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Last Updated: Friday, 30 September 2005, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
Public sector growth accelerating
The old fashioned image of the civil service
Analysts and the government agree that the public sector needs reform
The public sector is creating new jobs at a faster rate than private business, according to the latest official data.

At the same time, UK productivity is now at its lowest level for 15 years, further figures from the Office for National Statistics showed.

Analysts have long argued that the government sector trails behind the wider economy in terms of productivity.

Overall productivity grew by 0.5% in the year to July, the lowest since 1990 and down from 2.5% a year earlier.

Health sector

During the 12 months the public sector added 95,000 new positions, an increase of 1.7% to 5.8 million jobs.

The private sector created an extra 210,000 jobs, a 1% increase.

Most new positions in the public sector were in health and social services, up by 60,000.

This was followed by 50,000 extra central government jobs and 40,000 in local government.

Political row

The government agrees that the public sector needs to become more efficient.

Last year Chancellor Gordon Brown unveiled a wave of planned cut-backs to the state bureaucracy, arguing that public sector efficiencies could unlock 20bn per year in economic value, and calling for 80,000 job cuts by 2008.

Since 1 April 2004, the government says it has cut 12,000 civil service jobs, in line with its targets.

The Conservatives also think the public sector is inefficient, saying that Labour has not done enough to boost productivity.

George Osborne, the Shadow Chancellor, said:

"Gordon Brown was promising in the run-up to the election to spend taxpayer's money more efficiently, we now learn that at the same time he was busy expanding the government's bureaucracy."

But a government spokesman said that figures showed "the government is making progress towards its aim of releasing more resources to front line public services - building on the unprecedented numbers of staff delivering better public services in schools and hospitals - by delivering a more efficient civil service."

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