April 2024

Is Francis Maude a liar, just like his boss David Cameron?

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude recently boasted that the number of civil servants was just 444,000 – the lowest since the Second World War high of 1.2million. He said: ‘We are creating a much leaner, more effective Whitehall machine that manages its finances like the best-run businesses and demands the best return for public money.’ But is he telling the truth? It might be true that the number of people classed as government employees has gone down slightly. But there are thousands of civil servants who got pay-offs of hundreds of thousands each to supposedly take early retirement and then came back the next day as “consultants”, so they are not counted as government employees. There are thousands more who have been shifted into quangos. Again we taxpayers still pay their salaries, but they too are not counted as government employees. Remember, one of Osborne’s first actions was to set up yet another new quango – the pointless, laughable Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) to do the job the hundreds of civil servants at the Treasury should be doing. The OBR has managed to help Osborne increase public spending virtually every month he has been in charge.

And there are many thousands more who have been outsourced to companies like Cap Gemini (the useless company behind most of the many cock-ups at the Inland Revenue). We pay a fortune for these people, but they too no longer count as government employees. So is Francis Maude an honest man reporting on his success or a liar trying to fool us nto believing he’s not just another incompetent fool? I suppose it depends on how you define the word “liar”, but I know what I think.

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