Sir, If carried through, speculation you report on your March 9 front page (“ Pensions staff face 30,000 job cuts”) would devastate the delivery of essential social security support.

Already under successive governments, the Department for Work and Pensions cuts coupled with an increased use of the private sector have seriously damaged services. The wholly privatised work programme continues to fail those it was set up to help — the long-term unemployed and most in need.

Whenever outsourced programmes have been compared on a like for like basis with those run by DWP staff, the public sector outperforms private companies. The profit motive that works for businesses is entirely incompatible with the provision of support for unemployed, sick and disabled people.

It was timely that your report came on the same day we announced that almost four in five of those working on universal credit said they thought staffing levels were less than adequate, and two-thirds said they were frequently asked to work overtime.

As universal credit is rolled out — if it ever fully is — the DWP will quite obviously need more staff, not fewer. And instead of being set up to be in conflict with claimants, staff will need to be properly resourced to provide the expert help and support unemployed people expect and deserve.

Mark Serwotka

General Secretary,

Public and Commercial Services Union

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