Department responsible for cuts makes fewest... cuts

In Whitehall around 4,200 full-time posts, 8.7 per cent of the workforce, have been lost since last year's CSR

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The department responsible for making government more efficient has made some of the smallest cuts to the number of civil servants it employs, figures reveal today.

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The Cabinet Office – whose job it is to find cost savings across Whitehall – has reduced its headcount by less than five per cent since Chancellor George Osborne announced plans to significantly reduce the public-sector workforce last autumn, according to research based on official statistics by the Institute for Government.

In contrast, the Treasury reduced its staffing levels by 15 per cent, the Home Office cut numbers by 17 per cent and the Department of Business cut 590 posts. Top of the cuts league table was Eric Pickles' Department for Communities and Local Government, which cut its workforce by nearly 20 per cent – or 500 full-time posts in the last nine months. Across Whitehall around 4,200 full-time posts, 8.7 per cent of the workforce, have been lost since last year's Comprehensive Spending Review.

The Cabinet Office said its figures were higher because it did not take into account functions of Government which had been moved within its remit. A spokesman said its true headcount had fallen by 176. This is still smaller than cuts in most other departments.

The last government to make significant cuts to Civil Service numbers was that of Margaret Thatcher during the early 1980s – and it only achieved a 10 per cent cut over four years.

Analysis of Office of National Statistics found that most Whitehall departments have attempted to front-load cuts into the first year of the spending review, in contrast to the rest of the public sector where job losses have so far been more modest at around 3 per cent.

Civil Service unions say most of the job cuts have been voluntary but have still caused "considerable stress and uncertainty". "I think it would be fair to say that a lot of people are feeling pretty battered and bruised," said Jonathan Baume, general secretary of the FDA, which represents senior civil servants. "Although most of the cuts have not been compulsory, there have been instances where people have chosen to go because they have effectively been told they don't have a future in the service," Mr Baume said.