Number of civil servants declined by 5,000 in quarter, and number of health workers is higher than three years ago
Government plans to cut the public sector payroll appear to be faltering, as official figures revealed a sharp slowdown in job cuts across Whitehall and local government over the summer.
The number of civil servants declined by 5,000 in the three months to the end of July, and the overall drop in public sector employment was restricted to 39,000, as cuts that have reduced the civil service headcount by more than 600,000 since the financial crash ran out of steam.
Ministers heralded a 235,000 decline in the public sector payroll during the quarter, to 5.9 million, but the Office for National Statistics said the cut followed a decision to reclassify 196,000 further education and sixth-form teachers as private sector employees.
The number of health workers was higher than three years ago, at 1.55 million, and the number of teachers remained at 1.6 million, including FE and sixth-form staff. Analysts said it was becoming more difficult for ministers to find easy ways to reduce staff numbers as the coalition’s austerity plans entered a third year…