Chancellor’s proposed future cuts will worsen social work recruitment problems

Unions attack plan to continue restricting pay of social workers and other public sector staff

george osborne
George Osborne and Danny Alexander on their way to deliver the Autumn statement Photo: REX

In his Autumn statement, George Osborne has confirmed he will continue to restrain public sector pay, to the dismay of social work unions.

The chancellor said he aimed to make a further £12 billion worth of savings by the next parliament, having saved the same sum since 2010 by controlling the pay of social workers and other public sector employees.

Independent watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility has projected the move will lead to the loss of 1.1m public sector jobs.

Lien Watts, assistant general secretary of the Social Workers Union (SWU) said this announcement would worsen the already critical social work recruitment situation.

“The issue of recruitment and retention in local authorities is well known, with some councils being forced to compete for staff. This will no doubt sap morale even further as it sends a negative message about how social workers are valued.

“No social worker goes into the profession for the money, but people still need to live. Social work is an incredibly tough job and this latest squeeze on spending will be extremely disappointing for local authority staff,” she said.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said the hardest hit by the continuing cuts were communities and the most vulnerable.

“The truth is four years of austerity has caused untold damage to the economy, to the public services families rely on and to the daily lives of millions of people.”

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One Response to Chancellor’s proposed future cuts will worsen social work recruitment problems

  1. Jim Greer December 5, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    The suggestion that local authorities are having recruitment problems does not seem to fit with the experiences reported elsewhere by new graduates that employers will only consider them if they have had statutory placements with the client group they are going to work with. I agree that low pay is a problem for the sector. However, I can’t understand why it’s being cited as the cause of poor recruitment if perfectly suitable graduates are being denied job interviews. Anyone who has come completed a generic social work degree has the skills and qualities to do the job. With support, guidance and supervision they can learn the policies and procedures for any job within social work.