The Scottish National Party have announced to lay-off 17,000 workers employed in public sector. They decision has come amid post-Brexit reset.

Unions may conduct nationwide strikes

The Scottish government are planning to reduce the size of public sector workforce and bring it to pre-pandemic levels. Therefore, the main targets are the health and education frontline workers. Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has estimated this reform will cause around 17,000 job cuts over the next four to five years. This is according to a report from The Herald. However, the government records show that the public sector workforce rose to 534,400 in December 2021 as compared to 505,200 in December 2019. There was an addition of 30,000 workers during this period. Hence, the number of jobs cuts may go up to 40,000. This will cause a backlash as the trade unions have announced nationwide strikes against this move.

Nicola Sturgeon blamed Brexit

Job cuts will be part of a “reset” that comes “after years of growth in the public sector, due to Brexit and the pandemic”. A spokesman for the Scottish Government said in his statement.  Nicola Sturgeon blamed Brexit and the UK Conservative government for Scotland’s financial struggle. “As a result of United Kingdom Government decisions, our budget this year has been cut by more than 5 percent in real terms, and growth in our budget over the next four years will be constrained to 2 percent, while inflation is close to 10 percent. Of course, thanks to the folly of Brexit, inflation is higher in the UK than it is in any other G7 country.” Ms. Nicola Sturgeon said in her statement while speaking at First Minister’s Questions.

The public sector reform could mean axing as many as one in eight public sector staff. Moreover, this move will have strong implications on service delivery and quality, particularly in the health and education sectors. Economist David Phillips, associate director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies expressed his views on the issue.

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