Freedom of Information request shows Treasury assumed 2.5 million workers on strike on 30th November (above)

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A Freedom of Information request has revealed the government assumed 2.5 million public sector workers took strike action in defence of their pensions on 30th November, in what David Cameron dismissed as “a damp squib”.

Treasury figures show ministers believed one knock-on effect was the number of hours worked in the private sector would fall by 3.5% because one parent had to take on extra child caring responsibilities as a result of two-thirds of schools being closed across the country.

The overall loss to the economy of the strike was pegged at 0.13% of GDP.

This figure was the basis of the statement by Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander that “the realistic worst-case estimate” of the cost of the strike was £500bn

The Treasury calculations are based on a number of assumptions which have been widely challenged elsewhere – the loss of output figure assumes that productivity is 30% lower per person in the public sector, for example.

It is not clear whether the figures also assume that parents not on strike paid any attention to David Cameron’s request to bring their children into work on 30th November.


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