The number of public sector jobs will hit a record low by 2017 after 880,000 jobs are lost, according to an analysis of the Office for Budget Responsibility’s figures by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD).

In a follow-up to the Chancellor’s Budget statement, the CIPD’s chief economic adviser John Philpott said: “The OBR projections indicate that the number of people employed in central and local government will have fallen by around 700,000 during the course of the current parliament (2010-2015) and by 880,000 by the time the Chancellor hopes to have closed the structural fiscal deficit in 2017. This will easily wipe out the net rise in public sector employment under the Labour government between 1999 and 2009 and take the public sector workforce to a record low.”

He went on: “Overall, more than 1 in 7 public sector jobs will be lost as a result of the squeeze on public spending, with the public sector eventually accounting for only one in six jobs in the UK economy, down from a peak of one in five prior to the recession. While the OBR expects growth in private sector jobs to more than make up for the public sector jobs cull, public sector downsizing on such a scale nonetheless represents a tectonic shift in the underlying structure of the labour market with broader implications for what people can expect to experience in terms of pay, conditions of work, management practice and workplace cultures.”

Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, warned: “Getting rid of one in seven public sector jobs will have a devastating impact on the public services we all rely on and deal a huge blow to local economies across the UK. A public sector jobs cull on this scale will depress local economies and cause even further job losses in the private sector. The government must stop this cruel and self-defeating attack on public sector workers before it’s too late.”