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Boris Johnson reaffirms commitment to boost key public sector jobs

LaToya Harding
·2-min read
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 30: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson talks at a virtual press conference announcing reviewed Coronavirus tier restrictions, at 10 Downing Street on December 30, 2020 in London, England. The UK government announces that more areas of England will move into the strictest tier for Coronavirus restrictions from midnight tonight. Areas moving to Tier 3 include  Liverpool, the South West and North Yorkshire. Over half the country will be in Tier 4. (Photo by Heathcliff O'Malley - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
The PM has vowed to continue to recruit people into frontline public sector roles as a priority in 2021. Photo: Heathcliff O'Malley - WPA Pool/Getty Images

UK prime minister Boris Johnson has reaffirmed his commitment to increasing the number of nurses, teachers, police officers and other public sector workers as the government seeks to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic

In a year which saw the number of doctors and nurses grow by more than 6,000 and 13,000 respectively, as well as police officers rising by 6,000 workers, and teachers by 41,000, Johnson has vowed to continue to recruit people into frontline public sector roles as a priority in 2021.

“We have the very best public servants and I feel an enormous sense of admiration when I think about the care, fortitude and determination with which our doctors, nurses, teachers, police officers and prison workers have faced up to the challenges of the pandemic,” he said.

Johnson added: “There is light at the end of the COVID tunnel — the vaccine provides increasing hope of returning to normality by Easter and I am determined that we build back better from the pandemic and take advantage of the opportunities that are ahead.

“My commitment to recruit more teachers, nurses, police officers and other frontline workers is unwavering.”

Campaigns to hire more NHS staff, teachers, prison officers will be ramped up throughout the coming year, with ministers ready to redouble efforts to fill frontline roles to further support public services.

READ MORE: A third of UK's key workers earn £10 or less per hour

In 2020, more than one million people are thought to have lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Employment fell at its fastest pace in a decade from close to record highs a year ago.

Redundancies also reached an all-time high of 370,000, as employers axed jobs in the run-up to the planned withdrawal of furlough support at the end of October.

Figures from the Department of Health and Social Care revealed that the number of nurses in the NHS in England increased by 13,313 last year to a record 299,184. The government is committed to delivering 50,000 more nurses by the end of this Parliament.

The number of doctors also rose, with an additional 6,030 to a record 122,446, latest figures up until September show.

The number of nursing and midwifery students accepting places at university this year increased by a record 26% compared to last year, and professionally qualified clinical staff including paramedics are at record levels, as are scientific, therapeutic, and technical staff.

Figures also showed that 41,000 new teacher trainees were recruited during 2020.

Watch: Why job losses have risen despite the economy reopening