Prime Minister Boris Johnson is seeking to cut 91,000 jobs in the civil service in a desperate attempt to ease the cost of living crisis.
Johnson told his cabinet on Thursday that he wanted to reduce the government’s workforce by a fifth, which would then save $4.2 billion.
“We have to cut government costs to bring down the cost of living,” Johnson told the Daily Mail.
The prime minister’s approval rating recently fell to a new low due to the cost of living crisis, with the consumer price index rising to 8.7% in 2022, almost double the peak of 4.4% forecast in October 2021. Government records show.
Labor slammed the move, telling The Washington Post that “the cabinet has indicated that they will focus on the cost of living crisis facing households across the country.”
“Instead of implementing an emergency budget, they chose to let working people down again through pointless rhetoric and lack of action,” the party spokesman added.
Mark Serwotka, secretary of the Union for Public and Business Services, told Post Johnson the move “has nothing to do with efficiency”.
“It’s about the prime minister trying to create a smokescreen to distract him from the total chaos of the government,” Servotka told the Post. “He chose to spark our cost of living crisis and was eager to put the blame somewhere – he chose to point the finger at the hardworking PCS members who have kept the country afloat throughout the pandemic.”
“Our members will not be made scapegoats for a failed government,” Serwotka added.
A government spokesman defended the move, telling The Washington Post, “The prime minister and ministers are well aware that public servants are doing an excellent job of serving the public and driving progress on government priorities.
“But when people and businesses across the country are facing rising costs, the public rightly expects their government to lead by example and operate as efficiently as possible.”
The recent UK parliamentary elections proved just how low the British people’s trust in their leaders is, as Johnson’s Conservative Party performed poorly compared to previous years after losing nearly 500 seats earlier this month.
A government spokesman confirmed the prime minister wanted civil servants to return to 2016 employment figures in the next few years.
Since then, the number of civil servants has reportedly grown to 475,000 full-time equivalent jobs, according to BBC News. Johnson now wants to cut that number to around 384,000.
Johnson said the billions of dollars saved could go towards tax cuts, telling the Daily Mail that “every pound the government takes away from taxpayers is money they can spend on their priorities, with in their own lives.”
The Conservatives declined to comment.