Osborne takes an axe to the public sector

710,000 public sector jobs will be cut by 2017, up from previous estimate of 400,000.

Despite lower growth and higher unemployment, George Osborne is still on track to eliminate the structural deficit in five years' time. Here's one reason why. The Office for Budget Responsibility now expects 710,000 public sector jobs to be lost by 2017, a dramatic increase on its previous forecast of 400,000 (see box 3.6 on p. 95 of the OBR document).

The OBR notes that this is primarily because of "the additional spending cuts pencilled in for 2015-16 and 2016-17". Just a day before the strike, the government has dramatically raised the stakes in its confrontation with the public sector.

Unemployment is now expected to peak at 2.8 million (8.7 per cent) in the final quarter of 2012, before falling back to 6.2 per cent by 2016.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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New Digital Editor: Serena Kutchinsky

The New Statesman appoints Serena Kutchinsky as Digital Editor.

Serena Kutchinsky is to join the New Statesman as digital editor in September. She will lead the expansion of the New Statesman across a variety of digital platforms.

Serena has over a decade of experience working in digital media and is currently the digital editor of Newsweek Europe. Since she joined the title, traffic to the website has increased by almost 250 per cent. Previously, Serena was the digital editor of Prospect magazine and also the assistant digital editor of the Sunday Times - part of the team which launched the Sunday Times website and tablet editions.

Jason Cowley, New Statesman editor, said: “Serena joins us at a great time for the New Statesman, and, building on the excellent work of recent years, she has just the skills and experience we need to help lead the next stage of our expansion as a print-digital hybrid.”

Serena Kutchinsky said: “I am delighted to be joining the New Statesman team and to have the opportunity to drive forward its digital strategy. The website is already established as the home of free-thinking journalism online in the UK and I look forward to leading our expansion and growing the global readership of this historic title.

In June, the New Statesman website recorded record traffic figures when more than four million unique users read more than 27 million pages. The circulation of the weekly magazine is growing steadily and now stands at 33,400, the highest it has been since the early 1980s.