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Jon Trickett MP

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Cameron's Shameful Civil Service Blame Game

Posted: 18/01/2013 10:56

The coalition government have broken their promise to deliver a more efficient and effective government. At a time when the government is introducing a strivers' tax on hard working families it is absolutely astounding that they are continuing to spend millions on recruitment agencies whilst simultaneously paying out millions in redundancy pay to civil servants.

This chaotic hiring and firing has continued unabated for well over a year, despite numerous independent reports criticising the situation, including the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee. In some cases it has even become worse, with growing sums of taxpayers' money being spent on recruitment agencies simply to keep their services. In the Department for Business, Industry and Skills, spend on recruitment agencies has increased by over £1.5 million to £2.5 million in the last six months of 2012 alone. In addition, in the Department for Education, £320,000 in redundancy pay was paid out to civil servants whilst the department were spending over almost half a million pounds on recruitment agencies in just five months.

Despite this, the government continues to claim it is promoting efficiency. It is clear that attempts at efficiency have so far failed, with the Cabinet Office, the department responsible, spending an incredible £73 million of taxpayers' money every year on their flagship efficiency and reform programme. The Efficiency and Reform Group, the organisation that has been tasked with tackling wasteful spending by government now employs 838 staff- up from 528 just 18 months ago. Perhaps most remarkably, when the Group was created, 15 of those staff were earning well over £100,000 - nearly five times the average salary in the UK.

The figures show that for the nine departments which provided the data, a total of £15 million was spent on recruitment agencies alone, with a staggering £78.2 million spent on making civil servants redundant. In addition to these massive figures, 11 government departments recruited a total of 650 temporary staff. Thus a damaging cycle of hiring and firing is becoming evident, with a negative impact not only on the taxpayer but on vital civil service morale too.

It is absolutely astounding that at a time when the government is introducing unfair policies such as a strivers' tax on hard working families, the government thinks it's acceptable to continue spending huge amounts of money on redundancy and recruitment fees.

Figures requested from the Department of Health reveal it has spent £10.7 million over six months on recruitment agencies, with almost £7 million going to just one company, Capita's recruitment arm. To add to this, the Ministry of Defence has spent £68.7 million on redundancies within the same time-frame. In a sustained period of enforced austerity for millions of ordinary people driven by the Tory-led government's disastrous economic policies of cuts and more cuts, real efficiency savings should be a priority in order to protect front-line services.

This government continues to lecture others about efficiency and budget control but these figures reveal beyond doubt an administration whose left hand does not know what the right hand is doing. They are paying out huge sums of money in redundancy pay whilst simultaneously spending even more money on recruitment and temporary staffing.

It is clear that there is a huge gap between the government's rhetoric and the reality of its policies when it comes to reducing waste. It is vital that the government acts now and gets a grip on it's out of control spending of taxpayers' money.

 

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