MORE than 400 Civil Service jobs have been cut in York in two years, Government figures have revealed.

The extent of the job losses in the city has been shown through information obtained by York Central MP Hugh Bayley, who tabled a Parliamentary question to Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude.

Mr Maude also said the number of civil servants in London was “much higher than it needs to be”, but did not agree to Mr Bayley’s request for a “strategic review” into the relocation of posts from the capital to other areas, including York.

The figures showed the number of full-time equivalent civil servants employed in York at the end of March 2010 was 2,390, but this had fallen to 1,980 by the end of March this year.

Defra and HM Revenue & Customs are believed to be two of the civil service areas affected.

Mr Bayley told Mr Maude it was “hard to justify” the number of London-based civil servants when there were “so few in other parts of the country” where rents and building costs were cheaper.

Mr Maude said there had already been “endless” relocation studies under the present and previous Governments, adding: “We are concentrating the numbers [of civil servants] into the central London freehold estate, which is significantly reducing our costs, but there is further to go.”

Mr Bayley said: “Since the coalition Government came to power, York has lost more than 400 civil service jobs, which means there are hundreds of empty desks in Government offices in the city.

“The minister says there are too many civil servants in central London, where the overheads and rents are much higher. If they moved 400 jobs to York, they would fill their empty offices here and be able to save money by closing and giving up leases on much more expensive accommodation in London.

“Modern technology has improved communication so that we no longer need civil servants to be based in Whitehall. If the Government wants to save money, this is a good way to do it.”

A spokesman for the Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents civil servants, said: “Government cuts have hit York hard, with hundreds of jobs going at a time of high unemployment and little chance of people finding other work.

“This is the complete opposite of what we need in York and elsewhere. Our local economies are crying out for investment, not more cuts.”