- Hunt offers critics discounts for officials
- He refuses to talk about tax cuts
- Truss puts more pressure on the government
MANCHESTER, England, Oct 2 (Reuters) – British Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt laid out plans on Monday to cut the number of civil servants working in the government to save 1 billion pounds ($1.2 billion), in an attempt to placate critics in the ruling Conservative Party. They vociferously demand tax cuts.
At the party conference in the northern English city of Manchester, Hunt sought to incite the fire of senior Conservative lawmakers, including Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s predecessor, Liz Truss, by presenting one of their demands to reduce the size of the state while refusing to hand them over. No sign of tax cuts.
“So, today I am freezing expansion of the civil service and setting out a plan to reduce its numbers to pre-pandemic levels. This will save £1 billion next year,” Hunt told the conference.
He added: “I will not lift this freeze until we have a proper plan, not just for the civil service, but for all improvements in public sector productivity.”
The civil service, or officials working on government policy, has long been in the crosshairs of some on the Tory right, who complain of their failure to deliver post-Brexit policies.
It was an offer aimed at those who had taken issue with whether the government should start cutting taxes.
The debate has put pressure on Sunak, who hopes to use the conference to revitalize his year-long premiership by showing he is not afraid to make tough decisions to try to improve people’s lives.
(Reporting by Alistair Smout, Elizabeth Piper and Andrew MacAskill – Reporting by Mohammed for the Arabic Bulletin – Reporting by Mohammed for the Arabic Bulletin) (Additional reporting by Kylie MacLellan, Sachin Ravikumar and Sarah Young) Editing by Emilia Sithole-Matarise and Catherine Evans
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