Civil servants crossing the road in London

Civil service cuts announced by Chancellor

On the second day of the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester, the Chancellor has announced plans to save money by cutting civil service jobs.

In his speech this afternoon, Jeremy Hunt has announced a swathe of measures that will help to grow the economy, however one of these is to reduce the number of civil service jobs. In the same breath as these cuts were announced, the Chancellor did state that this nation’s civil servants are the “best in the world” but did also claim that the UK needs a “more productive state, not a bigger state.”

jeremy hunt portrait

According to the Chancellor, there are 66,000 more civil servants than there were before the Covid-19 pandemic. This has led to the announcement that expansion in the civil service will be frozen and reduced to the levels that it was at before the pandemic, with this expected to save the taxpayer £1 billion next year.

Speaking at the Manchester Central Convention Complex, Hunt said:

“Of course, we need modern working practices and better IT but the treasury, too, needs to change its focus from short term cost control, to long term cost reduction. And we’re going to start with the civil service.

“We have the best civil servants in the world, and they saved many lives in the pandemic by working night and day, but even after the pandemic’s over, we still have 66,000 more civil servants than before.

“New policies should not always mean new people, so today I’m freezing the expansion of the civil service and putting in place a plan to reduce its numbers to pre-pandemic levels. This will save £1 billion next year.

“And I won’t lift that freeze until we have a proper plan, not just for the civil service, but for all public sector activity improvements. That means, amongst other things, changing our approach to equality and diversity initiatives.”

Also announced in his speech at this year’s conference was a plan to raise the national living wage. This development comes as the Chancellor claimed that around 100,000 people every year are leaving jobs to live on benefits instead.

To combat this, Hunt announced that the National Living Wage will increase to at least £11 per hour next year, whilst also implementing a squeeze on benefits.


Image credit: iStock

Portrait credit: UK Parliament

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