UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

UNISONActive Analysis: PWC report - The hawks are gathering‏

It comes as no surprise to learn that PricewaterhouseCoopers have repeated today the fears that many of us have been expressing for the last two years, which is that private sector job growth will not replace the job losses in the public sector. As well as the damaging commitment to the cuts, falling on an 80/20 divide between spending and taxes, the slash and burn approach to capital investment highlighted in the PWC report shows the loss of a further 100,000 construction jobs. This vindicates the calls from the left to continue rather than cut capital investment programmes such as building school for the future. http://www.ukmediacentre.pwc.com/News-Releases/Private-sector-jobs-could-be-significantly-affected-by-public-sector-spending-cuts-but-will-not-cause-double-dip-recession-says-PwC-research-f35.aspx

It makes for an interesting read. Having rightly criticized the expensive ruse of keeping borrowing off balance sheet through PFI initiatives the government cannot now back pedal and continue to invest in capital projects through the private sector (more so the fact that they do not have the capital to invest ) nevertheless PWC say that we should still look to see how we can leverage ‘private sector investment to fill the infrastructure funding gap’ to ‘maximize the chances that the private sector will act to bridge some of the consequent investment gaps’.

It seems to me this is a call by PWC to invent yet another financial vehicle to avoid what we really know which the best way for the state to bring in capital investment is to do it with its own rather than ‘private’ money. With cuts to revenue budgets however there will be nothing left to pay back borrowing whatever route is taken.

But the real nub of the report is the call that there is a need to manage ‘the transition through innovative approaches to workforce reform’. Whilst this is dressed up as a call to re-skill and redeploy public sector workers it is a much more sinister outcome that we can expect. More public sector jobs being providing through third or private sector to achieve the economic ‘re-balancing’. Whist social enterprise companies and co-ops can expect the crumbs from the public sector table the feast that awaits the private sector will be the rush to outsource jobs on the basis that they will deliver savings.

The government will fight shy of a return to CCT – even Tories acknowledge it was manifest failure but warm words about the e big society will potential see jobs outsourced to the private sector by the back door – place them into an ill-equip third sector, watch the services fail and then the rescue will come in the form of the private sector fat cats.

That is why it is essential for the public sector to retain it s own core capacity to delivery as a very minimum. It is also a prime reason why the left should not be complacent when the Milibandesque labourites decide it’s ok to have public services run as mutuals or coops. It is a hybrid model to ease in the private sector. PWC see that coming and so should we.

Anna Rose