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Boris Johnson orders ministers to plan 90,000 civil service job cuts


Still Waters
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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

Boris Johnson has ordered ministers to come up with plans to cut more than 90,000 civil service jobs in order to free up billions of pounds for measures to ease the cost-of-living crisis with possible tax cuts.

During an away-day with cabinet ministers in Stoke-on-Trent, the prime minister asked them to report back within a month on how they can reduce the size of their departmental workforces to 2016 levels.

That would imply a reduction of about a fifth in the 475,000-strong workforce. Details of the plan would be set out in due course, the government said. It would be expected to save about £3.5bn a year.

https://news.sky.com/story/pm-orders-ministers-to-plan-90-000-civil-service-job-cuts-but-union-warns-of-reckless-slash-and-burn-12611746

Trade unions threaten national strike over Tory plans to slash a fifth of civil service jobs

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/trade-unions-threaten-national-strike-26954149

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I appreciate this is the civil service but It might be easer to inform those taking new jobs that they are not guaranteed for life and that union strikes just reduce the chances of folks deciding to re-hire in the future.

Unfortunately civil servants have historically avoided many of the employment realities of life. ;)

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1 hour ago, L.A.T.1961 said:

I appreciate this is the civil service but It might be easer to inform those taking new jobs that they are not guaranteed for life and that union strikes just reduce the chances of folks deciding to re-hire in the future.

Unfortunately civil servants have historically avoided many of the employment realities of life. ;)

Given that the treasury for years has been justifying civil service pay cuts with 'job security', this is a very shortsighted move. Would you take the public sector job at ~£30000 where you have Haunted Pencil Mogg force you to spend hundreds on your commute just to please his voters?

Or would you take the same job at £80000, working from home with the same job security?

Within 5 years you'll see a civil service salary hike just to get staff through the door. Or a return to it being only the premise of the rich who live on their family money. Either way, huge pool of talent lost for the sake of saving ~£60 a head.

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13 minutes ago, Setton said:

Given that the treasury for years has been justifying civil service pay cuts with 'job security', this is a very shortsighted move. Would you take the public sector job at ~£30000 where you have Haunted Pencil Mogg force you to spend hundreds on your commute just to please his voters?

Or would you take the same job at £80000, working from home with the same job security?

Within 5 years you'll see a civil service salary hike just to get staff through the door. Or a return to it being only the premise of the rich who live on their family money. Either way, huge pool of talent lost for the sake of saving ~£60 a head.

I am not sure the travel to work situation is a real problem, it was endured by staff only 18 months or so ago and considered normal. And I know folks who decided to live and then commute to London from the wilds of Leicester. 

The numbers discussed is probably overly optimistic as departmental cuts never achieve the original targets. 

But its a nice round number to aim for.

The fact an extra 90,000 staff were set on since 2016 looks like an institution out of control. ;) 

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6 minutes ago, L.A.T.1961 said:

I am not sure the travel to work situation is a real problem, it was endured by staff only 18 months or so ago and considered normal. And I know folks who decided to live and then commute to London from the wilds of Leicester. 

That was before 10% inflation. And for most civil servants there's absolutely no need to travel to an office.

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The fact an extra 90,000 staff were set on since 2016 looks like an institution out of control.  

Didn't you vote for Brexit? ;)

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1 hour ago, Setton said:

That was before 10% inflation. And for most civil servants there's absolutely no need to travel to an office.

Didn't you vote for Brexit? ;)

Fuel prices should go back to a more normal level, although when that might be is anybody's guess. 

Yeah Brexit :clap:I can believe some extra capacity would be useful to offset covid staff shortages and the civil service did say they would need some more staff to deal with leaving the EU but that was their own assessment and they were not keen on making anything easer when implementing brexit. :rolleyes:

Instead of doing half a job I would hand over selected civil service departments to the private sector, companies who already have experience, give them targets for productivity and let them set appropriate staffing levels and pay scale. :tu:

 

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5 hours ago, Still Waters said:

Boris Johnson has ordered ministers to come up with plans to cut more than 90,000 civil service jobs in order to free up billions of pounds for measures to ease the cost-of-living crisis with possible tax cuts.

During an away-day with cabinet ministers in Stoke-on-Trent, the prime minister asked them to report back within a month on how they can reduce the size of their departmental workforces to 2016 levels.

That would imply a reduction of about a fifth in the 475,000-strong workforce. Details of the plan would be set out in due course, the government said. It would be expected to save about £3.5bn a year.

https://news.sky.com/story/pm-orders-ministers-to-plan-90-000-civil-service-job-cuts-but-union-warns-of-reckless-slash-and-burn-12611746

Trade unions threaten national strike over Tory plans to slash a fifth of civil service jobs

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/trade-unions-threaten-national-strike-26954149

Proposed tax cuts are the wrong way to deal with inflation. They increase demand adding more inflationary pressure. At most a reduction in the cost of living lasts a couple of months.

So its no surprise to find they have come up with a way to lower demand at the same time, going for the civil servants. In all fairness this was likely to happen post corona too due to all those extra jobcentre staff.

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52 minutes ago, L.A.T.1961 said:

Fuel prices should go back to a more normal level, although when that might be is anybody's guess. 

And if a few civil servants have to choose between food and heating that's no big deal right?

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Yeah Brexit I can believe some extra capacity would be useful to offset covid staff shortages and the civil service did say they would need some more staff to deal with leaving the EU but that was their own assessment and they were not keen on making anything easer when implementing brexit. 

Just because you don't like the conclusions of someone's assessment, doesn't mean they're out to get you.

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Instead of doing half a job I would hand over selected civil service departments to the private sector, companies who already have experience, give them targets for productivity and let them set appropriate staffing levels and pay scale. 

Oh that'll go well. Put decisions that directly affect the profitability of companies in the hands of those companies.

Gosh, I wonder what they'll prioritise - their own bottom line or the national interest.

And where will the money to pay these staff come from? Civil service doesn't make a profit. How can it? So you're going to use taxes to prop up private sector companies?

Edited by Setton
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5 minutes ago, Setton said:

And if a few civil servants have to choose between food and heating that's no big deal right?

Just because you don't like the conclusions of someone's assessment, doesn't mean they're out to get you.

Oh that'll go well. Put decisions that directly affect the profitability of companies in the hands of those companies.

Gosh, I wonder what they'll prioritise - their own bottom line or the national interest.

And where will the money to pay these staff come from? Civil service doesn't make a profit. How can it? So you're going to use taxes to prop up private sector companies?

Privatisation is the cause of a lot of problems.Organisations run into the ground with underinvestment in the pursuit of profit. Look at the rail, water, and energy networks. Hardly efficient or delivering a decent service.

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But we need the civil service otherwise who will employ the people the private sector wouldn't take on?

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2 hours ago, itsnotoutthere said:

But we need the civil service otherwise who will employ the people the private sector wouldn't take on?

If we want to save money on people who are not pulling their weight, Jacob Rees-Mogg should definately take a close look at the Minister for Brexit Opportunities. This Minister is not only lacking in competence, but is utterly lazy and inept. This Minister, despite months in the job, has not found one single, tangible Brexit opportunity. If I was Rees-Mogg, I'd be appalled at this rate of productivity and would move to have him sacked immediately.

Someone else who should go would be Lord Frost, who is currrently tearing his hair out at the inept deal negotiated by David Frost (when he finds our who he is, he'll have a fit!).

The half-wit leading the Tory Party could go as well, and the country would be far better for it.

Of course, clearing out the civil service is just to provide job opportunies for cronies,who will then offer "consltancy services" at £1000 per day to replace them.

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Public sector job cuts are the first indication that government is out of options and looking at scraping the barrel.

The problem is the sector has still not recovered from the 2008 banking crisis.  As a public sector worker myself I have had 3 cost of living increases, all below 2% in the past 13 years.  I am lucky that in that period I was able to get a promotion which offset the rises, but the pinch is definitely there now.

It will be interesting to see where the government waves its culling stick, and how many vulnerable people will be affected by the cuts.

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Lets do a crash course in economics so people can see what the UK Government is doing.

UK GDP is supposed to grow at 2.5% year on year. Unfortunately, it is rarely spot on. Sometimes its below 2.5% (and can even be shrinkage which is a recession), and sometimes it can be above (which is a boom). The growth rate is directly driven by the level of demand in the economy. So the UK Government can take steps to increase demand when growth is below 2.5%, and steps to cool down demand during a boom.

Those steps are called fiscal policy. Three things get in the way of correctly implementing fiscal policy:

1. The political biases of the party in power. Socialists like a large state sector and lots of spending on public services. Conservatives like a small state sector and reduced spending on public services.

2. The public are not educated in economics. It means they cannot apply critical thinking to determine if a Governments policies are good and it means the Governments in order to maintain their public support have to get society the policies it wants, rather than what is right.

So what is correct fiscal policy? Remember its about regulating the level of demand in the economy. Fiscal policy is as follows:

Growth Too High: Raise taxes, cut spending on public services, and reduce the money supply.

Growth Too Low: Reduce taxes, spend more on public services, and expand the money supply.

Recent UK Economy and Fiscal Policies

So lets look at the recent economic history of the UK:

Banking Crises 2008: A large drop in demand occurred triggering a protracted recession. What was the fiscal policy choice here in the UK and around the world? Well we can see from above Governments should have reduced taxes, spent more on public services, and expanded the money supply. In all fairness the UK Government at the time did expand the money supply. But it got the other two wrong. It raised taxes and cut public spending in an austerity program.

Coronavirus 2020 to 2022: A highly unusual situation where the UK had to lockdown much of its economy. A huge, but temporary, drop in GDP was experienced as a result. Nothing could be done to raise demand as UK society had to remain locked down. So nothing significant occurred with fiscal policy to raise demand. We endured a period of very deep but temporary recession instead. Now our lockdown has ended we have a huge spike in demand as the economy jumps back up to where it should be. With the coronavirus rebound as demand surges, and businesses lag behind in catching up, there are supply shortages causing a lot of inflation.

Russian War 2022: The global supply of oil and gas has not changed, all production pours into the global oil and gas pot. But Western Sanctions mean the west cannot directly buy from Russia. They have to buy indirectly from the global oil and gas pot instead. Hence, all sanctions have done is make it more expensive for western nations to get their oil and gas. The extra money being spent on it means less profits, reduced incomes, and a drop in demand. We do not know how much that drop is yet but we may go into recession later this year due to it.

Current Economic Challenge

The focus of the UK Government is cutting inflation, keeping demand and GDP growth up so the UK economy can get back to where it should be, and keeping the costs of living down.

Tax Rises: Would cut high demand driven inflation, would cool down demand, and would reduce the purchasing power of households.

Tax Reduction: Would heat up demand more, create more inflation, and further hit the purchasing power of households.

Cutting Public Services: Would cut high demand driven inflation, would cool down demand, and ease the rise in living costs.

Increasing Public Services:  Would heat up demand more, create more inflation, and further hit the purchasing power of households.

So what is the solution? It is to combine two of them. To go for a tax reduction with a deep cut in public services. Hence why they want to cut a quarter of the Civil Service, and why they plan to reduce taxes next month. Simple once you know. Boris is also very good at economics, at no point during his leadership so far has he put Conservative ideological bias first. He has done what it possible with fiscal policy, and done it correctly.

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On 5/13/2022 at 9:16 PM, Setton said:

And if a few civil servants have to choose between food and heating that's no big deal right?

Just because you don't like the conclusions of someone's assessment, doesn't mean they're out to get you.

Oh that'll go well. Put decisions that directly affect the profitability of companies in the hands of those companies.

Gosh, I wonder what they'll prioritise - their own bottom line or the national interest.

And where will the money to pay these staff come from? Civil service doesn't make a profit. How can it? So you're going to use taxes to prop up private sector companies?

Why would Civil Servants have to chose between food and heating? They could move to the private sector where they would, according to perceived wisdom, be paid more than the Gov wants to give them. 

 

Many Civil Servants have been shown to actively dislike brexit, and break from the usual behavior to get involved in the political debate.  

Believing they would have an unbiased view about resources needed or anything else is a bit of a leap. 

 

Money would come from the original Gov budget but with an expectation that a well run system would cost less, this would include a reasonable profit margin.

As you might expect as the Gov is the customer and a customer pays for the goods or services provided. 

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Plus of course, a lot of public sector workers are refusing to go back to work after the pandemic & still 'working from home'.  Anybody here tried to get their driving licence renewed?

"According to The Telegraph, hundreds of senior and mid-level civil servants working across seven government departments have supported motions that will call for a flexible working future at a union conference in London on Thursday.

The agenda for the FDA's conference says it will 'mandate' its leaders to 'resist resist indiscriminate demands from the Government for civil servants return to office-based working,' the newspaper reported."

 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10807667/Senior-civil-servants-declare-work-no-longer-place.html

Edited by itsnotoutthere
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2 hours ago, itsnotoutthere said:

Plus of course, a lot of public sector workers are refusing to go back to work after the pandemic & still 'working from home'.

And? So is most of the equivalent private sector.

What's the point of forcing staff into the office if the job can be done elsewhere?

Quote

Anybody here tried to get their driving licence renewed?

By happy coincidence, yes!

It took 5 days from making the application to receiving the new licence. How fast are you wanting?

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1 hour ago, Setton said:

And? So is most of the equivalent private sector.

What's the point of forcing staff into the office if the job can be done elsewhere?

 

in most occupations the office can achieve more.   Of course there are exceptions.  I worked from home awhile at my previous job.  I will freely admit that I was not as efficient as I was at the office.  i did work longer hours though (checking emails at 8 pm and such).  

I have to wonder if the "civil service" positions are too many.   Sometimes it is good to cull and then hire back as needed.

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35 minutes ago, Myles said:

in most occupations the office can achieve more.   Of course there are exceptions.  I worked from home awhile at my previous job.  I will freely admit that I was not as efficient as I was at the office.  i did work longer hours though (checking emails at 8 pm and such).  

It definitely depends on the person. But I have a serious issue with the government that advised people to work from home then taking an ideological issue with people continuing to do so.

If they had actual evidence that civil servants aren't doing there jobs when at home, you can guarantee this government would have produced it and disciplined those civil servants.

The fact they haven't shows it's all ideological to win votes from the likes of itsnotoutthere who have an irrational hatred of anyone who works for the national interest.

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I have to wonder if the "civil service" positions are too many.   Sometimes it is good to cull and then hire back as needed.

They might be. Although again, that should be supported with evidence, not just because this government is desperate for money without taxing their friends.

As for fire and rehire, that's a huge waste of money given the cost of getting a civil servant through the door. 

Just figure out how many are actually needed against how much we can afford and if it's lower than current numbers, pause hiring and let retirement and the absurdly low salaries do the rest.

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5 hours ago, itsnotoutthere said:

 

The agenda for the FDA's conference says it will 'mandate' its leaders to 'resist resist indiscriminate demands 

 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10807667/Senior-civil-servants-declare-work-no-longer-place.html

So the unions are now implying turning up for work is an indiscriminate demand, it sounds like the 1970's. 

"All out brothers, and sisters, we cannot be putting up with these capitalist ideas like going to work for the company who pays us to go to work." :w00t: :lol:

 

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1 minute ago, L.A.T.1961 said:

So the unions are now implying turning up for work is an indiscriminate demand, it sounds like the 1970's. 

"All out brothers, and sisters, we cannot be putting up with these capitalist ideas like going to work for the company who pays us to go to work." :w00t: :lol:

You'd have a point if they weren't working when at home but nobody has produced any evidence to show that. There IS however, masses of evidence to show that well rested, happy employees are more productive.

So instead, what's a better use of taxpayer money - paying extra to make up for the cost of living in London and commuting, to get civil servants who are knackered after a 2 hour commute each way OR paying less for the same work to be done anywhere on the country with well rested, happier and more productive employees.

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1 minute ago, Setton said:

You'd have a point if they weren't working when at home but nobody has produced any evidence to show that. There IS however, masses of evidence to show that well rested, happy employees are more productive.

So instead, what's a better use of taxpayer money - paying extra to make up for the cost of living in London and commuting, to get civil servants who are knackered after a 2 hour commute each way OR paying less for the same work to be done anywhere on the country with well rested, happier and more productive employees.

What about the rail unions who would have to sack staff as their were far fewer commuters, will those staff have to chose between heating or eating. 

And all the ancillary staff in sandwich shops and pubs who no longer have lunch time customers. 
Working from home does not just affect those directly involved. 

There is likely more indirectly affected than the Civil Servants involved and if the idea spreads it could wipe out various sectors of the economy.

What will they do ?

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1 minute ago, L.A.T.1961 said:

What about the rail unions who would have to sack staff as their were far fewer commuters, will those staff have to chose between heating or eating. 

And all the ancillary staff in sandwich shops and pubs who no longer have lunch time customers. 
Working from home does not just affect those directly involved. 

There is likely more indirectly affected than the Civil Servants involved and if the idea spreads it could wipe out various sectors of the economy.

What will they do ?

Hang on, when did you start wanting the state to prop up unproductive sectors of the economy?

Cheap shots aside:

There are ~100,000 civil servants in London. 5.8 million people work in London. So civil servants make up 1.7% of workers.

But let's not forget that most aren't expecting to work from home every day. I think 2 days a week is pretty normal so that's 0.68% of workers now absent. And that's without accounting for all the ones who can't work from home at all.

I'd say that any sector that can't cope with a <0.68% drop in revenue probably isn't worth £100,000,000 of taxpayers money (1k per head commuting costs) to prop up.

Your thoughts?

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14 minutes ago, Setton said:

 

 

They might be. Although again, that should be supported with evidence, not just because this government is desperate for money without taxing their friends.

As for fire and rehire, that's a huge waste of money given the cost of getting a civil servant through the door. 

Just figure out how many are actually needed against how much we can afford and if it's lower than current numbers, pause hiring and let retirement and the absurdly low salaries do the rest.

It is tough to gather that information and many times it is better to cull the workforce and rehire as needed.  Many businesses in the states have survived by doing it.   Once the employee count is down, current employees will do things they usually did not do and the business will hire some for what cannot be done and the business was more efficient after that.   I'm mostly referring to smaller local businesses.  

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15 minutes ago, Setton said:

paying less for the same work to be done anywhere on the country with well rested, happier and more productive employees.

Do you think "work from home" jobs can/will be outsourced to another country (India) for cheap labor.   The company I used to work for did just that.   The accounting department was mostly working from home.   Now the accounting department has been gutted and they hired an Indian firm to do the same work.

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