Ipswich to be one of UK’s worst hit areas in public sector jobs axe

IPSWICH: Ipswich will be one of the worst places in the south of the UK to be hit by public sector job losses, research reveals today.

New research shows that there are 31 per cent of workers employed in the public sector in Ipswich, which means it is among the top five towns or cities with the highest proportion of public sector workers in the country and therefore likely to feel the deepest cuts.

With such severe job losses in store for council and NHS employees in the county, The Star, which revealed the cuts on Monday ahead of official briefings, is calling for services for the most vulnerable to be secured and the jobs of frontline staff, safeguarded. Suffolk County Council announced it would be slashing as much as �180m from its budget over a four-year period, which will have a dramatic effect on the size of its workforce.

Jeremy Pembroke, SCC’s leader, labelled it an “unprecedented challenge”.

The coalition government’s complete overhaul of the NHS, as revealed in Monday’s White Paper and predicted in the Star’s report on Monday, called for primary care trusts and Strategic Health Authorities to be scrapped, which would spell hundreds more jobs being lost in the region.

Furthermore the proposed merger between Suffolk Mental Health Partnership Trust and Norfolk and Waveney Mental Health Foundation Trust, which would save millions of pounds, would also lead to dozens of jobs being cut.

Accountants UHY Hacker Young conducted research into the top 50 towns and cities, and the results showed that seven out of the top ten places with the highest proportion of public sector workers are in the north or Scotland. However it appears Ipswich bucks the trend.

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Clive Gawthorpe, a partner in the accountancy firm, said: “It is crucial that both central government and local governments work hard to soften the impact on hard hit areas by implementing policies that encourage private sector development and help fill the possible employment vacuum.”

The government is planning to make �83bn of cuts by 2015 to tackle the country’s �155m budget deficit. Up to 600,000 public sector jobs could be lost over the next six years across the UK.

n The Star has issued vital questions about the cuts to NHS Suffolk, Ipswich Hospital and Suffolk County Council to find out what you really need to know. Answers are expected later this week.

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