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UK set to axe one in five civil servants

LONDON (AFP) – Tens of thousands of United Kingdom (UK) civil servants are set to lose their jobs under new cost-cutting measures planned by the government, senior minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said yesterday.

Rees-Mogg did not deny media reports that 91,000 Whitehall jobs were to go when asked by Sky News, saying: “I know it sounds eye-catching, but it’s just getting back to the civil service that we had in 2016.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told the Daily Mail that “we have got to cut the cost of government to reduce the cost of living”, adding that it had become “swollen” during the pandemic.

He told the paper that 91,000 jobs needed to be cut – 20 per cent of the entire civil service – to save around GBP3.5 billion a year.

The government is struggling to balance the books, having spent huge sums during the pandemic, and as it battles spiralling inflation that is holding back economic recovery and putting further pressure on public finances.

Rees-Mogg, the minister for Brexit opportunities and government efficiency, has in recent weeks taken aim at civil servants still working from home despite the lifting of all coronavirus restrictions.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson in conversation. PHOTO: AP