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How much has the public sector grown under Labour?

Bowler_hatFrancis Maude, Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office and Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has received yet another interesting written answer:

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster what estimate the Office for National Statistics has made of the number of new additional jobs created since 1997 in the (a) public sector and (b) private sector. [241590]

Kevin Brennan: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated December 2008:

    As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning the number of new additional jobs created since 1997 in the (a) public sector and (b) private sector. (241590)

    The Office for National Statistics collects employment statistics for the public sector as part of the Quarterly Public Sector Survey and for the private sector as part of the Labour Force Survey. However, statistics related to job creation are not collected.

    However we can provide the growth in employment within both sectors. The data are  attached at Annex A.

    Annex A

Public and private sector employment headcount( 1)

Public sector( 2)

Private sector( 3)

1997 Q2



2008 Q2



Growth (headcount)



Growth (percentage)



(1 )Headcount figures are in thousands. (2) Source: Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey. (3) Source: Labour Force Survey.

I am extremely surprised that the growth in public sector jobs isn't higher - I had understood that such jobs have mushroomed under Labour. Is there more to this than meets the eye?

Of course nearly 600,000 extra jobs in the public sector is not insignificant. Labour will claim them as a success - but are they merely creating client voters by drumming up jobs that the taxpayer can ill afford?

Tom Greeves


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