched and we will all feel the effects in one way or another. Libraries, social care, school crossing patrols, road maintenance, nurseries, street lighting, refuse services, charities, play areas, advice services, public transport, car parking, leisure activities, museums to name but a few will all be under threat of closure, increased costs to the public or a reduction in services.
Related links: Where the councils are cutting Spending cuts risk 1m UK jobs Public sector cuts – the truth Spending Review: In graphics
DLA (Disability Living Allowance)
The Government wants to cut budget of DLA by 20 per cent and plan to change DLA to the ‘Personal Independence Payment’ which would have ‘mobility’ and ‘daily living’ components. The changes would mean new assessment tests for claimants who would also need to have had a condition for six months It has also announced the removal of the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance from people living in state-funded residential care. This will affect an estimated 60,000 people and would happen from October 2012
Related links: Disability Living Allowance (DLA) changes explained Disability benefit cuts could breach law Disability living allowance cuts could confine disabled to homes Where’s the benefit
ESA / IB (Employment Support Allowance / Incapacity Benefit)
There is also to be an overhaul of Incapacity Benefit (now called the Employment Support Allowance). Everyone on IB will be reassessed through a questionnaire and a work capability assessment carried out by Atos, who are seeing 11,000 people a week, starting with with the long-term and severely disabled.
Related links: Disabled people terrified by changes Spending Review slashes £7 bn from welfare budget — general benefits
ILF (Independent Living Fund)
The ILF is funded by the Department for work and Pensions (DWP) and its support enables disabled people to choose to live within their communities rather than in residential care. From May 2010 it was changed to only accept applications from people in work of at least 16 hours per week. However from June 2011, the ILF was permanently closed to all new applications. The ILF will continue to support its existing users for the duration of this parliament and a consultation on how ILF users should be supported beyond this will take place in the summer of 2011. These changes seem to be in contradiction of The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and in particular, article 19
Related links: Anger as ILF changes threaten independent living Independent Living Fund (ILF) announces cut-backs Independent living Fund
(WCA) Work Capability Assessment
Starting from March 2011 until March 2014, if you are currently receiving Incapacity Benefit, Income Support (on the grounds of disability) or Severe Disablement Allowance, you will be asked to go through the WCA rather than the Personal Capability Assessment. Despite fierce opposition from Rethink and other disability charities, the Government decided to change some of the descriptors and points scored starting from the 28th March 2011
Related links: Work capability assessment is assessed, and found lacking Independent review of the work capability assessment Controversial work test ‘is too strict’, say doctors
Hundreds of thousands of families across the UK will be affected by changes to housing benefit that came into force in April 2011, with more due in 2012/13 – part of the biggest shake-up of the welfare system for decades.. The changes include restricting benefits per household size, lowering LHA (Local Housing Allowance) to 30th percentile, withdrawing £15 excess benefit, linking rent to CPI, capping overall benefits, extending share-room rent, increasing non-dependant deductions and removal of 5 bedroom rate.
Related links: Housing benefit changes: Who will be affected? Housing benefits cuts are too rushed, say critics of government plans Housing benefit are being “rushed through” without understanding the impact
From January 2013, child benefit will be withdrawn from households with a higher rate taxpayer (the threshold is currently earnings of £43,875 a year though this is set to drop to around £42,000). The government admitted in a parliamentary written answer that the number of single-income families with children who pay higher-rate tax would increase by nearly 9pc (over 15,000 people) by April 2012, to 190,000 and could not estimate how much further this number would rise in 2013. However, earlier parliamentary answers have suggested that 200,000 single-income households will be liable for the higher rate of tax by 2013, when the changes to child benefit take effect.
Related links: Q and A on Child Benefit changes 15,000 more families to lose child benefit Child benefit changes – can the government’s plan work?
The coalition government has announced it will scrap payments in Child Trust Funds from January 2011, following a big reduction in the amounts from August 2010. From 1 August, payments at birth were reduced from £250 to £50 for most families, and £500 to £100 for families with an annual household income of less than £16,190. Payments when children reach the age of seven will stop. All payments have been stopped from 1 January 2011. Since April 2010, a child eligible for Disability Living Allowance also gets a yearly top-up of £100 in their Child Trust Fund, or £200 if the child has a severe disability. The coalition government said these payments will end from 2011-12 onwards.
Related links: Child Trust Fund changes and you
Health in Pregnancy Grant
The Health in Pregnancy Grant – a one-off payment of £190 for each pregnancy, to encourage mums-to-be to live and eat healthily – has been scrapped by the Government and you won’t qualify for the grant if you reached the 25th week of your pregnancy after 1 January 2011.
Related links: New parents ‘hardest hit by cuts and benefits changes Babies pay for bust Britain with pregnancy grant cuts
Sure Start Maternity Grant
About 150,000 families will miss out on maternity grants each year due to a cut which is being imposed from 24 January 2011. It comes before a series of other benefit cuts that will be imposed from April, which will affect housing benefit and tax credits. Up until now, the £500 had been available to parents for each subsequent child as well.
Related links: Sure Start maternity grant cuts begin
Winter Fuel Payment
The annual tax-free payment to help people pay for their heating over the winter months will fall from £250 to £200 for the over 60s and from £400 to £300 for the over 80s in 2011-12. This comes at a time when the Big Six power firms are expected to announce increases of around 10% for electricity and 20% for gas in the autumn of 2011.
Related links: Budget 2011: Winter fuel payment blow for pensioners Budget 2011: Pensioners ‘betrayed’ by the Chancellor
Cold Weather Payments
Millions of pensioners could face shock reductions in their cold weather payments be left unable to pay heating bills this winter after it emerged the Coalition is considering slashing cold weather payments and could be left unable to pay heating bills this winter. The £25 benefit is handed out if the temperature in the claimant’s area falls below zero for seven consecutive days – and is considered vital by countless poor families and elderly people. Around four million people usually claim and there are fears that the figure could be higher this year, as a result of the recession.
Related links: Millions of OAPs face shock reductions in their cold weather payments
Sure Start children’s centres in England are being starved of funds and the network is shrinking as councils implement funding cuts with the grant that funds the network being cut by about 22% and councils around the UK are closing centres or cutting services. Some of the 3,600 Sure Start children’s centres are being cut because the grant that funds them was cut by 11% in last year’s emergency budget, and again in the comprehensive spending review by almost the same percentage. A national survey of 3,500 centre managers found that 250 centres – or 7 per cent – will close or are expected to close. Meanwhile around 2,000, or 56 per cent, will be forced to provide a reduced service. And 3,100 centres – a huge 86 per cent – will suffer from a smaller budget
Related links: Cuts leaving Sure Start starved and shrinking Update: How Safe is Sure Start
In the June 2010 Budget, the coalition government announced a package of tax credit changes. The effect of the changes on different households will depend not only on levels of income, but also personal circumstances including a drop in the amount you can earn before credits are reduced and the amount of money you can get for childcare costs.
Related links: How the new tax credit changes will work Tax credit repayments to soar Tax Credit changes calculator: How will cuts affect you?
State Pension Age
From 2016, women’s pension ages (which was already increased a few years ago) will start increasing even faster and from 2018, men’s pension age will also increase, so that by 2020 the plan is for men and women’s pension age to be 66. So, between now and 2016 the state pension age for women will rise to around 63. Then between 2016 and 2018 it will rise to 65. Then, from 2018 to 2020, the state pension age for both men and women will rise to 66.
Related links: Changes to the state pension age State Pension Age changes will penalise women
Public Sector Pensions
Six million public sector workers are to lose their final salary pension schemes and will have to work for up to six years longer. Nurses, doctors, teachers, local government and other public sector workers will have to pay more into their pension pots, retire later and many will receive less when they do.
Related links: Pension reforms: Public sector workers to pay more and retire later Public sector pension plan sparks strike threats
Changing Pensions from RPI to CPI
The effect of the move from RPI to CPI for protecting the value of future pensions is to reduce the value of their benefits over the next 15 years by £83bn
Related links: Switch from RPI to CPI will cost State pensioners £207m next year RPI to CPI costs pension savers £83bn Unison: Protect our pensions briefing
War Widows & Veterans Pensions
Measures announced in the summer Budget 2010 stating all public sector pensions would be linked to the consumer price index (CPI) will also adversely affect service families, war widows and retired veterans.
Related links: War widows stand to lose thousands in pensions axe Defence Secretary Liam Fox branded heartless for pension cuts that will hit war widows and retired veterans
The voluntary sector is set to lose around £4.5bn because of the government’s austerity measures affecting charitable services from the cradle to the grave
Related links: Spending cuts will create meaner, nastier Britain
Exclusive survey: social care charities feel the pain The Big Society & spending cuts
The coalition have announced that access to waiting lists will be limited to the most needy plus groups councils choose to add. Social housing landlords will be allowed to check their tenants’ finances after 2 years in a property with a view to evicting those whose financial situation is deemed to have improved enough. The tenant would be given at least 6 months notice and the government are planning to introduce these reforms by the summer of 2011. Also, new tenants will be offered intermediate rents at around 80% of the market rent.
Related links: Reforms will stigmatise social housing Social housing reform dangerous, say lenders
The NHS is supposed to be protected from the public sector cuts but is being forced to save at least £20 billion in ‘efficiency savings’ (aka cuts). New research obtained from Freedom of Information requests show that more than 50,000 jobs are disappearing from the NHS. The results come from freedom of information responses, which reveal for the first time the extent of cuts by local health trusts struggling to save £20bn from their budgets. And all this at a time when the government is trying to push through its Health & Social Care Bill which will hand over 80% of the NHS budget to the control of remote GP commissioning boards and, many fear, into the hands of the private sector, effectively privatise the NHS.
Related links: NHS to lose 50,000 jobs, including doctors and nurses NHS cuts to jobs: the list in full Blog: A better NHS
Deep cuts in funding for local councils will hit front line services like child protection and care for the elderly. Overall, council grants will be cut by 7.1% a year for each of the four years of the spending review. Local authority social workers are facing a basic pay freeze for 2010-11, which unions have branded a real-terms pay cut of more than 5% under the current rate of inflation. The government promised an extra £2bn in four years for social care but questions remain over whether this money will materialise as the cash appears not to be ring-fenced in local council budgets
Related links: Spending review: social care at risk as councils cut costs Social care cuts are already biting Spending Cuts Force Councils To Cut Social Care Services Targeted Towards Vulnerable People
Legislation has been passed paving the way for the sell-off of Royal Mail. The Postal Services Bill could see 90% of the firm end up in foreign hands. Privatisation will break the historic link between Royal Mail and post offices. Post offices receive nearly 38 per cent of their income from Royal Mail business and this is currently secured by an inter-business agreement between publicly owned Royal Mail and publicly owned Post Office Limited. Rural and urban post offices alike will be under threat of closure
Related links: MPs approve plans for Royal Mail privatisation Government bill threatens universal postal service Keep the Post Public: Billy Hayes speaks out
Police budgets are facing a 20% cut by 2014-15 with forces in England and Wales facing cuts in central funding in the next two years of 4% then 5%. Acpo predicts the jobs of 12,000 police officers and 16,000 civilian staff will be lost as a result of the cuts – a reduction of about 12% of posts and the Police Federation said Police officers are likely to suffer a 15-20% reduction in the value of their pay.
Related links: Police budget cuts detail revealed Police pay review: Politicians and groups react Police fear bad days return in Spending Review cuts
Fire services are seeing budget cuts of 25% over four years. Up to 10,000 Fire Officer jobs will be cut with many stations under threat of closure.
Related links: FBU warns cuts will push service to breaking point FBU briefing: Savage cuts planned
Following the CSR in October 2010 a number of coastguard control centres, which . co-ordinate and manage rescue efforts across the UK, were expected to close under government spending cuts. One report suggested more than half of the 19 centres could shut. In February 2011, it was announced the 24 hour ‘Search & Rescue’ service, currently provided by the RAF and Royal Navy, plus civilian helicopters through the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) would be run by private consortium Soteria from 2012, from 12 bases across the UK. The contract is worth £6bn over 25 years and will see the number of military aircrew reduced from 240 to 66, with civilian aircrew making up the shortfall. But recently (May 2011) the government announced it was “having another look” at the proposals and would respond before the Commons breaks for summer in July 2011
Related links: Coastguard centres face closure amid spending cuts Coastguard cuts plan scaled back
The government will spend £540m a year on flooding defences in England over the next four years – a cut of 8% from previous periods.
Related links: Flood defence funding cut by 8% More than 1,000 flood defence schemes left without government funding
The Forestry Commission budget has been cut by 26% and at least 400 jobs will be axed. In February 2011 the coalition was forced into the humiliating climbdown after a public outcry against proposals to raise £250m by selling Forestry Commission woodland. However there are still concerns that the government will use existing laws to sell 15 per cent of the country’s woods to raise £100m.
Related links: Forestry Commission budget cuts to result in loss of around 400 jobs Forest battle goes on, despite U-turn
The Army will have to cut up to 7,000 personnel over the next five years, and lose 40% of its tanks and 35% of its heavy artillery. It will lose one deployable brigade out of six. The Ark Royal, launched in 1985, will be decommissioned almost immediately, rather than in 2014, as previously planned. The navy will lose 5,000 personnel and its surface fleet will be cut from 23 to 19. It will get a new fleet of Astute-class nuclear-powered submarines. 5,000 RAF personnel will lose their jobs over the next five years and RAF Harrier jump jet and Nimrod reconnaissance planes will be scrapped and some air force bases will close. The Ministry of Defence will lose 25,000 civilian staff over the next five years. These decisions have a profound impact on our armed forces and the 300,000 people who work across the UK in the defence industry to support our troops
Related links: Spending Review: Ministers agree MoD budget cut MoD cost reviews looks to find fresh cuts Don’t ignore the implications of UK defence spending cuts
Further and Higher Education
Universities and colleges funding has been slashed by 17% over the next two years with cuts of 40% in their teaching budgets
Related links: Education cuts will turn Britain into yesterday’s country Universities alarmed by 40% cut to teaching budgets Spending cuts will force swaths of universities to close
Universities are now able to charge tuition fees between £6,000 to £9,000 despite now infamous pre-election pledge of the Lib Dems. to vote against any legislation to raise tuition fees will not be easily forgotten or forgiven.
Related links: Q&A: University funding FactCheck: Tuition fees are up but will uni places be cut too University Fees Rise to £9000 A principled approach to Higher Education in England and how it should be paid for
EMA (Education Maintenance Allowance)
The government have abolished the £560m EMA scheme replaced it with a £180m bursary scheme.
Related link: £180m bursary scheme replaces EMA EMA Replacement Could Breach Equality Law Many unanswered questions over EMA successor
BSF (Building Schools for the Future)
The government has controversially axed England’s Building Schools for the Future, dubbed the biggest school building programme since Victorian times. By June 2010, 178 school rebuilds or refurbishments were complete, with a further 231 in construction or nearly in construction. And a further 1,100 schools were on their way. To date, no replacement has been announced, an interim report has been given verbally to ministers, although the department originally said it would be published in mid-September 2011. A plan for capital investment over the next spending review period was expected be produced by the end of year but the timing has slipped.
Related links: Q&A: Building Schools for the Future Gove loses court battle over cancelled school building projects School building projects scrapped by constituency: full list
Future Jobs Fund
Within weeks of being in power, the government announced that the Future Jobs Fund would be abolished. The demise of FJF means there is a danger that the good-will, HR, training infrastructure and real job opportunities created by FJF will disappear. The House of Commons Work and Pension Select Committee has warned that scrapping the Future Jobs Fund risks consigning young people to long-term unemployment.
Related links: Don’t hang young people out to dry Jobs Fund could contribute to long-term unemployment
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have announced plans to close a number of Jobcentre Plus offices affecting 17 benefit-processing sites, five contact centres and putting 2,400 jobs under threat
Related links: Jobcentre posts at risk Union anger over plans to close 22 Jobcentre sites JobCentre closure is no surprise
Arts & Entertainment
The Arts Council’s overall annual budget will reduce by £20 million (11.8%) by April 2015. More than 200 organisations that received regular funding from Arts Council England have missed out after “a series of painful decisions”. About 1,300 venues, theatres, galleries and arts groups applied for grants from the council, which had its budget cut by £100m in October’s Spending Review. Some 695 groups will get funding for 2012 to 2015 – down from 849 – while 110 new groups have been successful.
Related links: Hundreds of arts groups lose funding Arts Council England funding cuts – the great axe falls
The government has announced that 192 government agencies will be abolished, 118 merged and 171 will be substantially reformed. Thousands of jobs will go and as many will be transferred into new departments. Health bodies have been dealt a particularly heavy blow with the Health Protection Agency being scrapped and its functions brought into the Department of Health. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the Human Genetics Commission and the Human Tissue Authority will all be scrapped.
Related links: Quango cuts: full list of bodies affected Quango reduction plan botched Conservative plan to cut quangos would have negligible effect
The coalition announced plans in November 2010 to cut £279 million from the civil legal aid budget and £71 million from criminal legal aid, in a move which critics claim will affect up to 725,000 people a year.
Related links: Cuts to legal aid budget set to go ahead Planned cuts to legal aid are crude and brutal The cuts to legal aid are closing the law to all but those with money
CPS (Crown Prosecution Service)
As part of the CSR, the government announced that The Crown Prosecution Service would face a 25% cut in its budget. The CPS has told the attorney general’s office that this will “damage frontline services” and “delay and possibly deny justice” and that a “business transformation” programme will lead to job cuts of 1,820, 22% of the total CPS staff, over the next four years but that even with job cuts on this scale, the strategy will produce savings of only £102m a year: £16m short of the required 25% target the chancellor is demanding for cuts in each department’s cash spending.
Related links: Budget cut of 25% will deny justice
Some 93 magistrates courts have been earmarked for closure as part of the government’s deficit reduction programme. A further 49 county courts are also set to be shut.
Related links: Watchdog slams court closure plan Magistrates’ Association criticises court closure plans
Since the first private jail was ushered in in 1992 by Ken Clarke, then as home secretary, the results have been mixed – some private prisons have proved innovative and successful while others have been criticised for their high staff turnover, tendency to cut corners and weaknesses in security. The now Justice Secretary Ken Clarke has said Birmingham Prison is to become the first jail in the UK to be privatised,. Thirteen private prisons already exist in the UK – 11 in England and Wales, and two in Scotland – but this is the first existing public sector prison to be contracted out.
Related links: Ken Clarke privatises Birmingham Prison amid union fury Privatisation will not rehabilitate our prisons
The coalition government has placed an annual limit on the number of immigrants allowed into the UK from outside the European Union and have stated they want to reduce net immigration to “tens of thousands each year, not hundreds of thousands” over the lifetime of the parliament. Home Secretary Theresa May says she is looking at how to cut their numbers – but it’s not clear who will be targeted and whether the Liberal Democrats will accept restrictions.
Related links: Q&A: UK immigration cap An immigration cap insults NHS workers The UK Immigration Cap & The Effect On City Business
UK Border Agency
There has been 1,700 job losses in the UK Border Agency so far this year but thousands more could go as the agency, which is responsible for securing the British border and controlling migration, makes budget cuts of about 20% expects to axe 5,000 jobs. The agency’s support services, which account for about 10% of its budget, are facing cuts of about 35%, while frontline services will face cuts of 20%.
Related links: UK Border Agency expects to axe 5,000 jobs
HMRC are facing resource spending cuts of 15% and capital spending cuts of 44%. A programme of office closures and job cuts could see over 200 offices closed across the UK and 25,000 job cuts by 2011 with a further 13,000 job cuts by 2013.
Related links: HMRC cuts make tax avoidance even easier Cuts will boost avoidance: HMRC managers HMRC’s squeeze will pile pressure on taxpayers
SFO (Serious Fraud Office)
It is being reported that the Home Office finally intends to confirm its plans to break up the SFO. In a letter to David Cameron, the Bond Anti-Corruption Group said “We are writing…to express our concern in the strongest possible terms at the current proposal for replacing the Serious Fraud Office. The kind of measures reportedly being considered by your Government are likely to be severely detrimental to the fight against corruption.”
Related links: David Cameron pulled into SFO dispute Shadow Solicitor General challenges Attorney General to stick up for fight against economic crime
England’s public spending watchdog the Audit Commission, which employs 2,000 people, is to be scrapped. Its replacement has yet to be announced
Related link: Eric Pickles announces plans to scrap Audit Commission Who will tackle failure now the Audit Commission is being axed?
The following was received from Douglas Lock in response to the above:
Broken promises from a failing government Or Failed promises from a broken government.
1. “We will reduce the deficit”
Failure:. Deficit in April 2011 £10 billion. Highest ever deficit in April. Thus a dreadful start to the new financial Year as the National Debt reaches a new record level.
2. “We will change a debt driven economy to an enterprise driven economy”
Failure: Personal debt at £1,456 billion is still rising.
3. “We will rebalance the Economy”
Failure: Service Sector still pre eminent.in UK economy. Manufacturing sector. at five year low in April 2011
4. “We will reduce immigration”
Failure: May 2011 Highest net immigration since June 2005 at 242,000
5 “We will reduce welfare dependency”
Failure 2.5 million claimants. The only change is a change in assessment procedures and benefit levels.
6. “We will enhance the role of the UK in international affairs”
Failure. Only success is in WAR in North Africa, Relief and support to the worlds poor conspicuous by its absence.
7. “We will control the Banks”
Failure; Bonuses just as high and the failure of the Merlin agreement to increase lending to smaller and medium businesses is creating concern.
8. “ We will create a prosperous Britain”
Failure. Inflation and decline in standards of living now at new record levels.
9 “We will reduce carbon emissions”
Failure: Emissions UP 2.8?% General agreement that the Carbon Market is failing.
10 “ We will control M.Ps excesses in Expense allowances
Failure: Recent news ‘Taxpayers cover credit card expenses of M.Ps at new record level of £800,000 £3.2 million claimed in first two months of this year.
12 “ We will increase upward social mobility through education reform”
Failure:. University fees at £9,000 per year, cutting the EMA and Sure Start schemes and creating Free Schools all work in exactly the opposite way and create greater social inequality.
13. “ We will reform the NHS”
Failure. The Health bill has met opposition from every quarter and would demolish the NHS.
14. “We will reform the Housing Market”
Failure. First time buyers excluded from the market by Mortgage restrictions. Social Housing construction down. 1.7 million applicants for social housing. Government target is a mere 150,000 houses over 4 years.. Welfare rent subsidies down. A looming housing crisis..
15. “ We will bring Constitutional change and greater democracy to the UK
Failure .A Tory organised No to AV campaign. A gerrymandering change to the constituency boundaries being pushed through. More Tory Members of the House of Lords.
Where does it stop?
This Coalition was NOT elected with any mandate for this sorry tale of failure.
The opposition to much of what they propose is creating a politicised generation among students, young women and Trade Unionists. Their credibility is coming under strain. BUT they are bolstered by their media friends, by a supine Lib Dem group of MPs and by the astonishing apathy of whole swathes of the population who do not vote, who believe the Daily Mail and who are essentially apolitical.
So how do we rate the Tory coalition? FAILURE.FAILURE FAILURE