Truss Plans ‘War’ on UK Civil Service ‘Waste’ to Save Billions
(Bloomberg) -- Liz Truss vowed to slash “waste, bureaucracy and inefficiency” in the civil service to save billions of pounds

(Bloomberg) -- Liz Truss vowed to slash “waste, bureaucracy and inefficiency” in the civil service to save billions of pounds a year for the British taxpayer if she becomes UK prime minister.

The foreign secretary, the front-runner in the race with Rishi Sunak to succeed Boris Johnson, said late Monday that she’ll align the pay of public sector workers to living costs in the regions where they live. She also pledged to slash holiday allowances and cut diversity officers in the civil service, according to a statement emailed by her campaign.

The measures -- which Truss said would save £11 billion ($13.5 billion) a year -- are designed to shore up her support on the right of the ruling Conservative Party on the day ballot papers were sent out to party members. She’s vying with Sunak for their votes, and has presented herself as the low-tax candidate who’ll challenge the “orthodoxy” within the civil service, in particular the Treasury.

“There is too much bureaucracy and stale group-think in Whitehall,” Truss said in the statement. “If I make it into Downing Street, I will put an end to that.”

Amid the growing threat of strikes by professions including teachers and doctors, Truss also plans to eliminate provisions that mean taxpayers pay for public sector workers to take time off in order to engage in official trade union activities, including organizing strikes. She estimated the ban on “facility time” will save as much as £137 million a year.

The biggest saving announced by Truss -- of £8.8 billion a year -- would come from using regional pay boards to set civil servant pay taking into account the cost of living in their areas. That was condemned by the opposition Labour Party, which said it amounted to “leveling down” -- the opposite of Johnson’s mantra that he aimed to “level up” economic opportunity across the country.

Truss is “promising a race to the bottom on public sector workers’ pay and rights,” Labour Deputy Leader Angela Rayner said in a statement. “Her ‘tailored’ pay plans would level down the pay of Northerners, worsening the divide which already exists. This out-of-touch government’s commitment to leveling up is dead.”

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Author: Liza Tetley

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