Thursday, 26 May 2022

Why Boris Johnson has unveiled plan to cut 91,000 civil service jobs – ‘deserves better’

Jacob Rees-Mogg clashes with host on civil service jobs

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The Government is planning to cut tens of thousands of civil service jobs, after the pandemic and Brexit inflated the number of staff needed to run the UK. Some 91,000 jobs could be on the line in coming years if Boris Johnson presses forward with his plans to reduce the service.

Why are civil service jobs being cut?

The Prime Minister reportedly wants to cut the civil service by huge amounts in a bid to save money.

The plan could save £3.6billion a year, which would help to counteract the rising cost of living.

Mr Johnson said: “We have got to cut the cost of Government to reduce the cost of living.

“Every pound the Government pre-empts from the taxpayer is money they can spend on their own priorities, on their own lives.”

Mr Johnson said the public “deserve better” from those bodies – like the DVLA and Passport Office – that have failed to clear huge post-pandemic backlogs.

His orders came after he told the parliament on Tuesday he and Chancellor Rishi Sunak will have more to say in the coming days on helping voters with the current cost of living crisis.

The pair had been criticised for doing little to help ordinary people with the cost of living crisis, which is threatening household budgets across the UK.

The Prime Minister had reportedly given ministers a month to produce plans to drastically shrink the civil service.

The number of civil servants had risen in recent years, in particular over the pandemic to run new services, as well as across Brexit organisation.

Mr Johnson wanted staffing levels to return to 2016 levels, when there were 384,000 civil servants across the UK.

Currently, there are 475,000 in various roles up and down the UK.

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It is thought that a staffing freeze would be implemented first, before large scale job cuts were made.

Mr Johnson also used his announcement to say he rejected the call from some civil servants to continue home working.

He said: “There will be lots of people who disagree with me, but I believe people are more productive, more energetic, more full of ideas, when they are surrounded by other people.

“Things like Zoom and Teams can increase productivity, rather than just be an excuse for people to stay at home.

“We should be asking ourselves, why does it cost so much for a passport?

“Often it’s because the cost has been jacked up over the years to support the cost of the organisation providing them.

“What is the chief driver of those costs? Headcount. If we can do more with AI… potentially it could be cheaper.”

Dave Penman, the general secretary of the FDA, a union for civil servants, said: “This culture war against the Civil Service has to stop… you do your job and let the management of the Civil Service get on with theirs.”

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