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Local government leads workforce reductions

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Almost a quarter of a million public sector jobs have gone in the last year with local government leading central government in staff reductions, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Figures published on Wednesday show ‘local government’ employment has reduced by 5% since the second quarter of 2010 while central government shrank by 2.3% in the same period. The public sector as a whole shrank by 3.8% between 2010 and 2011, compared to a 0.17% drop the year before.

The figures for local government includes police, teachers and a number of other sectors as well as council workforces and precise figures for local authorities will be published shortly by the Local Government Association. The last set of data for the first three months of 2011, published in July, showed a 3% drop in a year as 47,000 council jobs  were shed.

The ONS’ latest data for quarter two shows public sector employment has fallen to just over six million in quarter two of 2011, a decrease of 145,000 ‘local government’ and 66,000 central government employees in one year. The loss of 29,000 public corporations ranging from the BBC to local airports brings the total public sector jobs lost in the last year to 240,000.

The worst hit English region was the south-west where there was a 5.9% fall in public sector employment.

The ONS data also provides a breakdown of civil service employment by department, showing the Department for Communities & Local Government echoing the wider trend and leading Whitehall in the drive to cut public sector employment.

Since the first quarter of 2011, the department has reduced its workforce by 250 people, a decrease of 11% compared to 9% decrease in Department for Culture, Media and Sport employment figures and a 8% reduction in the Treasury.

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