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Old August 13th, 2010 #1
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Default Job cuts threaten UK's justice system

Job cuts threaten UK's justice system

Fri, 13 Aug 2010 11:27:18 GMT

Britain's Ministry of Justice will be forcing almost 15,000 of its staff out of work amid a 2 billion cut in its 9 billion annual budget.

The government is set to slash 2 billion from the ministry's total spending and the cut has already sparked concerns with unions predicting that 15,000 people will lose their jobs and prisons will have to close down.

Critics say if prisons are closed as a result of spending cuts and dangerous offenders are let free without proper supervision then the public will be left at greater risks.

Ann Beasley, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ)'s director-general of finance, has informed senior civil servants of the scale of savings expected by the Treasury and warned them that the bulk will have to be made within the first 12 to 24 months and will inevitably involve job losses.

"It will also mean there will have to be less of us," said Beasley in a letter sent to senior civil service grades. "Over 4bn of the department's current budget is spent on staff costs and we cannot streamline the organization to work effectively and efficiently without considering staff numbers."

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union said the MoJ letter was the first indication of the scale of savings to be demanded by the coalition government and implied job cuts on an unprecedented scale.

The Whitehall union said more than 4bn of the MoJ's 9bn budget was fixed for legal aid and for the running costs of prisons and so cuts on this scale could not be delivered without closing prisons or bringing courts to a standstill.

"We also fear almost 15,000 of the MoJ's 80,000 staff could be at risk of losing their jobs," said a PCS spokesman.

Mark Serwotka, the PCS general-secretary, said: "This paints a devastating picture of the true scale of the cuts being imposed upon departments by this coalition government. We'll take every opportunity to remind the government and the public that there is an alternative and that these politically-motivated cuts are entirely avoidable."

He warned there would be prison closures and a courts system in chaos, because the civil service would 'simply not be able to cope'.

economy, jobs


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