Hope for jobs despite Companies House cuts

Image caption, Companies House staff were briefed at meetings

Companies House in Cardiff says it hopes to make savings without any job losses.

It said that instead, staff will face pay freezes and a branch in Nantgarw, Rhondda Cynon Taf - which employs about 250 people - will close with work moving to the city head office.

The 1,100 employees at the UK government agency for registering businesses were warned on Wednesday to expect 11% cuts this financial year.

Unions had feared job losses.

However, following meetings with staff on Thursday morning, Companies House said it was "confident" that savings can be made without any job losses.

Savings they have identified include cutbacks in travel - including first class rail travel - and marketing costs, such as roadshows to inform members of the public about the services they do.

Earlier, unions had feared "salami style" job cuts across the board and warned more could be made later this year.

As well as the headquarters in Cardiff, around 200 staff also work at offices in Nantgarw, Rhondda Cynon Taf, while there are also offices in Edinburgh and London.

Companies House forms part of the department of Business, Innovation and Skills, which has to find savings of £836m this financial year.

It is one of the first departments to be targeted as the new UK coalition government attempts to reduce the £156bn deficit as soon as possible.

A statement from Companies House said: "Companies House, together with all other parts of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, is required to find 11% this year.

"Matters have moved very quickly over the last few weeks and days, and directors here have been working hard to put in place effective plans and arrangements to make the cuts while still continuing to provide excellent services to our customers.

"Some of the early details will be announced to staff simultaneously throughout our UK offices, the HQ of which is in Cardiff."

The department insisted it was in dialogue with trades union representatives and would be working with them to provide information over the next few months.

The statement added: "It is a fundamental part of government thinking that effective customer facing services should continue to focus their efforts on frontline provision and Companies House has an excellent reputation in this regard, gained over many years and in sometimes difficult circumstances."

The Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government has already outlined plans for £6.2bn of cuts this financial year.

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