David Cameron and the Conservative Party are still fudging their economic policies and being deliberately misleading over their so-called public sector efficiency savings. Peter Gershon, who is advising the Tories on their policies, has told the Financial Times that 40,000 jobs would be cut over the next year by a public sector recruitment freeze. (This is the same Peter Gershon whose firm will benefit from NHS cutbacks.) This was reiterated by Cameron in the BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme this morning.
But a recruitment freeze is NOT an efficiency saving. Quite the opposite: it makes services less efficient. Job vacancies occur all the time – staff move on or retire – and most of them are doing work on which others depend. Some will be front-line and some will be providing support services that are vital for front-line workers. When a post is frozen, either the work of that post is not done or others have to cover that role to the detriment of their own work. You end up with a Swiss cheese effect and services are delivered less efficiently or there are random gaps in the service.
So just imagine what it would mean to a local community where the local health visitor has retired and the neighbourhood police officer has been promoted, the dustbins cannot be emptied because the person who maintains the refuse collection vehicles has gone on long-term sick and cannot be replaced ……
Welcome to a Tory Britain.