Public sector – The good news or the bad news?

AnnieM, March 10, 2010

For every depressing bit of news relating to the public sector (and anywhere of course, but the public sector is what we’re interested in here) there is always - by the Law of Mindless Optimism – an encouraging news story close by. Yes, this would also work the other way around, but why would you actively look for bad news? Being politically aware doesn’t have to be doom and gloom. Nor does it mean ignoring the bad stuff and living in a finger-in-ear vacuum of positivity. It’s about seeing the bigger picture, rather than focusing in on just the bad bits and feeling apathetic as a result.

Take this week for instance. The civil servants strike is big in the news at the moment. A 48-hour mass walk out is currently underway over proposed cuts in redundancy pay, which would see civil service workers lose ‘tens of thousands’ in redundancy money, according to The Guardian.

Whilst Government ministers insist that at least 85% of civil servants have not taken part in the strike, the Public and Commercial Services Union, PCS put the figure at more than 200,000 who are currently striking. Services within the Courts have been reduced, job centres up and down the country are struggling with minimal staff, and The Guardian says that 2,000 driving tests have been postponed. Even museums are affected, as are Revenue and Customs, some aspects of the Metropolitan Police and even House of Commons security.

Yet, at the same time, Housing Minister, John Healey has released £83 million in funding to build thousands of affordable homes, creating 1,700 jobs. Crucially, these jobs will be available in the form of apprenticeships and will provide opportunities to local workers. say the funding will mean that 99 young people will be given the chance to work in the building trade.

As reported on, John Healey said: “I'm allocating £83 million to get 87 stalled developments across the country up and running again, creating 1,700 jobs and giving more than 2,200 first-time buyers the chance to take an affordable step onto the property ladder. In this recession, the Government has not stepped back and left the homes and jobs we need to the market. We're using public funding to keep Britain building through the downturn.”

And so there you have it: the bad news and then the good news. The Law of Mindless Optimism.

To further illustrate this, all future blogs will be divided into The Bad News and The Good News sections, where possible. So, if you’re feeling particularly brave one day, you can keep yourself up-to-date with the bad news hitting the public sector, or, if you need a lift and want some positivity, you can just focus on the good news. Alternatively, you read the whole lot.

In the meantime, keep job hunting. Our society needs you.