Chancellor shies away from frank explanation, says FDA

22 April 2009

(For immediate release)

Chancellor shies away from frank explanation, says FDA

Responding to today's Budget announcement, Jonathan Baume, FDA General Secretary, said:

"The Chancellor has delivered a somewhat more realistic assessment of the dire state of the UK economy than the PBR last autumn, but it still appears to share some of the latter's rosy tints given, for example, today's IMF forecast. Importantly however, he has shied away from explaining the full impact of the economic crisis on public services.

"Given the truly awful state of the public finances, even if the UK begins to pull out of recession later this year, its public services will remain in recession for perhaps a decade or more.

"It seems that millions of public sector employees will now have to wait until after the General Election to receive, from whoever forms the next Government, an honest and open assessment of the implications for their jobs and the services they deliver to the public. The Chancellor's proposed reduction in expenditure growth to 0.7% means that very difficult decisions will need to be taken even if his inflation and growth forecasts are delivered. And if these forecasts prove to be unrealistic then the consequences will be profound.

"There can be little doubt however that a smaller public sector workforce will be asked to deliver services in potentially radically different ways from those we have experienced over recent years, and the government of the day must ensure a match between its priorities and the resources available."

Notes for editors

1. The FDA is the trade union and professional body representing 18,000 of the UK's senior civil and public servants. Our members include policy advisors, senior managers, tax inspectors, economists, statisticians, accountants, special advisers, government lawyers, diplomats, crown prosecutors and NHS managers.

2. Members in HMRC are represented by the Association of Revenue and Customs (ARC), a section of the FDA.

3. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union".

4. For further information contact:

Jonathan Baume, General Secretary, tel: 020 7401 5555 or 07976 951191.

Oliver Rowe, Communications Officer, tel: 020 7401 5588 or 07590 838696.