Shadow chancellor George Osborne has vowed to move all public sector job ads from newspapers to a new official website if his party comes to power after the next general election.
This plan could result in newspapers, particularly The Guardian's Wednesday Society section, losing around £790m spent by local and central government on job ads each year. The dedicated public sector website would only cost an estimated £5m.
The Guardian currently dominates this market and, according to research by Reed Personnel Services, advertises two-thirds of public sector jobs. Its Wednesday Society section carries more than 30 pages of job ads each week, which could effectively disappear if the Tories got into power. The move would also hit titles such as Third Sector, Young People Now and Regeneration & Renewal, published by Brand Republic owner, Haymarket Publishing.
Osborne said: "The government is spending hundreds of millions of pounds on taxpayers' money on newspaper ads, which could be better spent improving frontline services like schools and hospitals."
The Guardian declined to comment on Osborne's remarks, but said that the paper only represents around 4% of advertising for public and private sector recruitment in the UK.
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