Outrage as taxpayer-funded jobs for civil servants surge by more than 100,000

Campaigners have renewed calls for a Whitehall cull after figures revealed the number of taxpayer-funded civil servants has rocketed to more than half a million.

The government workforce has surged from 418,340 to 519,780 since 2016.

And the jump of 101,440 members of staff – an increase of 24.2 percent – is the highest seen in at least 50 years.

It makes the civil service much bigger than the entire regular forces of the Army, which stood at 83,209 in October.

London saw the largest surge in civil ­servants, with an additional 25,505 posts – an increase of 33 percent.

The figures, unearthed by the Taxpayers’ Alliance, also reveal the annual salary bill ­­for full-time staff has soared by 60 percent, rising from £9.7billion to £15.5billion over the past seven years.

The average civil service salary increased by 26 percent – more than the basic state pension increase during that period, which went up by 19 percent, from £119.30 per week to £141.85.

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Taxpayers’ Alliance chief executive John O’Connell said: “With the tax burden at ­near-record levels, taxpayers are paying through the nose for the boom in public ­sector employment.”

Its call for a cull came as it was revealed Health Secretary Steve Barclay has axed one in six civil servants in his Department of Health and Social Care.

The Government had boosted the workforce to help deliver Brexit and fight Covid.

The pandemic, rather than Britain’s exit from the EU, is considered the main reason for the rise in civil servant numbers.

But they have carried on increasing since March 2022, when mass Covid testing and emergency measures came to an end.

Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson last year told his Cabinet to reduce departmental staff to 2016 levels – an overall reduction of 91,000 posts. But the plan was scrapped by Rishi Sunak when he took over at No10.

A ban on the fast-stream recruitment of graduates was also lifted, after warnings it could thwart hopes of attracting the best and brightest to Whitehall.

The report, The Civil Service: A Growing Problem, says 87 percent of the increase in staff has been fuelled by growth in the top three grade levels, who earn between £73,000 ­and £208,100, plus pension contributions of 30% on top.

There was a reduction in staff on the lowest grade level.

But promotions and pay awards nearly ­tripled the number of people earning more than £75,000 a year, from 4,470 to 12,045.

In addition, 2,050 Whitehall workers were paid more than £100,000 and 195 earned more than £150,000.

The report also found the overall civil ­service staffing structure has been tilted away from frontline services and towards policy and support functions.

Operational delivery – frontline services – plunged from 56% of the workforce to 52 percent.

Mr O’Connell said: “There is a growing sense that public services are worse than before the hiring spree, not better.”

“Only once MPs start to be honest about what the state can reasonably be expected to do can we wind down functions and scrap unnecessary jobs.”

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Almost half of them still work from home

Almost half of civil servants are still working from home nearly two years after the end of Covid lockdown, according to official figures.

They show 44 percent of civil servants primarily work from home.

It has heaped pressure on ministers to do more to get workers back into Whitehall.

Cabinet Office minister Jeremy Quin last month warned civil servants that their offices should be the “default”.

He told the Commons there were “real benefits” in being in the same working environment.

Furthermore, research suggests civil servants took tens of thousands of sick days last year without a necessary doctor’s note.

Rules state workers must provide a sick note if they are off ill for more than seven days in a row.

But Ministry of Defence records show 35,065 sick days were taken in the last year without a note, relating to 2,112 employees.

Freedom of information requests by the TaxPayers’ Alliance also found Defra staff took 1,218 days without a sick note, the Department of Health and Social Care had 954, and the Cabinet Office 308.

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