Public and Commercial Services Union
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PCS Responds To Public Accounts Second Efficiency Report

Responding to today's publication of the Committee of Public Accounts report, The Efficiency Programme: A Second Review of Progress, the union echoed the report's findings that efficiency projects are having an adverse impact on service quality.

The union also supported the report's view that efficiency isn't being looked at in the round. Highlighting a cut of 600 local compliance staff in Revenue and Customs in order to save £74 million which is in turn leading to losses of £204 million in tax yield, the union argued that the efficiency programme continued to be focused on arbitrary job cuts rather than improving service delivery.

The union also questioned the ability of the government to make a further £30 billion worth of so called efficiency savings as part of spending plans for the next three years when the present drive was already impacting on the quality of service. The union went on to warn of a further deterioration in services and the loss of more civil and public service jobs if the government ploughed on with the next round of efficiency savings in the same way.

The Committee of Public Accounts report comes as PCS members are voting on further national strike action across the civil service as part of the union's campaign against job cuts, below inflation pay and privatisation. The campaign has already seen two strongly supported national one day strikes this year. The ballot result is expected to be announced on 23 October.

Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: "The report rightly recognises what our members have been experiencing all along, that the quality of services is suffering due to the efficiency programme. What the government must realise is that quality and excellence need to be at the heart of improving efficiency, not crude short sighted job cuts such as in Revenue and Customs that end up costing the taxpayer more.  With the government looking to save a further £30 billion over the next three years through so called efficiency savings, it is difficult to see how services will not continue to suffer if they continue on the same path. The government should pay heed to the report's recommendation to give staff more say in efficiency and properly negotiate with unions over the key issues of jobs, pay and privatisation."

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