Rush to 'look good' Over Public Spending Cuts Threatens Local IT Jobs in South Wales

2009 Hydref 6 1:44 PM

The UK Government was accused today of putting local IT jobs in South Wales under threat just because there is a rush to 'look tough' over public spending cuts. The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black said that a rush to cut spending in UK government departments such as HM Revenue and Customs and the DVLA both of whom are major employers in the area, would result in major job losses in IT support by a Fujitsu, a major contractor of IT services to the government. Mr. Black was speaking after being contacted by constituents fearful of keeping their jobs: "Whilst we actually have a skill shortage in this country for IT workers and professionals, we have the crazy situation where many people locally will lose their jobs because the Labour UK Government has got itself into a 'bidding' war to look tough on public spending cuts." "The loss of essential IT staff with Fujitsu who supply services to many government departments means there'll be a knock-on effect of the service they can provide. The tax office isn't an 'extra' that can be cut back, just like the DVLA - they're essential public departments that provide a day-in-day-out service to citizens." Fujitsu UK, one of the largest IT suppliers to the UK Government, is facing a 7 per cent drop in profits this year and has announced it is cutting its workforce by ten per cent. South West Wales will be one of the hardest hit areas of the UK redundancy programme as many UK Government departments are located there. Mr. Black added that during the current recession, the government IT services contracts were the only profitable sector in the UK for companies like Fujitsu, "so, you can see, any cut back in front line government departments has a direct effect of Fujitsu and leads to job losses locally." He added: "The Welsh Assembly Government has done a great deal to provide an attractive environment to increase the number of skilled IT jobs in Wales. The news of potential job losses just before Christmas flies in the face of the aims of the Plaid-Labour Government who have remained silent over this news." Mr. Black said that his office had been in discussion with the PCS Union and had written to the Heads of UK Government departments and Ministers in London to lobby the case for saving IT jobs.

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