Number of local government employees drops by more than 1000

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The number of local government employees in Scotland has fallen by more than 1,000 in a year, new figures show.

Official statistics reveal the workforce at Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue Brigade has also dropped, while NHS Scotland and civil service staff have both increased.

Between April and June 2017 the number of local government staff fell to 242,000, down 1,020 (-0.4%) on the same period the previous year.

Police and fire related services were down by 380 (-1.4%) year on year to 27,700 and college staff dropped by 190 (-1.3%) to 13,900.

NHS staff increased by 860 (0.5%) to 162,200 while the combined devolved and reserved civil service increased by 370 (1.9%).

Scottish Labour’s economy spokeswoman Jackie Baillie blamed the falling figures on Scottish Government budget cuts.

She said: “These figures show more than 1,500 fewer employees across local government, our police force, fire service and Scotland’s colleges.

“This is the result of an SNP government not interested in using the powers of the parliament to stop Tory austerity in Scotland, and cutting £1.5 billion from local government budgets since 2011.”

Her Scottish Conservative counterpart Murdo Fraser called on the Scottish Government to confirm police officer numbers would not be affected by the reduction in civil staff in the force.

He said: ” Since the merger of Police Scotland, even when staffing numbers were steady, we saw more frontline officers backfilling in administration roles.

“Now the headcount is dropping, the SNP government must provide assurances that the frontline will not suffer as a consequence.”

He added: “People will raise eyebrows at an increase in desk jobs for civil servants while valued public services suffer cuts.

” It’s hypocritical of the SNP to advertise itself as a friend of public sector staff when these reductions are taking place.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We have increased the number of staff employed in frontline services in the NHS, recruited over 100 new firefighters in the last year and police office numbers remain well above what was inherited in 2007.”