Liberal Democrats have to 'live within our means' as jobs cut, Sir Vince Cable says

'It doesn't affect our effectiveness as a political movement although obviously it's difficult for the individuals if we're having to scale back and there are fewer jobs,' leader insists

Tom Batchelor@_tombatchelor
Friday 02 November 2018 22:54
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Sir Vince insisted it would affect not alter party's 'effectiveness as a political movement'
Sir Vince insisted it would affect not alter party's 'effectiveness as a political movement'

The Liberal Democrats are cutting staff at party headquarters as their leader stressed the need to "live within our means".

Speaking in Edinburgh, Sir Vince Cable said there was no "black hole" within the party finances but said a lot of restructuring was having to take place.

He said: "We've been campaigning on Brexit, our resources have been going into that and some of the general activities have been cut back. All political parties have had this problem. It doesn't affect our effectiveness as a political movement although obviously it's difficult for the individuals if we're having to scale back and there are fewer jobs."

The Guido Fawkes website claimed a quarter of the party's staff may leave and all had been offered voluntary redundancy but Sir Vince disputed the figure saying he is "not sure it is correct".

He said the operational side of the restructure is being handled by the chief executive and others at the party headquarters.

Sir Vince added: "We are having to live within our means as any other organisation does."

Questions if the staff cut would cause problems if there was a snap general election, he said: "It's partly because we're needing to make absolutely sure that our campaigning activities are at full capacity that we have to readjust."

In a statement, a spokeswoman told the BBC: "We are in the process of carrying out a reorganisation which will see a reduction in the number of staff at our headquarters. We are focusing our resources to carry on leading the fight against Brexit and taking on power and privilege to build a country where everyone has the opportunity to succeed."

While the party received £6.1m in donations in 2017 and got £1.2m from membership income, it ended up with a deficit in its finances of more than £700,000 because of increased spending on the general election campaign. It has always struggled to compete financially with the Conservatives and Labour Party.

Last year's accounts revealed that 68 staff work at the party's headquarters.

In a separate statement, a spokeswoman said: "We are in the process of carrying out a reorganisation which will see a reduction in the number of staff at our headquarters. We are focussing our resources to carry on leading the fight against Brexit and taking on power and privilege to build a country where everyone has the opportunity to succeed."

Press Association contributed to this report

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