Whitehall reports zero redundancies in seven departments’ cost-cutting review

Seven important government departments have yet to make any redundancies of full-time employees in the 14 months since the chancellor pledged to slash Whitehall costs, it was reported yesterday.

Under the Treasury’s Efficiency Review, which was published in July 2004, Whitehall departments were instructed to shed more than 84,000 jobs by April 2008.

But several departments, including the Home Office, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Department for Education and Skills, have failed to make anyone redundant since mid-2004, according to documents obtained by the Sunday Telegraph under the Freedom of Information Act.

All three departments said there were no plans for any staff redundancies.

However, there has been an explosion of expenditure on management consultants, hired to find cost savings. Over the past year the Department of Health has hired 10 consultancies to advise on efficiency at a cost of £608,000.

The Treasury said civil service numbers had fallen during the past year. Many staff who had retired or left to take jobs outside Whitehall have not been replaced, it said.

A spokesman said: “The government is on course to deliver the cuts set out in the Gershon review. We always knew the majority of posts would go through natural staff turnover, with redundancies as a last resort.”

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