Cuts Watch #56: Cuts and closures at Companies House, Cardiff
Staff at Companies House in Cardiff have been told to expect 11% cuts this financial year. The UK government agency for registering businesses employs 1,100 people in the city. As well as the headquarters in Cardiff, around 200 staff also work at offices in Nantgarw (facing closure), Rhondda Cynon Taf, Edinburgh and London.
Management has told staff that it plans to freeze all pay – including progression up the scales – close the satellite office in Nantgarw, near Caerphilly, relocating staff back to the principal office in central Cardiff, and cut all ‘non-essential’ functions.
All this will still leave a further £1.3 million savings to be found and management is seeking ministerial permission to use its reserves to fund a voluntary early severance scheme.
PCS has commented that not only are staff facing a pay cut in real terms, but the freezing of progression will widen pay inequalities between people doing the same work. The union is looking to ensure there would be a properly funded voluntary redundancy scheme. It had been reassured attempts will be made to avoid compulsory redundancies. Companies House forms part of BIS, which has to find savings of £836m this financial year, or 3.9% of its total budget.
This is particularly difficult news for the Welsh economy. Half of Companies House staff apparently live in the South Wales valleys, and the Nantgarw office is located in what used to be known as an ‘Objective 1’ area. Cuts like this will have a damaging impact on already-struggling local economies.