Boris Johnson orders one-in-five public service jobs cut as post-Brexit economy stalls: report

London: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered ministers to slash one-in-five public service jobs to free up billions for tax cuts, the Daily Mail reported on Thursday.

Johnson used a “cost of living” cabinet meeting in the Midlands on Wednesday to order his top team to redouble their efforts to ease the financial pressure on struggling families, it said.

They were given one month to come up with plans to cut the size of the civil service by 91,000 of the current total, which would save about £3.5 billion ($6.21 billion) a year, the newspaper said.

British PM Boris Johnson.Credit:Bloomberg

“Every pound the government pre-empts from the taxpayer is money they can spend on their own priorities, on their own lives,” the report quoted Johnson as saying.

British households have been buffeted by inflation – some linked to energy prices driven by the war in Ukraine – as well as supply chain problems and economic costs related to the UK’s exit from Europe. The government has pledged to focus on economic growth to help consumers keep up with the soaring cost of living.

Britain’s economy shrank by 0.1 per cent in March with economists expecting further contractions.

PM Johnson also remains convinced of the need for more officials to get back into the workplace, the newspaper said.

“We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office, getting into the workplace,” he told the Daily Mail.

“There will be lots of people who disagree with me, but I believe people are more productive, more energetic, more full of ideas, when they are surrounded by other people.”

Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA, a union for public service managers and professionals, said in a tweet, “Unless they’ve got a serious plan, it’s either another headline-grabbing stunt or a reckless slash-and-burn to public services without a thought or care about the consequences.”

Johnson’s order comes after he told the parliament on Tuesday he and Chancellor Rishi Sunak will have more to say in the coming days on helping voters with the current cost of living crisis.

Reuters with staff

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