Ever wondered why a fifth of the workforce are public sector?

Under Labour, the number of public sector employees has risen from 914,000 in 1997, to over Six Million today. Source:


I did a bit of digging and looked at what kind of a job you can get if you want easy money. How about a job where you help children from the ages of 8 to 13 become involved in local government? A vital service I should have thought. Something essential, at a time when we owe billions and are taxed to breaking point?

Here it is - in the Guardian of course! :

Do you have experience of working with groups of children aged 5 to 13? Are you committed to ensuring children having their voice heard? We are looking for a dynamic individual who will take on the challenge in supporting our participation work.
You will assist with and then also lead, on the planning and running of the Children’s Forum with the Children’s Participation Co-ordinator. The Children’s Forum is a borough-wide group open to children aged 8 to 13 who wish to be involved in Council decisions. In addition to this, there will be other participation projects you will work on, for example in schools and play centres.

Nice work if you can get it, and you can get it if you are a loser who cannot get a proper job. So this is where the Council Tax and the Government subsidies are going.

Or this one from the Department for International Development:

At DFID, helping poor people means tackling diverse challenges like addressing climate change and helping to bring peace and stability to conflict affected states...
If you are passionate about the impact learning and development can have on individual and collective performance and you want to be a part of our fight against world poverty, we may have the role you've been looking for.

Starting salary will be £41,900 (National) or
  • £45,381 (London) progressing to a maximum of £51,424

  • (National) or £55,188 (London)

 This all sounds very worthy, but, I thought we were in a terrible financial crisis, right here, in the UK. I have been told we are indebting our grandchildren and that our triple A rating is under review. So, WTF is this?

It is not the fact that there is anything particularly wrong about these jobs, it is that the Government has created, either directly or indirectly, over Five Million of them since it came to power. These are being paid for by increased borrowing and increased taxation in levels which are strangling the nation.

I say enough is enough.


JPT said...

Six million!!!!!???????
Margaret Thatcher wondered in 1979 how on earth could there possibly be 560,000 such workers!

Wrinkled Weasel said...

JPT, it is proof, as if you needed it, that Gordon is still throwing our money away, today, after all the facts and the revelations about our economy.

As for your question, just look at the two examples. Hardly essential, especially the first one, which is both directly and indirectly paid for by the tax-payer.

I suppose Brown thinks he has bought 5 million votes, just as Labour buys and sells honours.

The fact is, nobody needs this. What is so upsetting is that there is a kind of groupthink that does not challenge it - an assumption that there is such a thing as a state that must interfere with every aspect of our lives.

banned said...

Hit it on the nail WW, the evil poor living lives of idle dependency are not enough to keep Labour in power especially since the plan to increase their votes by mass immigration has failed, in part. They created this class of Government Inspectors to look after them (and us) doing not very hard work for a reasonable income in the expectation that they will vote Socialist to keep their jobs. Might not work since dippy Dave seems not much interested in reducing their numbers.

Michael said...

Problem is that there is often little alternative. I moved up to Scotland a few months ago and, casting about for some employment to help fund the studies, I noticed that were it not for the jobs offered in the state sector, there would be little meaningful and/or well-paid employment available at all.

Which is something Mr Osborne needs to bear in mind. The situation is hardly ideal, but for lack of alternatives anything is better than nothing, and when the state is rolled back it is not the south-east, with its richly diverse job markets, that tends to suffer. Jobs need to be created before the state is rolled back - people need to have alternatives to state dependancy, whether waged or welfare.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Welcome to Scotland Michael - I moved up here Seven years ago.

About a fifth of jobs in Scotland are public sector, I believe. It's the sole reason we are here, because Mrs (Dr) Weasel got a nice job with the NHS.

Of course, the kind of jobs I am on about are the none essential kind. While I agree there needs to be alternatives to state dependency, plundering from those who create wealth is not the answer.

If nothing else, it perpetuates the idea that the State is our Mother and Father and our keeper.

Try and imagine going back to basics - hunter-gatherers, and work up from there!

Michael said...


I agree with you - it is far from an ideal situation. But as things stand it's where we are, and pernicious and harmful to the social realm as it is, it nonetheless has to be preferable to genuine mass unemployment. Any roll-back must be done sensitively for precisely this reason - body-shock is not the way to go!

Ruth@VS said...

Speaking as someone who has worked in both the public and private sectors, I can say with some certainty that the massive increase in numbers employed in the public sector correlates strongly with the massive increase in regulation introduced by Labour. But culturally the problem in the public sector is they always employ more people when there is a new problem, never think of doing things differently. They create layer upon layer of managers at a high cost.

In the private sector I worked much harder but with more autonomy and much less bureaucracy. If something new came along (mostly legislation in my case) we looked for the most cost-effective way of dealing with it, and employing an extra person was the very, very last resort. The only way I could employ an extra person was to increase profits so we could afford it.

So when the cuts come, there will be lots of screaming about loss of services, how they can't do without all these people, etc. It's nonsense of course, but culturally these people have not been trained to think differently and that is why it will be so hard.

Jim Baxter said...

These particular examples sound like jobs we could do without, I'd agree. But where is the line to be drawn between wealth-creating jobs and any other kind? Teachers create wealth, indirectly, after all. what about other jobs that don't produce obvious, well, products?

Are there more of these Guardian jobs being created now because technology has taken over jobs that used to be labour-intensive from car-workers to the typing-pool? Are the big wealth creators factory robots now?

subrosa said...

Have a read of Iain MacWhirter's article in this week's Sunday Herald.

It explains a wee bit about private enterprise. A story I've heard a few times in the past few years.

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Thanks for that, Subrosa.
The link is


if anyone wants to take a peek.