Becoming a commercial pilot UK
1- No. There are schools and organisations out there like Oxford or CTC which will take you on - if you're good enough - train you up and get you your licenses without the outlay of the £70-80, 000, but the ctach is when they 'place' you with a company at the end of training [and there's no guarantee of that in the first place] you have to take that job, whether it be for Ryanair, Easyjet, BMI Baby, etc...Sorry to be pedantic but that is not true. Any training route you go down, be it modular (build your ratings up bit by bit) or intergrated (ab-initio) requires a significant financial outlay.
I will try to explain the new 'cadet' scheme in simple terms.
Easyjet and OAA are currently in the process of recruiting 30 cadets/lemmings to be taken onto the new Multi Pilots Licence scheme. This is similar to the fATPL you would usually get, but allows Easyjet to tailor the training to suit their operating procedures and aircraft type (type rating included in price hence £100, 000). Upon successful completion of the training you will be offered a contract with Parc (an agency), hours are not guaranteed, so earning potential could be effected, as are the employee rights as being a contract pilot you wont really have any. Unlike the arrangement with CTC (temporary contract), you are not free to leave easyjet before you complete your 2000 hours with them if you want to find another job. You could be shipped from pillar to post with regarding bases. To sum it up, they have you by the balls.
With regard to CTC offering training with no up front payment. I assume you mean the CTC Wings scheme.
Firstly you DO require money up front, many source this in a loan from BBVA (AFAIK the only bank still willing to provide such loans) but do not be fooled by this. You require security on a property to the tune of the full loan plus 40% equity. Repayments of this loan are over £1000 a month (after the 18 month payment holiday), and these must be met or said property will be taken by the bank
You are right that there is no guarantee for a job (with the exception of these god awful 'cadet' schemes), and the job market is saturated despite what the training providers might tell you. It currently costs £30, 000 for a type rating with Ryanair, and they are still particularly picky with their selection process at the moment, so it most certainly is not an easy way in.
Hopefully in a few years things might revert to how they were. That being those few being selected to go through the Intergrated route and into the RHS of a jet, the rest doing the training as they go and earning their hours by being flying instructors etc.
One thing is for sure, the bean counters are enjoying the fact that lemmings are currently a source of revenue, and the T&C's of these airlines are no better when you get in.