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National Savings jobs to India to cost UK £25m, says union

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Plans to send 250 government jobs to India will cost the UK taxpayer £25m, according to the Public & Commercial Services (PCS) union.

Stepping up its campaign to prevent jobs from the National Savings Agency in Blackpool, Durham and Glasgow being shunted to India, the union claims that government coffers will lose out on £25m in lost tax and extra benefit payments.

Last month, Siemens Business Services announced that it had agreed, in principle, to a five-year extension to its National Savings contract running from 2009 to 2014. Siemens said it wanted to transfer a "small number of routine administrative tasks to Siemens in India".

The IT services firm insists there would be no job losses or site closures in the UK, and that all National Savings customers would continue to deal with UK-based staff. But the move has angered staff and union officials, who are concerned that, despite Siemens' assurances, the move would put jobs in jeopardy.

Said PCS union official Danny Williamson: "If these jobs are allowed to go abroad then it could mean 250 people on the dole claiming benefits. Over the lifetime of the contract that could cost the UK taxpayer up to £25 million in lost tax, national insurance and benefit handouts.

"If the government don't take a broader long term view and ensure the jobs remain in the UK then they are in danger of squandering taxpayers' money so that a private company get make an extra £50 million on top of what they are already paid.

"All this comes at a time when people who have been employed for up to three years on minimum terms and conditions on temporary contracts face the chop."

The PCS will consider industrial action if the contract extension - which needs Government approval - gets the go-ahead. ®

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