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FG job cuts plan to cost €1bn

Fine Gael plan to spend a staggering €1bn cutting 30,000 workers from the public sector payroll.

The party said it wants to protect vital front-line services provided by doctors, nurses, teachers, gardai and local authorities but that it will not enforce lay-offs.

Fine Gael said back office savings would allow it to hire about 2,500 new teachers, compared to last year's staffing levels, to maintain pupil-teacher ratios.

Richard Bruton, enterprise spokesman, said it was about rewarding effort and innovation while penalising waste and inefficiency.

"The reality is quite stark: if we do not make savings in our public sector, then all staff will end up with their pay being hit or their taxes being hiked," Mr Bruton said.

"We simply cannot go on with the system the way it is.

"We believe we can save over €5bn, or €1 in €10 spent by public bodies, by confronting waste, duplication and inefficiency."

However, the party admitted the back office redundancy plan would leave a new government footing a massive lay-off bill.

Party leader Enda Kenny said he did not want to be tied to a figure but said it was in the region of €1bn, based on the cost of last year's redundancy programme in the Health Service Executive (HSE).

Fianna Fail claimed the price tag had exposed Fine Gael's "election gimmicks".

The proposal calls for 145 quangos, State bodies and companies to be abolished, the HSE to be dismantled and a third of all civil service staff to be cut.

Mr Bruton said services would also be streamlined by creating three divisions to handle the public's needs but reduce bureaucracy in the Single Public Entitlement Service, Business Inspectorate and Licence Authority.

Fine Gael said the reforms would cut payroll numbers by 10pc, or 30,000, over four years.

Mr Bruton said it will be achieved through normal retirements and voluntary redundancies in back office services.

He said in practice an additional 4,500 admin jobs in the public service, State agencies and quangos will go over the next four years.

"Fine Gael has already committed to not increasing income tax rates, bands or allowances for all workers," Mr Bruton said.

"In order for us to deliver on this commitment we must make savings across the system. If those savings are to be made we are absolutely committed to protecting the frontline service providers."

PA Media