Saturday, 8 March 2008

Public sector employment (2)

I drifted off the topic a bit in my earlier post, so here's a summary:

There are other identifiable categories, firefighters, probation officers, foreign office, coastguard, air traffic controllers etc (some useful, some not), but the numbers are relatively small so are ignored here. And sure, schools, hospitals and police stations need receptionists, cleaners and so on, but surely we can manage with three million on the public payroll (notwithstanding that health and education should be privately provided, even if taxpayer funded via vouchers)?

My (rhetorical) question is; why are there over five million people paid by the taxpayer (that's one-in-six of all employees) of no apparent benefit to society at large? Why? How have we let this happen? Nearly one percent of all workers are involved in collecting tax and dishing out benefits, how many more are there in the private sector filling in the forms in the first place? Is this all really necessary? And don't forget that the true cost of a civil servant's pension is another one-third of his or her current salary, so that's the equivalent of over seven million superfluous jobs in total!

Teachers & teaching assistants
Nurses & doctors (1997, 2007)
Police officers
Prison officers
Armed forces
HM Revenue & Customs
Dept. for Work & Pensions
Public sector (Column D)
Public admin, education and health (Column M)

NB, the figures are not entirely consistent, some are for UK, some for England & Wales only. Some are from a year earlier or later. This does not detract from the overall picture.


Anonymous said...

The good news is that when pressure on Govt budgets gets severe, there's lots of waste to cut. The Bad News is that it won't be.

Mark Wadsworth said...