Pressure group turns up the heat on energy department jobs

Despite cuts across the public sector and David Cameron’s pledge of a “leaner, swifter” civil service, seven Whitehall departments increased staff numbers in the first three months of this year, according to research published yesterday.

The largest increase came at the Department for Energy and Climate Change, where the headcount in the department and its agencies and other public bodies increased by 113 – or 4 per cent of the total payroll – between December 2011 and March 2012, said the TaxPayers’ Alliance.

However the total of 361 additional staff in the seven departments was dwarfed by reductions of 7,740 elsewhere in Whitehall, with the biggest cuts seen at the Ministry of Defence, which lost 2,960 members of staff (5.2 per cent), excluding military personnel.

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The pressure group’s political director, Jonathan Isaby, said that Energy Secretary Ed Davey was “letting down more responsible Cabinet colleagues” and taxpayers by allowing the workforce at his department to swell from 2,816 to 2,929.

A DECC spokesman said the rise was in line with agreed targets, and the extra staff were needed for programmes such as the Green Deal drive to improve household energy efficiency.

He added: “DECC is a relatively new department and has built its workforce in line with agreed targets. The department has a challenging and important agenda as set out in the Spending Review and posts that have been filled over the last months are necessary to enable us to meet those targets.

“This includes the Green Deal and the smart meters programmes which will have an impact on millions of people”.