Public and Commercial Services Union
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UK Border Agency job cuts will add to backlog woes

Criticism recently of the UK Border Agency's handling of asylum and immigration cases is nothing new and problems will escalate due to staff shortages and more job cuts, PCS says.

A February 2010 report by the independent chief inspector of UKBA warned the department needed more staff to clear outstanding cases. Since then, the new government has pressed ahead with plans to cut 6,700 staff by 2014/15.

The home affairs select committee's report today criticises UKBA for putting 124,000 cases into a 'controlled archive'. In fact, this work was carried out by private company Serco at a cost of £22m to the taxpayer.

Post is being left unanswered as the department struggles to deal with incoming correspondence, the union says.

More managers are now being taken on to try to sort out the mess but, at the same time, staff on lower grades continue to be cut.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "UK Border Agency managers were warned more than 18 months ago that they needed more staff. Yet under the new government, they are cutting thousands of posts.

"Instead of cutting jobs and wasting public money by handing it private companies, the government should ensure staff have the resources and support they need by investing in UKBA and other public services."