Brussels, 02 Sep 2004
Following an announcement from the UK government that it cut 104,000 civil service posts, the professional workers' union (Prospect) has warned of a potential shortage of experts dealing with key scientific issues.
The union argues that the government's eagerness to cut costs is putting quality at risk, and suggests that this policy puts the UK at risk of new problems like BSE.
'Professionals working for government are down in number by more than a third over the last ten years,' said the union's general secretary, Paul Noon. 'Physicists, chemists, engineers, electronic experts, veterinary staff, environmentalists and other important specialists have all suffered. This has reduced government's ability to respond to the demands of an increasingly knowledge-based society.'
Pointing to the privatisation of traffic control, defence and horticulture research and engineering support to the Navy, as well as forthcoming plans to sell off the Forensic Science Service, Prospect is calling for a halt to further privatisations or public-private partnerships.