01/21/2016 06:00 EST | Updated 01/21/2017 00:12 EST

Layoffs aren't ruled out as Newfoundland departments asked to cut 30 per cent

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador's finance minister isn't ruling out layoffs as part of the province's belt-tightening efforts.

The question of layoffs is being raised following an internal directive for departments and agencies to find savings of 30 per cent over the next three years.

Cathy Bennett says it's all part of government's initiative to deal with the deficit which has ballooned to nearly $2 billion dollars.

Bennett says the government needs to impose cost-cutting measures in a responsible fashion.

NDP Leader Earle McCurdy says he can't see how those kind of cuts can be imposed without job losses.

McCurdy says anything even close to a 30 per cent would compound the current economic situation. (VOCM)

The Canadian Press