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More cuts in Civil Service jobs urged

(First Edition)

THE CIVIL Service has not been slimmed down, despite the efforts of Conservative governments, a report by the European Policy Forum says, writes Colin Brown.

The report recommends cuts of 60,000 Civil Service staff, a cut of 10.9 per cent over four years. It says this could be achieved by changes, including cutting the tasks of the key Whitehall departments to providing policy advice to ministers and purchasing all other services from the private sector.

Its findings will be used by Thatcherites to resist plans by the Chancellor to tackle the public sector deficit by raising taxes in the Budget.

The total number of civil servants fell by 43,602 or 7.3 per cent to 554,212 between 1987 and 1993, but the report alleged that a significant part of this reduction could be attributed to reclassifying civil servants, taking them out of the figures. Five leading banks had achieved staffing cuts ranging from 10 per cent to 25 per cent during the same period.

Civil Service Numbers by Jonathan Smith and David Gould, European Policy Forum, 20 Queen Anne's Gate, London SW1H 9AA. pounds 5.