Gordon Brown took the axe to tens of thousands of administrative jobs today as he announced his Budget.
Workers in the Government's biggest department were left reeling after the Chancellor announced that 30,000 jobs are to be axed.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will lose 40,000 posts, but 10,000 staff will be redeployed over the next few years.
Staff numbers will fall from 130,000 now to 100,000 by 2008 under the huge cutback, while the department's budget will be reduced by 5 per cent.
A further 10,500 jobs will be lost through the planned merger of the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise.
A further 1,460 jobs are to be cut from the Department for Education and Skillsby 2008 under a move to reduce the head office headcount by 31per cent.
Gordon Brown also announced that 20,000 civil service jobs will be relocated out of London and the South East following recommendations in an official report earlier this week.
Union leaders called for immediate meetings with ministers to discuss the job losses and expressed shock at the scale of the cuts.
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said the job losses at the DWP had come "completely out of the blue".
He went on: "It will create uncertainty among hard–working staff in all the departments affected by cuts. It is a case of a day of the long knives for the civil service.
"If the Government is serious about tackling tax evasion and the growing problem of smuggling and about delivering full employment, cutting thousands of jobs is hardly going to help."Reuse content