‘LICENCE TO PRINT MONEY’ – £1.8bn for consultants as thousands sacked

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Determined PCS strikers outside the British Museum during the one-day national strike on May Day
Determined PCS strikers outside the British Museum during the one-day national strike on May Day

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) this morning accused the government of giving management consultants a licence to print money at the taxpayer’s expense.

The civil servants’ union was responding to today’s report by MPs on the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee into the use of consultants in central government.

The PCS branded the £1.8 billion spent last year by central government on consultants as ‘obscenely wasteful’ and supported the Public Accounts Committee report’s view that the public weren’t receiving full value for money.

As the government continue to cut over 100,000 civil and public service jobs, the union warned of a false economy where consultants were increasingly being employed to plug gaps in the workforce and doing the same work as civil servants, often at up to ten times the cost.

The PCS said it was also ‘shocked to learn’ that consultants are being paid ‘simply on the basis of the amount of time worked and not on what work has been achieved’.

Commenting, Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: ‘These are obscene sums of money being given to management consultants with little thought of value for money.

‘Rather than investing in its own workforce, the government have effectively given management consultants a licence to print money at the taxpayer’s expense.

‘You have the ludicrous situation of departments such as Revenue and Customs seeking to save £105 million in the last year by cutting staff, but spending £106 million on management consultants who often do the same work as civil servants.

‘The government need to recognise the skills and knowledge it has in house and start cutting management consultants, not hardworking experienced civil servants.’

The PCS represents civil and public servants in central government.

It has more than 325,000 members in over 200 departments and agencies.

It also represents workers in parts of government transferred to the private sector.

The union has held two successful one-day strikes so far this year, involving over 270,000 civil servants each time, over chancellor Brown’s pay-cutting two-per cent limit, privatisation and job cuts.

PCS is the UK’s sixth largest union and is affiliated to the TUC.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka has called on other public sector unions to coordinate strike action against Brown’s pay-cutting, privatisation and sackings drive.