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Job losses spark fears on targets

PCS, the civil service union, has lobbied MPs on plans to scrap 800 posts in learning and skills councils across the country. The union said the proposed redundancies would seriously damage the LSC's ability to deliver challenging government targets.

Johanna Baxter, PCS negotiating officer for the LSC, said: "We understand that most of the redundancies are in low-level admin jobs to create a more 'transformational' organisation."

Consultants are evaluating the LSC's 5,000 posts and will report by Christmas to Mark Haysom, the chief executive. It needs to save around pound;30 million by March 2006.

The Department for Education and Skills will not allow an increase in its administration budget, which includes salaries, during this period. This means there will be no cash to cover inflation.

An LSC spokeswoman said: "We are talking about voluntary redundancies and natural wastage. Compulsory redundancies are not in our plans at the moment, although that can't be ruled out long term."

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