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Government Announces Plan to Cut 91,000 Civil Service Jobs

The UK’s top civil servant has sent a letter to civil servants announcing that the government plans to cut up to 91,000 civil service jobs over the next three years. The plans have not ruled out a recruitment freeze or compulsory redundancies as part of planned cuts.

The Cabinet Secretary, Simon Case told civil servants that “this matters all the more at a time when the government is focused on controlling expenditure and delivering the best possible value for taxpayers in challenging circumstances.”

The Government has described the move as an effort to rein in the budget at a particularly tough time for tax payers, with Government Efficiencies Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg saying: “during an issue with the cost of living, with inflation, you need to have control of budgets.”

The Government is seeking to drive down the number of civil servants to 2016 levels, when there were the lowest number of civil servants since World War Two (384,000), from their current number of 475,000. Rees-Mogg suggested that an annual saving of £3.75 billion was “realistic”.

However, Dave Penman, the general secretary of the FDA Union described the plans as “unrealistic”, and criticised the Government for “plucking a figure out of the air and say it’s now 90,000”. The Labour Party too criticised the plans, accusing the Government of “pointless rhetoric and lack of action” instead of implementing an emergency budget to offer more support to people struggling with bills.

Civil Service
Jacob Rees Mogg has been criticised for leaving notes on civil servant’s desks.

Final Thought

The Government has argued that the reduced numbers can be made up for by automation and technological advancements, however it certainly raises a lot of questions. The civil service work across all areas of public service, and touch all aspects of life, from benefits to prisons.

The Government has not announced which departments would be most hit by the proposals, however civil servants perform a wide range of essential functions for people across the UK. While Rees-Mogg claimed that this number could be reduced because Covid and Brexit are now issues of the past, it is hard to see how their work could be described as complete. As Foreign and Brexit Secretary Liz Truss ramps up her threats to suspend the UK’s Brexit deal, those extra civil servants could potentially come in handy.

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