Comms job cuts 'perfectly possible' in current climate

Tough times - Government PR jobs could shrink in next 18 months, Cabinet Office minister tells committee.

Matt Tee could face a reduced PR headcount when he takes over as permanent secretary for government comms next year.

Cabinet Office minister Liam Byrne told the House of Lords comms committee it was 'perfectly possible' that the Government could face a reduction in PROs in the next 18 months. Addressing the committee last week, Byrne said: 'It is incumbent in the current economic climate that value for money is emphasised with a degree of force by the Prime Minister.'

Byrne said he had commissioned an audit into regional comms activities because he was 'not completely convinced the Government has made the progress it might have' since the 2004 Phillis Review.

Byrne also outlined how the Government is looking into methods of disseminating information via third-sector groups such as Netmums.

Byrne is based at Number 10, where he is said to be playing an increasingly important role in the comms machine.

Also at Number 10, Justin Forsyth, who previously took over from Gordon Brown's top media handler Damian McBride, has been given a new role overseeing campaigns across Whitehall.

Press briefings are now being overseen by former special advisers John Woodcock and Michael Dugher.

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