Margaret Greenwood MP has written to Boris Johnson urging him to think again about his proposals to cut 91,000 jobs from the Civil Service within three years.
It was reported recently that the Prime Minister had asked all government departments to put together plans that will model headcount reductions of 20%, 30% and 40% and that final decisions will be made in the autumn.
The Wirral West MP has drawn attention to the impact that such cuts could have on the Wirral, Merseyside and the North West.
In 2021, aside from London, the North West of England was the region of the UK with the largest number of civil servants, with 59,340. Of those, 19,480 were employed on Merseyside and 2,150 were employed in Wirral.
According to government statistics, in 2021, the overall Civil Service headcount was 484,880 staff. If there were 91,000 job cuts, this would see the Civil Service reduced by almost one-fifth. In the North West, this could mean more than 11,000 job losses. In Merseyside, it could mean more than 3,500 job losses. In Wirral, it could mean more than 400 job losses.
The Minister for Government Efficiency Jacob Rees-Mogg said recently that the government had “taken on quite a number of additional staff…to deal with Covid and some of the consequences of Brexit…Those two issues are now fading, therefore we can get back to the numbers (of Civil Service staff) we previously had.”
However, Margaret Greenwood has told the Prime Minister that this is not a view that she shares and has pointed to the long delays that people are experiencing in receiving passport renewals as just one of the ways in which there clearly is a need for a well-resourced Civil Service.
The FDA union, which works with members across more than 200 government departments, agencies and arm’s-length bodies, has also refuted Mr Rees Mogg’s claims, calling them “nonsensical”, while PCS union, which also represents civil servants, has said that “Making cuts will only make things worse, make waiting lists longer for those seeking passports and driving licences, make telephone queues longer for those with tax enquiries.”
Margaret Greenwood MP said, “I am very concerned about what the government’s proposed Civil Service job cuts might mean for my constituents in Wirral West, many of whom work in the Civil Service for government departments and non-departmental public bodies.
“The impact on local people and the local economy should not be underestimated, especially at a time when people and businesses are struggling with the cost of living crisis.
“I am also very concerned about the impact that cuts of 91,000 Civil Service jobs across the UK would have on the quality of the public services on which we all rely.
“Numerous residents have been in touch with me because they have not been able to get their passports renewed in time or their driving licences processed, for example. Cutting jobs in the Civil Service when it clearly cannot keep up with current demand makes no sense.
“The government claims it wants to level up the country. Cutting Civil Service jobs in the North West would have the opposite effect.
“A government that runs down the Civil Service runs down the country.
“The Prime Minister and this Conservative government should think again.”