Letter: Two ways to count as jobless

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ANN WIDDECOMBE'S assertion that John Prescott's criticism of ministers amounts to a slandering of civil servants reveals the weakness of the Government's position.

Ms Widdecombe has refused to do anything for the hundreds of civil servants forced into privatised skill centres, who found themselves in a bankrupt organisation without a job or the redundancy package for which they had paid.

Similarly, it is Ms Widdecombe and her ministerial colleagues who reneged on the Civil Service pay agreement in 1993, and froze Civil Service pay for three years. And last, but not least, Ms Widdecombe and Co have consistently shown their bias towards the private sector with privatisation, market testing and contracting out.

I suspect the quarter of a million civil servants who took strike action against their treatment might even prefer to be slandered by Mr Prescott than see their jobs, conditions and services slashed by Ms Widdecombe.

John Sheldon

General Secretary, NUCPS

London SE1