Shropshire MPs divided on huge cuts to civil service

Proposals to cut 91,000 jobs from the civil service have been met with a mixed response by Shropshire's MPs.

The Cabinet meeting in Staffordshire
The Cabinet meeting in Staffordshire

Conservatives Daniel Kawczynski and Philip Dunne said the cuts were necessary as the Government tried to tackle the cost-of-living crisis, but North Shropshire Liberal Democrat Helen Morgan accused ministers of creating a distraction from their own failings.

The proposals, which would see the civil service cut by approximately a fifth, were agreed at a meeting of the Cabinet held in Staffordshire on Thursday to discuss the cost-of-living crisis.

Helen Morgan MP

Mrs Morgan said: "Boris Johnson and his Government are clearly out of ideas to help people who are struggling and are reverting to creating distractions.

"This won’t help families and pensioners on the brink who need help today. Neither will it help deal with urgent problems that people in North Shropshire care about like ambulance delays, transport cuts and rural businesses going bust."

She accused the Government of dithering and said it should instead call an emergency budget.

Daniel Kawczynski

But Mr Kawczynski, MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham, said the proposals were necessary at a time the Government was trying to find additional resources for people struggling with the cost of living.

"This measure will return civil servant levels to 2016 levels and save the Treasury £3.5 billion," he said.

"At a time when we are over £1 trillion in debt and paying £60 billion a year in debt interest payments, the Government is in a very difficult position to find additional resources to help families with cost-of-living increases.

"This measure to cut civil servants will be studied amongst many other measures to see how Government can free up resources to help hard working families through this difficult time."

He said MPs would scrutinise the proposals to ensure the cuts would not adversely affect the quality of service provided by each Government department.

Philip Dunne

Mr Dunne, MP for Ludlow, said the cuts would reduce the civil service to something like the size it was before the pandemic.

"Having served as a minister, I am very aware of the incredibly valuable jobs done by dedicated civil servants, but there are invariably opportunities in any large organisation to make efficiency savings," he said.

"I think a lot of people were taken on during the pandemic, and those roles were always going to be temporary.

"I'm not opposed to trying to extract efficiencies, particularly when this involves the use of technology."

The announcement has been met with fury by union leaders, with one warning that national strike action was “very much on the table”.

Mark Serwotka

General secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union Mark Serwotka said the cuts would affect people relying on public services.

He said: “The Government complains about longer delays for passports and driving licences at the same time as sacking the people who are working so hard to clear the backlog.

“This is not about efficiency. This is about the Prime Minister trying to create a smokescreen to detract from his utter shambles of a Government.

"Taking national strike action is very much on the table.”

Lucy Allan, MP for Telford, and Mark Pritchard, MP for The Wrekin, were also contacted for comment.

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