First rise in seven years on civil service payroll

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The number of full-time civil servants has risen for the first time in seven years, fuelling accusations yesterday that the Government was spending too much money on bureaucracy.

The number of full-time civil servants has risen for the first time in seven years, fuelling accusations yesterday that the Government was spending too much money on bureaucracy.

The number of permanent civil servants was 466,500 at the beginning of October last year - 4,200 up on the previous 12 months. It is the first rise since 1992 and will help to support Tory claims that the Government should cut its Whitehall spending to concentrate on frontline services instead.

The Cabinet Office said several departments had recruited permanent staff in a drive to reduce the number of casual staff. However, taking permanent and casual civil servants together, there was still a rise of just under 1,000 during the 12-month period.

Over the past 10 years the number of civil servants has fallen by an average of 1.8 per cent per year.

The biggest departmental increase was in the Inland Revenue and arose largely from the transfer of responsibilities from the Benefits Agency. There were also increases in the Home Office, Employment Service and Prison Service.

There were staff reductions at Customs and Excise and the Ministry of Defence.

Downing Street has already come under pressure over the rising number of special advisers, which has nearly doubled to 79 since the general election three years ago.

Lords of Appeal said they have a right to take part in the work of the House of Lords, but do not think it is "appropriate" to engage in issues that have a "strong element of party political controversy".

Their view was read out in the Lords in a statement from Lord Bingham of Cornhill in response to a recommendation from the Royal Commission on Reform of the House of Lords, published in January.

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