Government workforce grows by 12,000

The number of civil servants grew by more than 12,000 in the year to April 2004, official figures reveal.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of civil servants rose from 511,300 to 523,580, an increase of 2.4 per cent.

The increase in staff numbers highlight the challenges chancellor Gordon Brown faces in his bid to achieve £20bn efficiency savings across the Civil Service.

There were staffing increases in both the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Inland Revenue – two areas singled out for cuts by Brown earlier this year.

The biggest single rise, of 3,500 was at the Inland Revenue to cope with changes in Working Tax Credit and Stamp Duty introduced in April 2003.

But there was also a rise of 2,080 at the DWP, mainly due to an increase in the work of the Jobcentre Plus employment advisory service. The DWP later said that, since this year’s Budget, its staff numbers had fallen by 5,000.

Just over 1,100 new people were taken on at the Prison Service, and an extra 910 staff were recruited at the Home Office. The Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency recruited an extra 360 people, while 330 more joined the Crown Prosecution Service.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said the figures related to April 2004, before the commitments to cutting administration costs and jobs were made.

However, Oliver Letwin, the shadow chancellor, said that instead of cutting the “huge explosion of bureaucracy for which Mr Brown has been responsible, he expands the bureaucracy even further”.

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