The Rt. Hon John Redwood MP has today criticised the huge increase in the number of Whitehall staff taking early retirement over the last two years. In response to a series of parliamentary questions tabled before the summer, the government has admitted that the number of staff in some Whitehall departments and its related agencies taking early retirement has more than doubled.
Amongst the figures obtained by John Redwood are the revelations that there has been a 59% increase in the number of staff in the Ministry of Justice and its related agencies who have taken early retirement between 2006-07 and 2007-08. The Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, formerly the Department for Trade and Industry, has seen a 167% increase in the number of staff who took early retirement. The number of Department for Work and Pension staff employees and those of its related agencies who took early retirement has increased by 52%, and at DEFRA the figure is a staggering 174% increase over the last few years.
The number of civilian employees at the Ministry of Defence taking early retirement increased by 24%. The biggest increase was at the Department of Health, where the figure is 217%.
Speaking about these figures, John Redwood said: “At a time when people are feeling their pay packets under pressure and companies are struggling in the face of rising inflation and falling demand, it is disappointing to find yet another example of the Government’s failure to get a grip on public spending and the Whitehall bureaucracy. Of course if someone is really ill and needs early retirement an employer should be caring, but I cannot believe this is true in all these new cases.
“The huge increase in early retirement figures in these departments will lead to even greater liabilities on the public balance sheet. How are these commitments to be paid for? Alistair Darling has said there is to be no more money for schools, hospitals, defence, transport or policing, but he apparently has no difficulty in finding the money to pay extra pension entitlements for the large increase in Whitehall staff who have taken early retirement over the last few years”.
“David Blunkett recently suggested that employees should carry on working until they are no longer capable and questioned the assumption that the Government should support the elderly throughout retirement. Once again, it seems there is one rule for those who pay the money and another rule for those who spend it”.