THE JOBS of hundreds of civil servants in St Austell could be under threat as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) implements plans to cut staffing levels.
The Cornish Guardian has learned that staff at Carlyon House, which employs just under 240 people, have been offered voluntary redundancy packages but the DWP says it does not intend to close its St Austell office.
St Austell mayor Steve Double said it was more bad news for the town, which is already facing the prospect of hundreds of Cornwall Council staff being moved to a new office due to be built in Bodmin.
"In the bigger context, St Austell is facing the prospect of a significant number of Cornwall Council jobs being moved out of the town and the NHS is reviewing its staffing levels here in St Austell," he said.
He said he would fight any plans to take jobs away from St Austell.
"We do face the loss of a large number of public sector jobs in the town and I will be doing all I can to fight to keep as many jobs in the area as possible," he said.
The DWP said it is looking at ways to reduce staffing costs in specific areas.
A DWP spokesman said: "We need to reduce costs in line with government spending plans, so have made operational decisions that will enable us to release some staff.
"We need to reduce our headcount by 1,700 people by the end of March 2017 and natural turnover of our staff will not yield this figure.
"That is why we are launching a small number of highly targeted voluntary exit schemes in areas where in the future we know we will have more people than we need."
"These are the first steps of a department-wide response to the challenges facing us now and to prepare us for what we know we will face in the future."
The staff affected will receive details of the scheme.