Drain the Swamp? Boris Looks to Axe 91,000 Civil Servant Jobs
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reportedly planning to dramtically reduce the size of the civil service to bring back the deep state numbers to pre-Brexit levels.

At present there are around 475,020 full-time civil servants in Britain, a figure which has risen by 21 per cent (82,5000) since the British public voted to leave the heavily bureaucratic European Union in 2016.

Amid the cost of living crisis and ongoing disputes with the civil service over demands from government employees to continue to work from home and for pay rises, the government is looking to cut some 91,000 deep state staff, ITV reported.

Commenting on the plan, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the Daily Mail: “We have got to cut the cost of government to reduce the cost of living.”

Johnson explained: “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.”

This government, which has levied the highest tax burden on the British public since the 1950s, has argued that the civil service cuts could reduce the cost of operating Whitehall by £3.5 billion per year.

It is unclear, however, if the government actually intends to follow through with the cuts, or if it is rather a negotiating tactic with the civil service unions, which are currently in a battle with the government over the ability for government employees to continue working from home, or even from abroad, despite the government lifting all coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

The FDA union, which represents senior civil servants, has argued that “work is no longer a place, but what is done”, and therefore pledged to “resist indiscriminate demands from the Government for civil servants’ return to office-based working.”

The union has demanded that government employees should be able to determine where it is best for them to work, rather than being required to work from government offices, with a potential strike looming if they are forced to return.

Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA 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.”

The government’s Minister of State for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency Jacob Rees-Mogg, who drew headlines last month for leaving notes on the empty desks of civil servants, accused the union of demonstrating a “lazy” work ethic.

“The extreme nature of this motion gives the game away. It undermines the many hardworking civil servants by creating the false impression that they want to be as lazy as their union leaders,” Rees-Mogg told The Telegraph.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also demanded that government employees return to their posts, saying: “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office, getting into the workplace.

“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.”

Asside from the dispute over work from hoome, civil servants have also been at loggerheads with the govnerment’s plan to crackdown on illegal immigration by sending boat migrants to the East African nation of Rwanda. According to reports, deep state workers at the Home Office have threatened to strike if the government follows through with the plan.

This month, the former Australian ambassador to London, George Brandis, claimed that there was a deeply embedded “hostility” towards Brexit within the civil service, saying that the permanent state had attempted to derail trade negotiations between the two countries for what has become the crowning trade deal achieved by the government since leaving the European Union.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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