Boris Johnson promises ‘compassion’ to help people through cost of living crisis
The government could cut up to 90,000 civil service jobs in a cost-cutting exercise touted by Boris Johnson, as ministers come under increasing pressure to help ease the cost-of-living crisis with possible tax reductions.
The Prime Minister reportedly told his cabinet on Thursday that the civil service workforce should be cut by a fifth, which would save more than £3billion.
The plan was discussed with cabinet colleagues on Thursday during a day in Stoke-on-Trent.
Sources familiar with the conversations said he had told ministers to bring the civil service back to its 2016 levels in the coming years.
Staff numbers have increased since then as the impact of Brexit on government and public life has increased the need for civil servants.
Meanwhile, the European Union’s chief negotiator in the row over the Northern Ireland Protocol has urged the UK government to stop threatening unilateral action and start negotiating a new post-Brexit deal.
EU officials also questioned the timing of the UK’s threat to drop parts of the protocol, warning it risked undermining the unity of the international alliance against Vladimir Putin over the ‘Ukraine.
Rees-Mogg: EU tries to punish UK for Brexit
The minister also spoke to broadcasters about the ongoing row with the EU over Northern Ireland’s Brexit protocol.
He claims the bloc is refusing to budge on customs checks because it is trying to punish the UK for leaving the union.
Speaking to GB News, he said: “I think they (the EU) want to make the UK feel bad about leaving the European Union and that underpins all of their policy. and she doesn’t really care about the consequences of that.
“And we just have to live on and recognize that we’re gone. We have to go our own way. We’re an independent country, and what the EU wants and thinks is secondary.
“Paymaster General Michael Ellis gave a speech in Brussels today making it very clear that we are, if not at the end of the road, very close.
“To cancel the ATT (EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement), the European Union would need unanimity, and it seems to me that is a pretty high bar to reach.
“And you have to say to the European Union, does it really want to punish its consumers at a time of rising inflation? And inflation in many EU countries is higher than in the UK. “
Matt MatherMay 13, 2022 9:23 a.m.
Jacob Rees-Mogg is on the air this morning defending the government’s plan to cut 90,000 civil service jobs.
The Cabinet Secretary also answered questions about the Partygate scandal, saying it was not a story – after the Met Police announced a further 50 fines had been issued for breaking the law of Covid in Whitehall and Downing Street.
Our Deputy Political Editor Rob Merrick has more details below:
Matt MatherMay 13, 2022 9:01 a.m.
Government’s plan to cut civil service jobs is ‘unrealistic’
The general secretary of a union representing civil servants said government plans to cut 90,000 jobs were unrealistic.
Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA union, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘Since then we’ve had Brexit and we’ve had a pandemic, and the rise in membership has undeniably been linked to those two events, so unless we “are undoing Brexit and can undo the pandemic, it’s unclear what the government means by that.”
“The government can decide how big they want the civil service to be, but they also have to say what they’re going to stop doing if they have to take cuts of this magnitude.”
He added: “In 2016, the civil service was at its lowest since World War II.
“It had already generated a lot of savings by then, so the idea that you’re going to reduce that kind of savings again is just unrealistic.”
Matt MatherMay 13, 2022 8:43 a.m.
Rees-Mogg says since he can’t cook, ‘it wouldn’t be right’ to lecture people about life
Jacob Rees-Mogg claimed ‘wouldn’t have said’ comments made by Tory MP Lee Anderson, who suggested people use food banks because they ‘can’t cook properly’.
“Someone in my position can’t say things like that, I can’t cook myself and it wouldn’t be right for me to lecture people on how to live their lives,” he said. -he declares. Sky News.
“I think human nature is to empathize with people who live different lives than you do.”
Asked if he disagreed with the comments, Mr Rees-Mogg said: ‘I wouldn’t have said that.’
Emily AtkinsonMay 13, 2022 08:06
Rees-Mogg claims to ‘genuinely sympathize’ with voters facing cost of living pressure
Jacob Rees-Mogg insisted that despite his “lucky” personal situation, he was able to sympathize with his constituents about the soaring cost of living which he said was affecting them “very significant”.
“My personal situation is very lucky and I think my lectures on my own situation are irrelevant, not useful. But I try to help constituents who contact me…and to help my constituents who are in trouble .
Mr Rees-Mogg went on to say he could ‘really empathize’ with people experiencing poverty given his personal wealth.
“You’ll understand people look at you sometimes, the three-piece suits, the postings, the nanny, the Westminster townhouse, the country mansion, the personal wealth, you might be running into triple-digit millions , ” Sky News said presenter Niall Paterson.
“That’s just not true,” Mr Rees-Mogg added, before adding that it was a “very fair question” to ask him if he could understand the struggles of low-income voters.
“As a constituency MP you have people coming to you most weeks to discuss how they are living their lives and you will have to be the most stone-hearted person to not be able to point out when people come and talk to you about how they are alive.”
Emily AtkinsonMay 13, 2022 08:01
Partygate fines a ‘non-story’, says Rees-Mogg
Jacob Rees-Mogg dismissed the number of fines for No 10 parties hitting the 100 mark as “a non-story”, saying people don’t care anymore.
“There are other things going on that are more important,” the cabinet minister said.
Emily AtkinsonMay 13, 2022 07:50
Civil service cuts ‘return to normal’ process
Jacob Rees-Mogg defended the proposed cuts to the civil service, saying extra staff had been brought in to help deal with the pandemic and the “consequences of Brexit”.
The Minister for Government Efficiency said Sky News the cuts would see the workforce return to 2016 figures.
“I know that sounds catchy, but it’s just like the civil service we had in 2016…since then we’ve had to hire people for specific tasks. So dealing with the aftermath of Brexit and dealing with Covid , so there is a reason for this increase, but now we are trying to get back to normal,” he said.
Emily AtkinsonMay 13, 2022 07:41
Dismissal of civil service personnel due to “duplication” within ministries
The Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Effectiveness has dismissed reports that the Prime Minister is set to cut the civil service by a fifth marks a ‘return to austerity’.
Addressing S.Newsthe Jacob Rees-Mogg said he had seen “duplication” within departments and the removal will mean people are used “as effectively as possible”.
“What I have seen in the Cabinet Office, where I work and I keep in mind that each Secretary of State will be responsible for his own department, is that there is duplication in government , so you have a communications department and then you have people in another department who deal with communications.
“So it tries to make sure you use the resources you have rather than duplicating them bit by bit.”
Asked why the cuts weren’t portrayed as a return to austerity, he replied: “I don’t think it’s because what’s being done is going back to the levels of efficiency we had in 2016.”
Emily AtkinsonMay 13, 2022 07:31
Analysis: Falling GDP should be a big wake-up call for the government
The latest official numbers – for March – were grim on Leonard Cohen’s album, writes James Mooreour chief economic commentator.
They showed a contraction of 0.1% from the flat zero the city had expected. There’s probably worse to come. This economical gel is going to bite hard.
Stuti MishraMay 13, 2022 07:30
Rees-Mogg tries to justify the personal agents of the public service
Jacob Rees-Mogg tried to justify attending an interview this morning, surrounded by ‘three or four’ civil servants, despite reports that the government plans to cut its workforce by a fifth.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has reportedly told his cabinet that the government could cut up to 90,000 civil service jobs as part of a cost-cutting exercise.
Ask by Sky News this morning why ‘three or four’ civil servants had accompanied him to the interview, and whether his circle could be reduced under the proposed cuts, the Minister for Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency said argue that his circumstances were different because he’s “running a large operation.
Emily AtkinsonMay 13, 2022 07:28