£500m is spent on Whitehall job cuts

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Almost £500m of taxpayers' money has been spent on making 8,200 civil servants redundant.

The vast majority of the officials took voluntary redundancy or early retirement and there was only a small number of compulsory redundancies. The leavers included two Treasury officials who received a total of £1.1m between them. Some departments reduced their staff numbers further by not replacing other officials who left. The results of the job cuts after a review by Sir Peter Gershon, the Government's efficiency adviser, emerged in a series of parliamentary answers to Lord Oakeshott, the Liberal Democrats' Treasury spokesman.

He said: "The Government has thrown half a billion pounds of taxpayers' cash at civil servants to pay them not to work. The benefits are vague and stretching into the future."

He said the £500m figure was an underestimate of the redundancy bill because the Home Office and Ministry of Defence were unable to provide figures.

The Department of Work and Pensions shed the most jobs, reducing its workforce by 4,812.