Thursday, 5 May 2016

Tory Cuts Continue with over 100 more local Civil Service staff jobs at risk


Analysis of a plan for cuts to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, leaked earlier this month, has revealed that 77 per cent of staff in line for potential redundancy are based in the regions, with more than 10,000 staff across the country in the potential redundancy pool – including 101 in Lancaster.

The document, part of the ‘BIS2020’ plan promoted by embattled Business Secretary Sajid Javid, was leaked to Labour’s shadow civil service minister Louise Haigh MP earlier in April and prompted fury from trade unions and worried staff.

Since the leak, the government has, Labour allege, tried to hide the true extent of the job cuts.

It revealed that the Department is modelling 40 per cent job losses in a number of targeted agencies and government-owned companies, as well as civil servants in the Department itself, in an attempt to meet Javid’s self-imposed target of cutting £100m more than required even by the Treasury.

The Department has refused to answer questions on the leaked document but answers to parliamentary questions have revealed a  breakdown of staffing by location in each of the affected organisations, as well as total staff numbers. The total number of staff in the organisations being targeted for job losses is 14,183 and 10,873 of those work in the regions rather than the Department’s Whitehall head office.

Around 40 per cent of these workers may be cut, according to the leaked document, but with many agencies facing merger or closure, and further regional offices likely to be closed, all are facing potential redundancy, and many towns across the UK face losing all of the local jobs provided.

The jobs in Lancaster are in the Natural Environment Research Council, all of which the recent BIS leak revealed were being considered for cuts of around 40% of total staff.

Other organisations being targeted for cuts according to the leaked document are: the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills itself; the Research Councils (targeted for combined cuts and merger)
Skills Funding Agency (also facing both heavy cuts and potential merger); the Student Loans Company; Insolvency Service (INSS); Innovate UK; the National Measurement Regulation Office; the Higher Education Funding Council for England; the UK Shared Business Services Limited; ACAS; the Financial Reporting Council; the Green Investment Bank PLC (currently being privatised); the UK Commission on Employment and Skills (being merged or closed);
the UK Space Agency; the Office for Fair Access (OFFA); and British Business Bank PLC

“I’m shocked to learn about this threat to local jobs," commented Lancaster MP Cat Smith. "But what really irks, is the Government’s attempts to hide this devastating news.

"Ministers have tried to keep the details of this plan secret, despite questioning from MPs. We need full transparency now, and it is time for a fundamental re-think on their agenda of centralisation and cuts.

“The fact the news had to come out in this way is insulting to the staff whose jobs are under threat. This news is bad news for us locally in Lancaster, but also for the North West as a region given almost a thousand jobs are at risk from Government cuts. The scale of this will not be easy.”

“It’s deeply alarming that the government is considering cuts on this scale to the regional economies that are already suffering the most under the Tories, says Labour’s shadow civil service minister Louise Haigh MP. "It makes no sense to target the services that support businesses in growing, ultimately creating and protecting jobs in the long run. The cuts simply won’t work – we need a government that invests in growth instead.”

A Written Answer to a Parliamentary Question tabled by Louise Haigh had previously revealed that McKinsey was paid £200,000 for the first tranche of its consultancy work on the project last year. Other answers revealed that the Department was planning to centralise functions in Whitehall, closing regional offices even though it would actually lose money overall due to higher costs in London.

Government Meeting "Challenging" Savings Targets 

Responding to questions a spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said earlier this month: “We do not comment on leaked documents.

“But to be clear, there have been no changes to the plans already announced and discussed extensively with Parliament.”

“We have a responsibility to the taxpayer to ensure as much of the department’s funding as possible is focused on front line services.

“We have deliberately set ourselves challenging savings targets consistent with the spending review and we will continue to explore options in detail before making decisions.”


The figures for each location:

Northern England:

Leeds: 207
Sheffield: 324
Rotherham: 49
Darlington: 1421
Gateshead: 67
Newcastle: 117
Manchester: 284
Liverpool: 130
Bootle: 37
Birkenhead: 43
Warrington: 343
Lancaster: 101

Southern England:

Cambridge: 1263
Oxford: 1417
Didcot: 259
Wallingford: 288
Bristol: 414
Southampton: 486
Swindon: 1933

Midlands:

Leicester: 552
Nottingham: 168
Birmingham: 533
Coventry: 385

Scotland:

Edinburgh: 442
Glasgow: 1454
Total Scotland: 1896

Wales:

Cardiff: 153
Llandudno: 125
Bangor: 42
Newport: 45
Total Wales: 365

These figures were provided in Written Answers to Parliamentary Questions from Louise Haigh MP and comprise the total number of employees at each agency being considered for job losses according to the leaked ‘BIS2020’ report. Because the original document used “full time equivalent” figures, the actual number of staff affected is considerably higher than first revealed.


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