The public sector starts at No 1 Easy Street

For years Karen Moffat toiled away in the canteen of her local supermarket, before realising she could earn more, work fewer hours and be less stressed by taking a job in the public sector.

The mother of two is one of more than 900,000 workers to have signed up for a life working for the state since Labour came to power in 1997.

These days Moffat, 60, manages a shop at an NHS hospital in the Northumberland town of Morpeth, where the state employs 57% of the workforce — the highest proportion in the UK.

Life in the public sector is good to Moffat. “I’m looked after really well — it doesn’t compare,” she said. “While I was at the supermarket I felt really pressured. There were not enough staff. I had to work on my own a lot of the time.

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