Whitehall sets breakneck pace for staff cuts

Over 4,000 jobs have been cut in Whitehall in last year
Over 4,000 jobs have been cut in Whitehall in last year

By Alex Stevenson

Government departments have shed eight per cent of their staff since the third quarter of 2010, figures show - but some ministries are moving faster than others.

Analysis of official statistics by the Institute for Government (IfG) released yesterday showed the eight per cent reduction was far faster than the overall fall in employment across the public sector of 3.25%.

Over 4,000 full-time employment jobs have been cut since the spending review, with the business, local government and Home Office departments moving especially quickly.


IfG senior researcher Justine Stephen said comparisons with past cuts made clear the reductions currently underway were "unprecedented".

"Our analysis shows that there is now a serious and momentous drive to reduce the number of civil servants in Whitehall," she said.

"In fact with the cuts running at more than twice the rate in the public sector overall, it's clear that there's a concerted effort to lead this process from the centre.

"What is crucial is that departments match these head-count reductions with equally enthusiastic programmes to modernise the way they do business, ensuring that a high quality of public service can be maintained."

Three departments saw headcount rise: the Cabinet Office, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for International Development.

But the latter was explained because its funding was ringfenced from spending cuts, while the deputy prime minister's extra responsibilities and the Olympics explained the others. 

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