Analysis of a leaked plan for cuts to the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has revealed that 77% of staff in line for potential redundancy are based in the regions, with more than 10,000 staff across the country under threat – including 284 in Greater Manchester
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. It revealed that the Department is modelling 40% 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% 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.
In Greater Manchester 62 jobs at ACAS, 134 at the Insolvency Service, 50 at the Skills Funding Agency and 38 in the Dept of BIS itself are to be cut, so in total 284 jobs are under threat.
Shadow Treasury Minister and Member of Parliament for Salford and Eccles Rebecca Long Bailey said:
“Job losses on this scale would be devastating for Greater Manchester, and this government has given no consideration of the local impact these cuts will have.
Over three quarters of the staff under threat will be outside London and as usual our regional economies will suffer disproportionately. This comes at a time when the Government talk about devolving power to local areas but instead takes away the resources needed to make it a success.
The Chancellor talks about a northern powerhouse but we will have a northern poorhouse if the Government carries on with this sort of agenda.
To make matters worse Sajid Javid’s department has refused to answer questions from MPs in an attempt to keep the details of this plan secret. I hope they now see sense.”
Labour’s shadow civil service minister Louise Haigh MP said:
“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. It makes no sense to target the services that support businesses in growing, ultimately creating and protecting jobs in the long run. For example, the Insolvency Service is working flat out on BHS while Business Department civil servants are in full crisis mode trying to save our steel industry. The cuts simply won’t work – we need a government that invests in growth instead.”
“Even worse, 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.”
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.