Hamilton balances the budget but 20,000 jobs destined for the scrapheap

So the NI budget? How was it for you? John Campbell of the BBC NI has most of the readings against Simon Hamilton’s draft budget… Mr Hamilton’s own account only references additions and neglects the subtractions..

Meanwhile Michael McHugh notes the eye-wateringly high number of public sector jobs expected to go

Around 20,000 jobs are to be slashed from Northern Ireland’s public sector following a political deal to safeguard powersharing.

The posts will go over the next four years after money was set aside in Stormont’s budget for a voluntary exit scheme and freeze on recruitment.

An extra £27m has been set aside to mitigate the worst impact of welfare reform during the next financial year, finance minister Simon Hamilton said.

The Minister expanded on that in his own statement, warning there is plenty more where that came from

“I have been warning for many months that pressure on public expenditure would inevitably result in a change to the shape and nature of our public sector. That remains true. Despite allocating an additional £150million in this budget it would be a misjudgement to believe that we can take our foot off the pedal of reform. A better budget than we might have dared to imagine six months ago does not mean that difficult decisions can be avoided. Reform and restructuring remain as relevant now as they did before.

“The Executive will shortly adopt a comprehensive programme of public sector reform and restructuring which will encompass a wide range of strategies including a combination of measures such as a Voluntary Exit Scheme (VES) and recruitment freeze. The flexibilities agreed in the Stormont House Agreement to utilise up to £200million of RRI borrowing to pay for a VES in 2015-16, will greatly assist the Executive in its aim to reform and restructure.”

Effective reform however needs agreed priorities on policy. This still looks like a departmental carve up rather than a coherent plan for reform. The Finance Minister is right in one regard, the budget is going to take a serious squeeze from here on.

George Osborne has announced his intention to take more out of the central UK budget in the next two years than he has in the last five. Time to get creative?

  • chrisjones2

    Under the VES those who go may well be the more competent and older and more expensive. The workshy and permanently sick will hang on for as long as possible. has the Minister said how he will manage it? No Has he said what the targets are in terms of delayering the civil service. No he hasn’t because i suspect there aren’t any
    Will any MLAs dare to ask him? I doubt it

  • Zeno

    Amazing when you think about it. If this had been done under direct rule all our local parties would be screaming blue murder. Imagine the outcry if the headline said……
    OSBORNE CUTS 20,000 JOBS IN NORTHERN IRELAND.
    Yet when those clever Brits get them to cut their own throats they all signed up for it.
    I’ve said it before in a joke but I will say it again
    HOUSE OF COWARDS.

  • barnshee

    “Under the VES those who go may well be the more competent and older and more expensive.”

    Its voluntary- if (as you seem to believe and contrary to my experience) the NICS is stuffed with “competent” individuals– they will be rushing for the exit with their retirement package under their arm on their way to well paid posts outside the NICS

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Career civil servants, who are not competent, are employable in the private sector, you reckon ?

  • Zeno

    No one mentioned cutting career civil service jobs. There only is around 27,000 of them. This is Public Service, Doctors,Nurses, Police, Fire Brigade, Teachers etc etc etc

  • Catcher in the Rye

    No one mentioned cutting career civil service jobs.

    It should be pretty obvious that this is what the intention is.

    Under voluntary redundancy schemes not everyone who applies will be accepted. I doubt that A&E nurses will be able to avail of it.

    Edit : – most doctors aren’t even public sector workers (they are contractors who do work for public and private sector, often for their own practice). The police are employed by the Police Board (not the Department of Finance) and they’re hardly going to lay off police officers when they are actively recruiting new ones.

    Teachers are unlikely to be for the chop given that we’ve strangely chosen to keep funding the Department of Education.

  • notimetoshine

    I’m all for public sector reform and rebalancing. But I am horrified at both the scale and the timing of these redundancies. OK, some of those taking this redundancy will retire, but not all. The NI economy cannot support such a large increase in job seekers, the private sector is not big enough and there are already significant demands on our job market as we move slowly out of a post recession lull.

    Also considering how big the public sector is in NI any significant reduction in public sector employment will have a knock on effect on the private sector in terms of lower demand for goods and services.

    This seems to me to be ill thought out and hasty. Economies dont tend to respond well to big shocks especially one that is as fragile and small as ours.

    Idiot politicians.

  • Cue Bono

    The NI economy is heavily balanced towards the public sector and that is unsustainable. Republicans were loudest in proclaiming this when they were boasting about how crap the place was during the Celtic Tiger years. An effort is now being made to shift the balance back towards the private sector, something that has been done very successfully in the rest of the UK, so rather than talking about the scrapheap we should be looking at the positives. Those who wish to remain in employment will be able to enjoy a healthy pay off and get work elsewhere. Just like the security forces ad to do post 2007.

  • Zeno

    “It should be pretty obvious that this is what the intention is.”

    I’m 100% sure when they said Public Sector that is what they meant. They couldn’t possibley cut 20,000 Civil Service Jobs.

  • Zeno

    “An effort is now being made to shift the balance back towards the private sector, something that has been done very successfully in the rest of the UK,”

    When did that happen?
    A small area like NI 1.8 million is always going to be more expensive per head to provide services for than an area with a population of 60 million.

  • Zeno

    So how much are they going to save by cutting her job?
    Over the next 12 years they will pay her.
    150k in Pensions? (Half Salary)

    Her redundancy as a statutory minimum would be almost 70k (at 1 month per years service)?

    Edit*************** That 70k turned out to be nonsense as redundancy payments are much much lower. The maximum amount of statutory redundancy pay is £13,920
    https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-redundancy-pay/y/2015-01-01/53/33/500.0

    But for that money no one is going to give up a 25k job

  • Cue Bono

    It hasn’t happened yet, but it is going to happen very shortly. Hence this thread.

  • barnshee

    I am the bearer of bad news
    VOLUNTARY RETIREMENT will provide your librarian with 33/40 of the “full card” ie
    She will get a lump sum of £37500 and an immediate pension of £9375 pa index linked until she falls off her perch

    She should hold out for COMPULSORY early retirement– much better deal

  • Cue Bono

    Not if she gets herself a job in Tescos. Then she is considerably better off and considerably more tax is generated.

  • nigel mckinney

    I’d be interested to know how public sector jobs can be cut without reducing/removing public services? Which services are being withdrawn/ reduced? I havent seen or heard much debate …. yet? Of course services are already being reduced. Both my local libraries now operate reduced hours. As a result we rarely can go anymore. I expect this erosion to continue and eventually the service will be withdrawn. Fat chance of the private sector providing libraries, youth clubs, environmental protection, culture and heritage initiatives and the like.

  • $136050377

    Poor Zeno.
    Getting worried about you block grant getting chipped away.

  • Practically_Family

    “Just like the security forces ad to do post 2007.”

    If I had to bet I’d stick a fair wodge on a lot of the same people being involved.

  • $136050377

    “An effort is now being made to shift the balance back towards the private sector, something that has been done very successfully in the rest of the UK, ..”

    ======================================

    Is this what unionists are telling themselves?

    Funny. I didn’t think zero hour contracts were a “success”
    and In England there has been a large rise in self employment.

    Many of whom are extremely low paid.
    Worth also mentioning those on part time , who want full time work and can’t get it.

  • Cue Bono

    Is this what Sinners are telling themselves? If you had been paying attention you would have noticed that Miliband’s ‘cost of living crisis’ is dead in the water. Employment in England is soaring and the cost of living is falling.

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2015/01/cost-of-living-crisis-ed-the-price-of-goods-is-now-falling/

  • Cue Bono

    Two lump sums in eight years. Bonus.

  • Cue Bono

    As I said republicans have been loudest in shouting about the bloated public sector in Northern Ireland. The fact that it employs quite a few of them must be causing a lot of confusion at the minute.

  • Zeno

    I don’t think Tesco have 20,000 jobs on offer. Besides ,do they not pay min wage? On a 35 hour week, she would be paying about £6 a week in Tax……….. On a 30 hour week she would be paying no tax.

  • Practically_Family

    None at all. It’s the Brits’ fault.

  • Zeno

    If it hasn’t happened yet how was it “done very successfully in the rest of the UK,”

  • $136050377

    “New figures have revealed the dramatic spread of low-paid, insecure and casual work across the British economy since the financial crash of 2008.

    In that year, one in 20 men and one in 16 women worked in the casualised labour market. Now, one in 12 of both men and women are in precarious employment, which includes zero-hours contracts (ZHCs), agency work, variable hours and fixed-term contracts, according to new TUC data.”

    Define Success?

    Is George Bush standing on a carrier under a banner Mission Accomplished Success?

    disus.

    http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2014/dec/13/zero-hours-contracts-low-pay-figures-rise

  • Cue Bono

    Tescos do have jobs on offer though as do other private sector employers. Her ten thousand pound a year pension will bring her right into the 20% tax bracket for everything she earns.

  • $136050377

    That the same Tescos that is closing stores And have halted I think 3 supermaket projects in the WEE 6??
    That one??????

  • Cue Bono

    A TUC report published in the Guardian. Chortle. Couldn’t you find anything in An Phoblacht?

  • $136050377

    And the Spectator isn’t Thatcherite?
    Pot…Kettle..How do you do???

  • Cue Bono

    Sorry I thought you were taking about NI. Haven’t you heard about the private jobs boom in England?

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2014/06/employment-is-booming-what-does-rachel-reeves-have-to-add/

  • Cue Bono

    Er, no. It isn’t.

  • $136050377

    Thatcherite Toryite..Same thing to me.
    Point still stands..If you are trying to play the bias media card.

  • Zeno

    https://www.gov.uk/calculate-your-redundancy-pay/y/2015-01-01/53/33/500.0

    According to this…….. You get:

    0.5 week’s pay for each full year worked when you’re under 22

    1 week’s pay for each full year worked when you’re between 22 and 41

    1.5 week’s pay for each full year worked when you’re 41 or older

  • Cue Bono

    The very same one. Recruiting right now in Northern Ireland.

  • Cue Bono

    You posted a report from the TUC ffs.

  • $136050377

    Are you saying it’s untrue.
    That the number of people working on zero hour contracts hasn’t risen?
    The narrative I hear on the radio tells me different.
    The narrative, I hear is all about Part timers, who can’t get full time work..Zero hour contracts especially in the adult care sector. and a large amount of people who couldn’t find work. People in their 50’s etc , who nobody would hire due to their age..going as self employed. And this self employed work is sometimes leaving them as bad off or even worse off as people on the dole.
    Hardly what I would call success. Not in anybodies language.
    That IS the narrative..Are you saying it’s wrong?

  • Zeno

    Never thought about that, but then she would be working for about £5.35 an hour. Can’t see many people who were on £500 quid a week doing that.

  • Zeno

    The Block Grant has absolutely no effect on me. The people who will really suffer are those in the not so leafy suburbs of North, East and West Belfast.

    Was it a revelation for you that Sinn Fein were cutting 20,000 jobs on behalf of the British Government? It was for me.

  • Cue Bono

    She has a lump sum, a pension of ten grand and a job paying £13,124 with prospects for overtime and promotion. She should very quickly be better off.

  • Zeno

    No, she just brings the unemployed up to 90,000 from 70,000.

  • Cue Bono

    The narrative is that the dole queue is down and the number in employment is vastly up. The TUC may think that is a negative thing, but most people would regard it as positive. Especially when the cost of living is plumeting. Everything that Milliband was basing his hopes on has turned to dust.

  • Cue Bono

    What makes you think she will be unemployed?

  • notimetoshine

    Shifting the balance towards the private sector is also very well and good but simply cutting public sector jobs alone won’t so it. Unless some of those services provided by those public sector workers is passed to the private sector. Also cutting that many jobs in such a small economy too fast is ridiculous. Our economy isn’t growing well. I can’t imagine there is the slack in the private sector to take even half of those 20000 workers affected.

    I am concerned that this reduction in wages amongst the population will have a knock on effect on the private sector in terms of spending power.

    We need to rebalance but this is too much too fast. As a cost saving measure yea it makes sense, but it does nothing to aid the private sector.

  • Cue Bono

    I don’t recall any outcry about job cuts when the RIR and police redundancies were taking place, nor do I recall any big increase in the dole queue. People who are used to working their entire lives will go out and find work. The wages may be lower, but they will be cushioned by their pensions and lump sums. Many of not most of them will be better off in the long term. Granted they will be terrified initially, but people adapt very quickly to changed circumstances. Having to actually work for a iving rather than just turn up may also be beneficial to their health. 🙂

  • notimetoshine

    Of course they can and most likely will go for more jobs. We are a small economy and such a large influx of labour over such a small period of time is going to be difficult, and I don’t think our economy has the growth or the current capacity to handle them.

    I’m all for reducing the public sector. But it takes more to boost the private sector than simply reducing the size of the public sector. Oh yes in pure numerical terms less people in the public sector will mean a higher proportion in the private sector, but it doesn’t necessarily !mean growth. These redundancies are nonsense. Too much too fast. With no regard to the economic situation.

    Also “having to actually work for a loving rather than just turn up…” Is a ridiculous statement. Because of course all civil servants do no work. Silly generalisation.

  • chrisjones2

    “more competent” will go.

  • chrisjones2

    I didnt say that. I said the better ones would go – and there are some. The dross will stay

  • chrisjones2

    The Health Service will be largely protected. It already faces skill shortages

  • chrisjones2

    Yes they could cut 20000 civil service jobs. Thats around 10% of the total but with protected areas it will be perhaps 30% in some areas

  • Cue Bono

    A lot of these redundancies will be voluntary, so consisting of people who are ready to retire, or who have other plans to continue on in employment.

    I was jesting of course about the turning up to actually work, but it is a fact that in the public sector your pay remains the same regardless of your output.

  • chrisjones2

    What about the taxpayer> Everyone’s a winner if some else pays

  • nigel mckinney

    Ach – sure its ok then – redundant civil servants can all get jobs in Tescos . Who needs libraries . Sure Tescos coukd diversify into libraries, museums, environmental protection etc

  • Cue Bono

    The really principiled ones could get jobs in Waterstones.

  • notimetoshine

    OK fair enough you’ve got me on their output lol.

    And yes I should imagine that many of these guys will retire but not all and you say the will go on to toehr employment but the problem is the employment may not be there. The job market is fragile at the !moment and I don’t see it improving to create let’s say 10000 jobs for those who don’t take retirement. That is not good for wages, for employment or for the economy.

  • Zeno

    There are currently around 70,000 unemployed. Two years ago 11.000 applied for jobs in a new supermarket in Portadown. There were 450 Jobs. Hundreds applied for 40 Jobs in a new Hotel opening in Belfast, so basically there are far more unemployed than there are job vacancies in the lower paid jobs sector, There are over 40 applicants for every job in retail.

  • Zeno

    There are only 27,000 Civil Servants in Northern Ireland so 20,000 obviously isn’t 10% of the total.

  • chrisjones2

    Fat chance of the private sector providing libraries, youth clubs, environmental protection, culture and heritage initiatives

    YOu could actually pay an economic price for those things but that option seems to escape you

  • chrisjones2

    ill thought out and hasty.

    yes but we are broke and SF want to give the money we have to client groups

  • chrisjones2

    Why should there not bge libarries in Tesco?

  • Neil

    Those are the legal minimums. Most redundancies get a bit more than that, if they’re looking for volunteers they’ll have to offer a lot more.

  • chrisjones2

    Unless some of those services provided by those public sector workers is passed to the private sector

    ….there is the slack if services are contracted out

  • David Crookes

    My occasional contacts with reality make me wonder if we are indeed close to financial disaster. Here’s one example. A certain civil servant is paid to go round a well-known local fish-market and check that the Latin name of a particular fish appears on the back of the pertinent price-label. If the Latin name isn’t there, in accordance with some regulation or other, the poor rule-breaking fishmonger is in trouble with the Jazz Police.
    As long as there is money to pay the wages of civil servants like the one whom I have mentioned, we’re bound to be OK…..
    Of course I’m not being serious. Even if people were begging for food in the streets, there would still be money to pay for Fish Officers to check for Latin on the backs of price-labels.
    We could bring succour to our schools by abolishing the whole parasitical fungusfest of advisers, theoreticians, inspectors, and academics who constitute nothing but a nuisance, and who have caused the quality of education in NI to decline sharply. Of course the fungusfest won’t be abolished. Teachers will lose their jobs, and schools will close, but the wasters and losers will keep their big salaries, while the academics will jet off to their fatuous international conferences at our expense.
    A senior schools inspector told an ‘educationist’ friend of mine in 2014 that if the inspectorate was abolished tomorrow, education in NI would suffer not at all.
    But the mad mad world will continue.

  • barnshee

    Add in the swamp that is the Local Authority system stuffed with overpaid “directors” of SFA and there is plenty of fat to cut

  • Zeno

    The maximum average package can only be 35k. (£700 million/20,000) Obviously some of the big boys would get a lot more leaving a lot getting a lot less. But if people are going to get early pensions, maybe that would have to come out of the costs as well. I obviously don’t know the details,

  • Neil

    I would consider a month per year of service to be generous, most people would. Like yourself I don’t know the finer details. I would say 35k would be very generous, most people will not have been in the job more than 12 years so that would equate (under my generous scheme) to a year’s wages. And we’re constantly told that everyone in the NCIS is on less than 20k a year.

    It will be voluntary (initially at least) so Simon probably has some idea of who he needs to lose to balance the books – ideally higher paid staff who haven’t been in post that long, which would mean a lower payout and a greater reduction in the wage bill. We shall see the finer detail soon enough, but I reckon barnshee’s not far off – most NICS people will be laughing their way out the door with a year’s wages in their hip pocket. What that will do to the job market will not be pretty.

  • Old Mortality

    notimetoshine
    Look at it this way. The public sector is a sort of indoor relief scheme where instead of being out in the cold digging holes they are in the warm passing paper around. A kind of super dole where you get paid a bit more but save a bit on heating costs compared to the conventional unemployed. Yes, the wee shops on the corner might lose a bit of trade but there might also be fewer consumer goods imported and fewer foreign holidays which would be to the benefit of the economy.

  • chrisjones2

    Some people like zero hours

    Many people in Belfast love Zero hours and a dole cheque

  • chrisjones2

    If you believe the TUC and the Guardian. And anyway what matters is that they are in work

  • chrisjones2

    They are too busy dealing with Child Abuse …..compared to this that is easy

  • chrisjones2

    If it has risen its a good thing – they are in work

  • chrisjones2

    Why pay more?

  • chrisjones2

    Its been made.

    You are out of £. Make cuts

  • chrisjones2

    The seasonally adjusted number of people claiming unemployment related benefits stood at 51,200 in November 2014 –
    http://www.detini.gov.uk/stats-labour-market-unemployment

    As this represents 6.3% unemployed the labour force is around 809000

    If you assume that most people change job say every 10 years and take 2 months to find new work the at any one time around 13000 of the unemployed are just in transit between jobs. That figure is actually probably on the low side and it may be closer to 20000

    The key issue is what is the figure for long term unemployed

  • Neil

    You know the answer to that Chris. Mandatory redundancy would then be the way to go, and that would not look like a vote winner. Call it cowardice. I personally am in favour of paying more than the minimum redundancy payments but I have a feeling it will be an overly generous package.

  • chrisjones2

    There are over 40 applicants for every job in retail.

    Sorry but that figure is meaningless. In retail its common for staff to send off dozens of job applications so If I send out say 20 applications then if there are 40 applicants for every job it means that there is 1 job for every 2 applicants

  • Zeno

    Two years ago 11.000 applied for jobs in a new supermarket in Portadown. There were 450 Jobs.

    Are you saying these were just all people making multiple aplications?

  • Zeno

    I thought they were targeting older people who were near retirement? Within 5 or 10 years rather than the younger lower paid, but I don’t know.

  • Zeno

    Count the number of job vacancies and the numbers unemployed. There are not 20,000 extra jobs just knocking about.

  • Cue Bono

    And a considerable percentage of the long term unemployed have absolutely no intention of ever working.

  • Cue Bono

    There doesn’t need to be 20,000 jobs. Many of these people are retiring. Some will go into self employment, some will emigrate and some will go into private sector jobs. The key thing is that they have demonstrated that they are highly employable and that gives them a head start in the jobs market.

  • Zeno

    We could cut the almost 400 who work for the office OfMDFM and are paid £16.5 million a year for apparently doing nothing.
    But I doubt that will happen.

  • Zeno

    I think anyone who is paid out of the public purse is classed as Public Sector, including Doctors.
    Teachers are taking packages regularly. I wouldn’t mind betting that there are less Teachers than there were a few years ago and that that number will fall over the next 5 years.

  • Zeno

    How many are retiring?
    How many are going Self Employed?
    How many are emigrating?
    Just because they had a job in the public doesn’t mean they have demonstrated they are highly employable. Do they not just spend their days shuffling bits of paper?

  • nigel mckinney

    The point is it doesn’t escape me – you perhaps? You believe all public services can be monetised and profit taken out?

  • Neil

    I have no inside info either, but I reckon it’ll play out along the lines of: the muppet show make an offer and depending on the fine print, they get a glut of people – more than they need to get rid of – to apply, then someone will come in and produce some snazzy looking graphs telling our leaders where the best bang for buck will fall based on the offer and the applicants potential payouts, projected savings etc. Or they could just unilaterally decide based on a lack of research and information. Wouldn’t put it past them.

  • Zeno

    I think a lot of people will be “looked after” and get great packages that are not really financially advantageous to our economy. But until it comes into operation we have no way of knowing.

  • chrisjones2

    No my point was you could pay the economic proice of the servcie.

  • chrisjones2

    The working age population of Craigavon is 70,000. Do you seriously believe that 1 in 6 of the local population applied to work in Tescos. there are only about 4000 unemployed in the entire area

  • chrisjones2

    Your figure is 20000 too high

  • Zeno

    There are over 570,000 people in Northern Ireland classed as Economically Inactive. They are not counted in the jobless figures. It is not inconceivable that thousands of them applied. But if you prefer to believe that 11,000 is just a plain old lie, then you would need to show some evidenve.

  • Zeno

    I didn’t check the latest figures. Apologies.The numbers dropped by 13,000 in 2013 from what I can see.

  • Old Mortality

    Zeno
    Is that an admission that some of our very numerous DLA claimants might just be fit to do a few hours work a week after all?

  • $136050377

    They are “in work” at their employers discretion.

  • Zeno

    The last figure I was said 180,000 were on Sickness Benefit of some sort. I was talking more about the number of people who can’t sign on because their Husband or Wife’s earnings puts the above the poverty line, or because the don’t have enough stamps to claim Jobseekers.

    Obviously there could be some on DLA swinging the lead.

  • nigel mckinney

    Ah -but the point is we need to share the economic cost of some services beyond direct users/ beneficiaries. If we have public services on the basis that the user meets the costs Such services would no longer be public services – most of what the state does or enables to be done would be abandoned.