Plans to axe 200 prosecution staff dropped after budget boost

James Wolffe QC
James Wolffe QC

Plans to axe up to 200 staff at the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) have been reversed following a boost in public funding.

The Lord Advocate, James Wolffe QC, told Holyrood’s justice committee there would be “stability” for staff now that the Scottish government had outlined £114 million in funding for 2018/19.

According to The Herald, Crown Agent David Harvie told the committee that the real-terms budget increase meant the COPFS would not have to cut 30 staff in 2018/19 as expected to meet its target of 150-200 by 2022/23.

Mr Harvie said: “We would have found ourselves in a situation where I would have been presenting options to the Lord Advocate about what a service at those levels might look like.”

Mr Wolffe, insisting staff were not facing disproportionate cuts, added: “A real-terms increase in the service’s budget will allow the service to respond to the release of the cap on public sector pay, to do so from April, and at the same time to choose to retain its staffing at or about current levels.”