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'2,100 jobs at risk in public sector' GRIM FORECAST AT N.WALES ECONOMIC FORUM.

Byline: DAVID JONES

MORE than 2,000 public sector jobs could be lost in north west Wales as the Government swings the axe to cut the pounds 156bn spending deficit, an economic grouping was told yesterday. North Wales Economic Forum heard staff working in public administration - rather than front line roles - would probably bear the brunt of the job losses.

Estimates of the impact the Westminster public sector cuts will have on the region were drawn up by ESYS consulting.

The discussion paper was commissioned by the forum from the Warwick-based economics and business consultancy.

ESYS director Glynn Jones said details of where the cuts will fall will not be known until the autumn.

But assuming that 80% of the savings were to come from spending cuts, and only 20% from tax increases, then north west Wales, with its heavy reliance on public sector employment, would be disproportionately affected.

Dr Jones said it was "extremely difficult" at this stage to predict the scale of job losses but if Wales was asked to account for pounds 5bn of the pounds 156bn deficit savings then the number of public sector posts in north west Wales at risk could be around 2,100.

That would have a "significant impact" on the economy of that part of Wales where 29,000 people are employed in the public sector.

The economy of north east Wales, where manufacturing is stronger, is much less dependent on public sector employment, he added.

Other experts who spoke at the forum meeting at St Asaph yesterday agreed the public sector in North Wales faced a "bleak" time because of the impending spending cuts.

Kevin Thomas, of the Wales Audit Office, urged public services to focus on better collaboration and to make better use of resources, such as the pounds 5bn annual Welsh procurement spend. He said public services would have to be delivered in a different way under the new financial climate, but some services may end up being cut altogether.

Mike Learmond of the Federation of Small Businesses said public authorities might find it difficult to scale up joint procurement policies without squeezing out local suppliers.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 19, 2010
Words:357
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