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Truss plans ‘war’ on UK civil service ‘waste’ t...

Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Truss plans ‘war’ on UK civil service ‘waste’ to save billions

UK trade secretary Liz Truss has decided to resume arms sales to Saudi Arabia. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Will Oliver)
By Bloomberg
02 Aug 2022 2

The front-runner in the race to succeed Boris Johnson, Liz Truss vowed to slash “waste, bureaucracy and inefficiency” in the civil service to save billions of pounds a year for the British taxpayer if she becomes UK prime minister.

The foreign secretary said late on Monday that she’ll align the pay of public sector workers to living costs in the regions where they live. She also pledged to slash holiday allowances and cut diversity officers in the civil service, according to a statement emailed by her campaign.

The measures – which Truss said would save £11-billion (R22.9-billion) a year – are designed to shore up her support on the right of the governing Conservative Party on the day ballot papers were sent out to party members. She’s vying with Rishi Sunak for their votes, and has presented herself as the low-tax candidate who’ll challenge the “orthodoxy” within the civil service, in particular the Treasury.

“There is too much bureaucracy and stale group-think in Whitehall,” Truss said in the statement. “If I make it into Downing Street, I will put an end to that.”

Amid the growing threat of strikes by professions including teachers and doctors, Truss also plans to eliminate provisions that mean taxpayers pay for public sector workers to take time off in order to engage in official trade union activities, including organising strikes. She estimated the ban on “facility time” will save as much as £137-million a year. 

The biggest saving announced by Truss – of £8.8-billion a year – would come from using regional pay boards to set civil servant pay taking into account the cost of living in their areas. That was condemned by the opposition Labour Party, which said it amounted to “levelling down” – the opposite of Johnson’s mantra that he aimed to “level up” economic opportunity across the country.

Truss is “promising a race to the bottom on public sector workers’ pay and rights,” Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said in a statement. “Her ‘tailored’ pay plans would level down the pay of Northerners, worsening the divide which already exists. This out-of-touch government’s commitment to levelling up is dead.” BM


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