Stress-related illness rocket under Brown's premiership in Whitehall

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London, Feb 28(ANI): A survey, which compared the first six months of Gordon Brown's premiership with the last six of former Prime Minister Tony Blair's, has implied that Brown's dark moods could affect more than just the staff at Number 10.

Stress levels for staff across Whitehall soared when Brown took over, as the number of days lost to stress-related illness rocketed by 11,000 in the first six months of his reign.

According to reports, virtually every department saw more staff signing off work because of "depression, anxiety and potential stress-related problems".

However, at the Treasury the numbers of people becoming ill fell by a third under the new stewardship of Alistair Darling, after Brown moved on to Number 10.

In the first half of the year, 999 days were lost to stress at the Treasury, but that fell to 639 days when Darling became Chancellor.

In contrast, the number of days lost to stress-related problems rose to 356,762 across nine departments, including a 70 percent rise at the Department of Local Government and Communities and an 80 percent jump at the Department for International Development.

The Cabinet Office, which includes staff at Number 10, refused to respond to the survey.

In an interview last week, General Secretary of Whitehall civil servants' union the First Division Association, Jonathan Baume, suggested the culture of bullying at Whitehall was more widespread.

He said the association was struggling to make progress on an anti-bullying code between MPs and their staff and said bad behaviour was often fuelled by Westminster's cut-price booze culture.

"There have been a number of incidents including drunken behaviour by MPs which staff find very difficult to deal with. Unfortunately we are not making much progress on this but the issue won't go away," Daily Express quoted Baume, as saying.

"It is vital that MPs set an example in this area and we still hope to have a code in place after the General Election," he added. (ANI)

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