Treasury job cuts shake Whitehall: Colin Brown reports on the first round of redundancies that could herald the loss of 100,000 posts over the next decade

THE TREASURY yesterday announced cuts of 30 per cent in its top ranking civil servants, sending shock-waves across Whitehall, leaving thousands in the Civil Service pondering their future.

The Treasury cuts were seen as an example to other departments to wield the axe against up to 100,000 of the total 500,000 civil servants over the next decade.

A report to Kenneth Clarke, the Chancellor, said it was 'bound to have knock-on effects through the rest of the organisation'.

Sir Terence Burns, permanent secretary at the Treasury, denied it was a blueprint but substantial cuts are being prepared by the Departments of Health and Transport and the Home Office. A White Paper by William Waldegrave in July foreshadowed a reduction in Civil Service posts.

The job losses at the Treasury are likely to include two of the nine Deputy Secretaries earning about pounds 75,000 a year, about seven of the 21 assistant secretaries earning pounds 55- pounds 60,000 and about 19 of the 66 senior civil servants earning about pounds 50,000.

The redundancies could fuel the controversy about Government 'sleaze'. City institutions are certain to offer jobs to high-flying civil servants, and the most high ranking could leave the Civil Service with redundancy payments of up to pounds 200,000, based on a maximum of three years' service for those under 50. Under Cabinet rules, they would have to obtain Government permission to take posts in the private sector.

The Treasury proposals drew warnings that the Government was in danger of politicising the Civil Service. Elizabeth Symons, general secretary of the First Division Association representing top civil servants, and Michael Meacher, the Labour spokesman on the Civil Service, said it went to 'the heart of government'.

It would create a climate of 'fear and insecurity' among civil servants - regarded as the best in the world - Mr Meacher said. 'The Civil Service does not belong to the Tory party. The nation deserves better than to let it be neutered as if it were Major's poodle.'

The report, drawn up by Sir Colin Southgate, is to be open to consultation, but Sir Terence made it clear he wanted implementation 'for the bulk of this by April next year'.

The cuts will remove layers from the top echelons of the Treasury civil service, which Sir Terence insisted would allow the Treasury to perform better. The report highlighted the need to spend more time and money on strategic analysis and long-term developments.

Andrew Tyrie, a former adviser to John Major and Lord Lawson, said: 'I don't think the Treasury needs such a fundamental reform. It has a couple of problems - introspection and short-termism. But I cannot see how such a large cut in staff will leave more time for strategic thinking. There should be greater scope for bringing in external expert advice on issues where the Treasury is weak.

'I think clearly the Treasury has been given an exemplary sentence. One measure of whether it will all be worthwhile is whether we will see the higher echelons of the Civil Service cut by 30 per cent elsewhere in Whitehall.'

Insiders also questioned whether the Treasury would remain strong enough to challenge the vested interests represented by departments, such as the defence industry by the Ministry of Defence, and the drugs industry by the Department of Health, in seeking to reduce public expenditure.

Sir Terence said some civil servants would be concerned 'to see a reduction in promotion prospects' within the current grading structure. But new pay and grading arrangements in 1996 should ensure staff who performed well would be 'fully rewarded'. Those in lower grades would 'seize and relish' their chance to take more responsibility.

The cuts could also herald the departure of the Treasury from its cavernous Victorian building in Whitehall. Sir Terence said a great deal of work was required on the building. The report says the Treasury staff needs to be brought together 'in one central London location in a building that has all the facilities one would expect for the 21st century'.

Leading article, page 17

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of Jane Austen classic - with a twist

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

KS2 Teacher required

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: KS2 teacher required ...

LSA

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: To work as part of the Le...

KS1 Float Teacher needed in the Vale

£100 - £110 per day + Travel scheme plus free professional trainnig: Randstad ...

Science Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Cardiff: Are you a qualified secondary...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week