The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) run by Sajid Javid, the Conservative cabinet minister, could see major job cuts, according to official documents that have been leaked. According to the documents marked "official, sensitive", BIS plans to cut at least 1,526 positions before 2020. The redundancy could go up to as high as 4,103 – a 40% reduction of its total core staff.
The leak comes at a time when Javid has been assigned the task of saving 15,000 jobs in the steel industry. The BIS cuts are said to have been advised by McKinsey, the management consultants who Javid appointed to review the department upon his appointment.
The cuts, aimed at saving costs, are said to be more severe than those required by Chancellor George Osborne's latest budget. The move will enable BIS save £350m ($494.51m), which is £100m more than what is required by the Treasury.
The leaked documents also reveal BIS plans to cut funding for agencies supporting apprenticeships. They include plans to cut 40% of jobs at the Skills Funding Agency and to completely close the Commission for Employment and Skills, according to the Guardian.
A BIS spokesman refused to comment on the leaked documents. However, he said: "To be clear, there have been no changes to the plans already announced and discussed extensively with parliament."
"We have a responsibility to the taxpayer to ensure as much of the department's funding as possible is focused on frontline services. We have deliberately set ourselves challenging savings targets consistent with the spending review and we will continue to explore options in detail before making decisions," the spokesman added.
Unnamed Whitehall sources, however, said the future restructuring decisions would not be taken by Javid. It would instead be the responsibility of permanent secretary, a non-political civil servant and the board of BIS, said the source.