The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will axe up to 12,000 posts over the next three years, the work and pensions secretary has said.
It follows an announcement by James Purnell that the private and voluntary sectors will play a bigger role in helping people find work.
He said that a “step change” in the benefits system was necessary if the government was to meet the challenges of an “ageing society and globalisation in the labour market”.
The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) condemned the announcement and expressed its deep concern about the impact further cuts will have on service delivery.
It warned that further job cuts combined with privatisation would amount to a huge blow to the morale of staff.
Mark Serwotka, PCS general secretary, said: “This announcement comes as yet another blow to a workforce that has have battled to provide a service in the face of swingeing cuts and below-inflation pay increases. These plans for job cuts and privatisation are purely about crude cost cutting, and will do nothing to improve service delivery to some of the most disadvantaged in society.”
HM Revenue and Customs also revealed plans to close 35 offices in Wales, Scotland and the North West of England, affecting up to 5,000 staff members.