Public sector jobs grow at record rate

The
UK public sector added 162,000 jobs in one year, its fastest growth in a
decade, according to figures released by the Office for National statistics.

The
increase in public sector jobs in the year to June 2003 outnumbered private
sector employment gains for the third year in a row. A fifth of UK jobs are now
in the public sector.

The
Treasury said the gains were a sign that "investment in public services is
getting through to the front line".

Government
departments justified the increase by citing major job growth in professions
such as healthcare and teaching. The increase follows news of a recent rise in
national civil servants above 500,000.

Shadow
chancellor Oliver Letwin said the increase was a sign that government
bureaucracy was out of control. Public sector jobs fell consistently during
years of Conservative rule, he added.

By
Paul Yandall

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