Britain cutting half million jobs
LONDON — The British government yesterday announced historic spending cuts, aimed at reducing the country’s deficit, that will cost the public sector half a million jobs.
The measures announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will span four years and include an average cut of 19 per cent in central government departments’ budgets, an US$11 billion reduction in welfare spending, and an increase in the pension-eligibility age to 66.
The government acknowledged that 490 000 public-sector jobs would be lost over the four years as result of the cuts.
Only the budgets for schools, the National Health Service and overseas aid were spared. Education spending is actually set to increase slightly by nearly US$5 billion, despite the government scrapping a multi-billion-dollar school-buildings programme.
The Defence Ministry must find savings of about eight per cent, compared with the 19 per cent average, but is facing a loss of 42 000 jobs over the next five years.
Even the Queen will not be exempt from cuts.
The Civil List — spending on the royal family — will be frozen next year and then drop by 14 per cent in 2012-13.
However, Osborne said, a temporary grant of about $1.6 million would be put aside to pay for the Queen’s diamond jubilee in 2012. (BBC)