Civil service working

The government is asking the question again, should more of the civil service work outside London? It is a good time to review this, given the larger changes being discussed about the balance to be struck between working in an office and working from home.

The case for more civil servants in future working away from the capital is based on the proposition that it would be fairer to spend more of the pay bill around the country, and better for taxpayers to employ fewer people in very expensive central London accommodation. Change of course should be carried out at a pace and in a manner which respects the needs of existing staff who have based their lives around the current pattern of office provision. The large size of the service and the turnover of staff means there is considerable scope for change. It is also a good time to use natural wastage and new technology to raise quality and productivity in service provision.

There is also a case for recognising the wish of many to have more time working from home to save the travel cost and time it takes to get into big cities, especially London. The modern computer allows people to be set up with good means of carrying out many tasks. Some worry that some might abuse the privilege and not work as much as they do when supervised in an office. Modern computers can be tougher managers than a person in the office, as they know exactly how many emails a person has done, how many page views they have managed, how long they have been active on their machine. The civil service could move more towards an output oriented approach to working. Sitting for 40 hours in an office is not a particularly useful skill unless you are there to provide cover for client and customer enquiries. Getting specified work done is.

The number of civil servants who need to be in central London is quite limited. Minister’s private offices can best support the Minister in person. Senior officials who mainly advise Ministers might well find it more convenient to be in the heritage buildings at the core of the central London public estate. Any Central London based public service of course needs to be there. Otherwise many officials can be based around the country, with good computer, email and video conference links to the centre.

There is considerable scope for a better balance around the country, with economies on office costs. The government can also now consider how much work can be done without an office at all.

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219 Comments

  1. Mark B
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Good morning.

    We do not need more home working CS’s, we need a cull of them !

    This and previous governments have created more and more layers of administration from devolved assemblies to mayoralships and Police Commissioners, and not to forgetting all the QUANGO’s and NGO’s.

    Letting CS’s work from home is just more dancing around the edge of the problem.

    As I said in a previous post. Some 500 people are going to lose their jobs from a company of around 1,500. How many CS’s and government advisors are going to lose their jobs as a result of the bad advice and incompetence that they had given ? To answer my own question, because I know our kind host won’t, it will be less than 1.

    • Nigl
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 6:03 am | Permalink

      Don’t forget to add pension entitlements and questionable performance management and you speak for the nation which HMG does not.

      Just look at the arrogant couldn’t care less Border Force at Heathrow yesterday, forcing families in intolerable conditions and no self distancing to chant ‘ we want more officials’

      Priti Patel again. Expect zero action.

      • Original Chris
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

        Nigl, to your entitlements list, don’t forget their special rates for private health care.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 6:34 am | Permalink

      +1.

      Though fewer not less I suppose.

      Several tens of thousands of people had their lives shortened due to clear and gross negligence by the NHS, government, civil servants and Public Health England. All entirely predictable and indeed predicted at the time – no hindsight was needed.

    • Andy
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 6:35 am | Permalink

      Which civil servants would you get rid of? It is all well and good thinking they everyone else is doing a job which is a waste of your money but it is hard to find a specific example.

      I would get rid of lots of civil servants at the Department for Work and Pensions. I would do this by scrapping the ‘and Pensions’ bit of its remit completely by scrapping pensions. If we did not give such huge handouts to old people we wouldn’t need civil servants to administer it.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:43 am | Permalink

        Not hard at all. The vast majority do little of any value and many do active harm. Those few that are actually doing thing of value could easily do them with about 1/3 of the staff given sensible technology, sensible management and some decent organisation. But no one has any incentive to improve efficiency quite the reverse in the state sector.

        • James1
          Posted August 2, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

          Arguably better if civil servants just sat around doing nothing. Unfortunately they tend to busily engage themselves in disrupting the productive sector of the economy.

        • JoolsB
          Posted August 2, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

          +1

      • Dave Andrews
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

        The DWP does nothing for work either, so you could get rid of it entirely.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        So long as I get my national insurance contributions back with interest.

        For many the state pension is not a gift.

        • M Davis
          Posted August 2, 2020 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

          Hear! Hear!

      • A-tracy
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        How many people work in the digitised pension civil service Andy?
        Once people become eligible after paying ‘national insurance contributions’ the payment is done automatically into their account the end. The biggest beneficiaries of the single tier pension changes were the self-employed who pay in a much reduced national insurance but now take the same State Pension as employees who have 25.8% national insurance paid over the lel currently £9500 pa.

      • acorn
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        Sadly Andy, my corroborated factual post of how this government has treated the Civil Service since 2010; and, how it has been forced into reverse gear since the referendum, was far too embarrassing to get past moderation.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        Which civil servants would you get rid of?

        Diversity officers.
        Whoever collects car tax – just stick it on petrol.
        The bloke Liverpool Council employed to go round the streets encouraging kids to play football.
        Have a look in the Guardian’s public sector appointments ads – there are plenty of ideas there.
        Anyone whose only job is to produce spreadsheets for other people to consider in meetings.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

        If we did not give such huge handouts to old people we wouldn’t need civil servants to administer it.

        Fair enough. Give me back all my employer’s and employee’s NI contributions (I have been a company director for much of my life) – and go back 50 years and pay those payments into a private pension and let ME benefit from MY contributions. Sounds bloody great to me.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

        Hey you can buy my pension anytime. Cash thanks.

      • Gordon Nottingham
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

        Andy / Sir can I ask how old are you?

        • Fred H
          Posted August 3, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

          older than you would guess – – 15?

      • Al
        Posted August 3, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

        “I would get rid of lots of civil servants at the Department for Work and Pensions. ” -Andy

        And if you got rid of the entire department, the budget would provide enough to pay a Universal Basic Income to every person in the UK of £3,000 per year. The final salary pension savings would boost it further, (but not to enough to live on). But since that would still support pensioners, I suspect that’s not what you meant.

        However I do agree that reducing the numbers of Civil Servants, MPs, and Lords, would be a very good cost saving.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

      +1

    • JoolsB
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Absolutely. 100% agree with you Mark B as no doubt many on here do as well as the country at large. But our self serving MPs will ignore us as usual because where better to start than a cull in the number of MPs and Lords. Why do we still need 117 part time MPs from outside of England on full time salaries and pensions when Boris is about to hand their own parliaments yet another 76 new powers, none whatsoever to England of course. And what happened to reducing their numbers to 600 or better still 500 – all conveniently kicked into the long grass. And as for the amount of Lords, what a joke, our second chamber is making us the laughing stock of the world yet instead of much needed reform, we are still stuffing more and more has beens and failed politicians on their £315 a day tax free just for turning up into what is already a very overcrowded chamber..

      The civil service, the whole public sector and H of L and H of C could be and should be culled significantly and their pensions should be subject to the markets just like they are for those in the wealth creating sector. Why should hard pressed taxpayers guarantee them an income in old aged denied to themselves? And to add to the insult, they are still retiring much earlier. This cushy club of jobsworths has got to be sorted out but it will take courage and a much needed Conservative Government to do that and unfortunately true Conservative MPs are becoming as rare as hen’s teeth.

      • Timaction
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        +1. Then they need to revisit selection processes to ensure normal people of high morals and ethnics, non political and not woke left wing PC agitators. A return to a meritocracy that is colour, race and blind to gender or religion.

      • The Prangwizard
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

        It’s time the ‘English’ threw off their inhibitions. We should learn from the likes of BLM. They are not afraid and they get listened to. The government is on the same side of woke as they so that helps but we need to get moving.

      • Gordon Nottingham
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

        Jools B How well put, if only

    • BOF
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      I agee Mark B and have said a number of times on this site that there needs to be a huge cull of CS’s and quangos. So long as we have LabCon it will never happen.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      +1

      Value for money comes to mind – Our money

  2. agricola
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 5:39 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the Foreign Office should remain in London, but most other ministries could just as easily operate from almost anywhere in the country. The benefits of living in Cornwall, Norfolk, Northumberland or the Cotswolds would quickly be realised by the staff. The cost of the base HQ to the taxpayer should vastly reduce as so many could work from home. As you say ministers and advisors could quarter themselves in much smaller units in the capital. There is even a positive side to Covid 19 in that it has got everyone thinking about how they do things and trying new systems of working.

    • Adam
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 6:06 am | Permalink

      Should Civil Servants pay income tax? The Govt used to issue Road Tax discs for police cars to display.

      We could all create plenty of useless employment passing fragments back and forth accounting for nothing.

      • Nigl
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:17 am | Permalink

        There is a really good discussion to have about this. One HMG department fining another for H and S or data breaches. A hospital gets fined, where does it comes from, its budget often under pressure meaning fewer services or a bigger grant. Far from the public benefitting, it suffers. Fining people in benefits. The public purse is paying its own fines plus the addition of enforcement. How many are uncollected. I bet our host would be embarrassed to tell us, if he knew.

        And so the carousel spins with the government using our money to enforce its rules to fine other Departments paid with, …….our money. Cost cost cost. Waste waste waste. All governments mantra.

        • Al
          Posted August 3, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

          “One HMG department fining another for H and S or data breaches.” – Nigl

          I’ve heard this refered to as slapping the populace with one hand and paying themselves money for the privilege with the other – for example, the council (dept 1) building on greenspace, then paying themselves (dept 2) the compensation money that is then used for facilities improvements by dept 2 that are used by dept 1.

          We need personal accountability in civil servants in the same way there is in the private sector, and I don’t see any chance of this happening.

      • Longinus
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        EMA employees based in London never paid a penny in income tax…

      • Know-Dice
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        If they don’t pay income tax & NI then their salaries (and pensions) should be reduced by the same amount – I don’t see that happening.

        Just as in the Withdrawal Agreement ex-EU employees etc, will not pay tax on their pensions and also can’t be prosecuted.

        Really needs to be exactly the same rules/laws for all even though that does have a potential administration cost…

        • Adam
          Posted August 2, 2020 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

          Pay should be fit for purpose and set right first time. We used to calculate in shillings and pence. Keeping quaint loses valuable change.

        • hefner
          Posted August 2, 2020 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

          As long as they are employed by EMA, employees don’t pay UK taxes nor NI, but are registered to and paying into an external pension scheme independent of the UK state. When they retire, they have to start paying taxes in the their country of residence, the UK if they are still in this country, or any other EU27 country where they might retire to live. Only Austria had up to recently a provision making previous EU employees now retired non-taxable (but that might have recently changed).

          BTW, this is not secret information but would be available to anybody curious enough to check.
          BTW-2: A lot of people in these EU agencies are on limited 2- or 3-year contract, which might not link them to this type of pension scheme. Although reasonably well paid, they have to pay in a SIPP-type pension pot. For those lucky enough to get a contract with pension rights, only a few people get much more than an initial 4-year contract, possibly extended for another 5 years. So overall not a place for one to have a ‘career’.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      😂😂 you mean if the FO Stay in London they are in their element? Foreign territory? Can’t we move them to Eritrea or Afghanistan so they really feel that have hands on?

      • agricola
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        If embassies and consulates belong to the FO they are already there.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

          We don’t have embassies or consulates at present. They are EU organisations.

  3. Sea Warrior
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    A few quick thoughts:
    (1) The real estate industry, owner of many office blocks, is hurting badly right now and, arguably, doesn’t need to see further disruption. The impact on landlords must be factored into decision-making.
    (2) In my working career, I haven’t been overly impressed by the work ethic of the average non-industrial civil servant. I wouldn’t be inclined to trust them with home-working except for roles that are conducive to output monitoring.
    (3) I haven’t been impressed by the quality of government planning during this crisis. True, it’s been one heck of a ‘stress-test’ – but I can’t help but feel that we have just had a demonstration of how things fall apart when civil servants are spared coming into work and supporting lonely ministers with no-one but a smattering of Spads and a PS for company.
    (4) There’s a clear need to develop manufacturing and that should be encouraged outside of London, rather than stuffing more of the inhabitants onto to the Public payroll. How’s the government getting on with establishing Medical devices/PPE production capabilities inside the UK? How is the Free Ports initiative going?
    Now ISN’T the time to do what you suggest. Now IS the time to get the country back to work.

    • Peter
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      We had all this in the 1960s and 70s. Adverts on the Tube. ‘Move to Milton Keynes’ etc.

      There was even a Location of Offices Bureau. They had to give approval for any new offices in London.

      It was so long ago that some of the relocated offices themselves have disappeared.

      Her Majesty’s Stationery Office in Anglia Square, Norwich is but one example.
      https://historyofnorfolk.com/norwich/history-of-sovereign-house/

    • Mark B
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      Hear hear on ALL points !

  4. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    Like the NHS, start from zero and work out who is actually needed rather then shifting the deckchairs.

  5. Adam
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Business & Govt wasted by causing employees to travel in squashed tiring conditions for hours at high expense, only to do what they could have accomplished more efficiently at home.

    Awareness has taken over a decade and a pandemic for many to realise. Performance needs solutions, and these are available wherever one may be, or live, or work, or be needed.

    • Narrow Shoulders
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      Cheltenham or Chittagong

  6. jerry
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 6:04 am | Permalink

    I can’t help feeling this idea has more to do with a/. justifying HS2 and b/. a wish to divide and conquer the civil service. In all likelihood dispersing the civil service out of London will likely cost the tax payer more, unless of course this is also a prelude to selling off more of the family silver, as happened with Admiralty Arch, whilst forcing up the cost of housing outside of the existing London commuter belt wherever these govt departments are moved to – this is already being seen, for other reasons, in the Manchester area due to the development of places such as media City and the migration of jobs and people from London.

    The govt says it wants to “level up”, well it doesn’t do that by forcing people out to be replaced by those who already have better incomes and/or wealth, that just perpetuates the mistakes of the past, of course on paper it looks as if great strides have taken placed but in reality nothing has changed other than location.

    • Nigl
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Indeed plus we are years, 5 or more, away from having the Gigabit digital infrastructure to support real, rather than the superficial changes you identify.

      The much (Over?) touted OpenRan is in it’s infancy with providers, large technical solutions etc still to be resolved. If Ministers tout it as an easy alternative to what we see fibre can provide, Don’t believe them.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      Exactly so.
      And of course the real whammy comes when after living ( for the sake of the relocated job) in an uncongenial dump, the govt. decides to lay-off staff, pack up the department and RETURN TO LONDON!
      Result..one uncongenial dump even worse than before…dereliction of ex govt buildings etc.
      Local businesses deprived of customers.
      Many redundant staff stranded in said dump and those who are “kept on” forced to commute, since of course, house prices in dump could never keep up with London prices.

    • dixie
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      I admit the first thing that leapt into mind after reading JRs blog was I bet this will be used to justify HS2.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        The money being spent on HS2 should be re-directed into promoting the establishment of manufacturing capabilities inside the UK. Grants for PPE factories would be a good starting point.

        • jerry
          Posted August 2, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

          @Sea Warrior; Indeed and also offering grants or tax incentives to help (not just PPE) companies who wish/can diversify their manufacturing locations, meaning that if a local lock-down has to be imposed on area A they have Areas B, even C and D to carry on their production.

          Away from the problem of CV19 this would also help in the govts aim of ‘levelling-up’, far more than playing “musical buildings” with the civil service departments or agencies – its been tried before, DVLA to Swansea, Pensions to Newcastle etc. Wasn’t one of the biggest wasters of tax payer money, during the Blair/Brown govt, of all people, the Audit commission with all their regional/seprate offices?

          • JoolsB
            Posted August 2, 2020 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

            Agreed – and one of the biggest insults that still exists is Student Finance England being based in Scotland. Any one in England who has to borrow £9,250 a year to study has to talk to anti English Scots (who pay nothing to study courtesy of the U.K. Government on behalf of the English taxpayer) and this Anti English Conservative Government have done bugger all to stop this humiliating process of having to ‘grovel’ to find out what is happening with their loans.

  7. Mike Stallard
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    Yesterday the Mail did a sort of survey on this. Out of tens of thousands of Civil Servants in London, mere hundreds were turning up to work.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Mere hundreds is probably all that is really needed. The rest should be released to get real jobs.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        Charlie Mullins would sort ’em out!

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 3, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

        Sounds like a carefully-researched, evidence-based analysis there.

        Could you perhaps say how many are required to administer e.g. transport infrastructure construction and maintenance, and why?

        Thanks.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      and hundreds of thousands of business people?

    • Mark B
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      The only thing that surprises me, although it shouldn’t, is the fact that we employ tens of thousands of CS’s. I now have to fill in forms on line and we no longer have an Empire to run plus, we have been subcontracting a lot of the work to the EU and others.

  8. Lifelogic
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    It is certainly a good time to use natural wastage and new technology to raise quality and productivity in service provision. But in the state sector this almost never happens. It is run mainly for the benefit of the people employed and run by the people employed. They have no interest at all in reducing numbers or cutting costs.

    Taxes and the state just get larger and larger. This while delivering less and less of any value and very often doing more and more that is actively damaging to the economy and damaging to productivity. Government must demand and actually deliver a far smaller state sector – but alas they never do.

    • Mark B
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      As you well know LL, in a private business there is no help when things go wrong. The competition from others always drives things, whether it be efficiency and / or invention. The State sector has no real competition so sees no need to deliver a better service. They are also heavily unionised, the unionions having moved out of private industry in the 80’s due to government legislation curtailing their power. This is why I advocate Free Schools and Private Healthcare as a non-taxable benefit. The State needs to face competition like they did with Compulsive Competitive Tendering (CCT). This was brought in by the Conservative government of the early 90’s as was aimed at councils. It was a really good idea as council departments had to compete for their services in the open market.

  9. Andy
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    The Institute for Government recently did a report on this.

    It found there are 445,000 civil servants. 89,000 of them work in London.

    This means 356,000 of them – 80% – don’t work in London.

    This is mostly about whinging northerners having a chip on their shoulder.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Yes, but the Tories are only in power thanks to a swing amongst whingeing northerners, and everything, but everything that they do is now aimed at keeping those votes.

      So they play to their prejudices and to their misconceptions.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

        The name calling begat the voting you dislike.

        You brought it upon yourselves.

      • Edward2
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

        Keep insulting the voters Martin.
        Should help keep Labour in opposition for many years to come.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 2, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think that very many Leave/Tory voters in that category read this blog – or very much else.

          • Lynn Atkinson
            Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

            I do. I also consider Cardiff to be beyond the pale.

          • Edward2
            Posted August 3, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

            The effect could be seen in the last election as the left in general talked in abusive terms (like you do Martin) towards anyone who didn’t think like they did.

        • bill brown
          Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

          Edeard 2

          I noticed you had nothing to say to hefner abou the value of £ to dollars gong back many years,

          This is a reflection of your lack of historical context and understanding as you have used the same approach with me.

          When you are out of your depth just let us know and we will of course be available to assist as we do with Nick C all the time.

          We are of course here to help. and assist even you

          • Edward2
            Posted August 3, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

            You still on this nonsense topic from days ago bill?
            Where both of you were unable to read and understand a simple sentence in your determination to respond abusively to any post I add.

            You are now sounding more like Hefner.
            All pompous and superior.
            Well typed by the way.

          • graham1946
            Posted August 3, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

            The day you produce some facts rather than snide comments will be a day of days. It’s the moat in the eye syndrome with you. Remove the plank and try to say something useful for once.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

        Martin, Andy . . . .I do wish you two would get together. You know, get a room or something!

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      This is mostly about whinging northerners having a chip on their shoulder.

      The whole economy of the North East is based on public sector j0bs.

      Incidentally, you didn’t answer when I asked the other day – how many asylum seekers do you think should be allowed to settle in this country?

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        Well, apart from Nissan, Go-Ahead Group, Bellway, Vertu Motors, The Sage Group, Barbour, Ringtons, Virgin Money Holdings, Greggs PLC., Northumbrian Water, Northern Powergrid, Magnet, Hays Travel, Elddis, Fenwick, Thorn Lighting, Fentimans, Newcastle United, – does Alan Shearer or Rowan Atkinson count – both one man corporation?
        95p in every £ received in ‘govt subsidies’ Comes from the Northern East in the first place.
        You have to be bright to make money up here, we don’t stand in a flood of money you can hardly avoid like the soft southerners!

        • Barry
          Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

          “like the soft southerners!”

          I grew up with this sort of claptrap.

          It needs to stop.

    • ukretired123
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      Andy you are forever whinging.
      You stereotype folks and paint them erroneously sadly. Your attitude is always negative and ageist like racism.

  10. Andy
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    The latest suggestions that over 50s should have to stay in lockdown while young people get on with their lives is welcome.

    We have put too much of our lives and our country on hold protecting the lives of the elderly – many of whom are very ungrateful about it.

    The Baby Boomer generation told us of the sacrifices they were prepared to make for Brexit. Well now your country is asking you to stay in and watch Countdown. We know many of you will struggle with this immense task.

    Seriously – we should let young people get on with their lives and older people can do what they like too. But they need to be made aware that if the NHS is deluged with patients age will become a determining factor on who gets treated. ie) if there is insufficient bed space due to a second wave overwhelming the health service, the 40 year old gets treated before the 65 year old. The 20 year old gets treated before the 40 year old.

    Then we all know where we stand.

    Reply So you want to deny treatment to older people and remove their pension income which a lifetime of NI payments was designed to secure. I will not post these proposals again, as they are provocative and unworkable.

    • beresford
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      The first over-50s to be put under house arrest should be Boris Johnson and Chris Whitty, since they have demonstrated a vulnerability to the virus. To minimise the risk of insanity spreading their communications with the outside world should be severed.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        +1

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      The lifetime of NI payments didn’t go to securing pensions, they were spent by the government of the day on election bribes, who with few years exception couldn’t balance the books and ended up borrowing more. Unlike private pensions which are properly invested, it’s a Ponzi scheme.

      • jerry
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        @Dave Andrews; Not sure what your point is.

        You think private pension contributions are held safely in bank deposit accounts, rather than invested (one of the reason the right always give as to why privatised utilities can not be renationalised), all investments are Ponzi schemes, thus we get the absurdity that a industry or private company is “to big to fail” and thus the tax payer ended up bailing them out of their debts to save the investors shirts!

      • A-tracy
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        The National Insurance Scheme was established on 5 July 1948 to provide unemployment benefit (It is very difficult to get unemployment benefit if you are part of a couple and put out of work, even though you are taxed as an individual and pay national insurance as an individual when it comes to taking out of the pot if you lose your job your partners income is taken into account and often people cant then claim), sickness benefit (this is paid full by the employer now plus holiday pay for the sick period), retirement pensions and other benefits in cases where individuals meet the contribution and other qualifying conditions.

        The National Insurance Fund Accounts present the receipts and payments for the financial year, as well as the balance on the Fund at the end of the year. The GB balance on the Fund at 31 March 2019 was £29.9 billion and was above the estimated minimum requirement throughout the year. No Treasury Grant was required in 2018-19.

        • jerry
          Posted August 2, 2020 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

          @A-tracy; I think you’ll find the first NI schemes pre-date 1948, more like 1911/12 (industrial health insurance/certain people unemployed)…

    • Sharon Jagger
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      Andy

      This all sounds rather patronising. Especially when you consider the number of people having their families later in life. How would that work? A 50 year old with 10 -15 year old children??

      I’m 63 and out and about quite happily, thank you.

      • davews
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        Andy your views don’t fit in with most who frequent these blogs. The latest suggestion from our lost its way government that all we over 50s should stay in is the silliest yet. There may have been a case in the early days for over 75s to stay in to reduce their vulnerability. In this late stage when hospital deaths are in single figures with many days with zero deaths and new ‘cases’ being based on a flawed PCR test with high false positives (you won’t see this mentioned in the MSM) it is ludicrous in the extreme and hopefully will make the masses realise we are all taken for a wide. The virus has gone, let us open up normally.

    • Fred H
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      reply to reply: banning Andy would not be unreasonable. All we read is old people this, old people that. Unsubtle hatred.

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Thank you John. Andy’s posts are very distasteful and he knows it. I feel he goes out of his way to be rude and as nasty as possible to the elderly.

    • jerry
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      With permission Sir John, having read your own reply to Andy;

      Fine Andy, have it your way, never though you would do the bidding of the hard right as has been so often posted by some commentators to this site!

      By all means Andy, you and your fellow unthinking and resentful 20 year old mates can go buy your own private medical insurance, along with your private pensions, but read the small print, make sure they provide such things as a A&E Ambulance service, and don’t cap ongoing medical treatment bills, or exclude pre-existing conditions etc. Remember all such NHS services that we ‘oldies’ have paid for will not be available to you and yours. At best, if you are uninsured, you will have to accept charity and perhaps a basic services like the US Medicare system. If you have not, or can not, buy a pension you’ll just have to work until the day you drop dead.

      The NHS will carry on treating the older generations just as before though, and the Sate will carry on paying out pensions, because we the older generations have already financed both via our NI (the clue is in the name…) and taxes. But with perhaps a tapering provision offered to those under 50 years of age as they will not be able to make full lifetime payments to their chosen private provision as your generation will.

      I don’t think you thought through your hate filled rant, just how a seismic shift in govt policy would actually primarily affect your own generation – you can’t have it both ways, keep the NHS for yourself but deign those who have already paid in the most over the last 70 odd years!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      We already have quality-adjusted life year or quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) as a measure of disease burden – the quality and the quantity of life saved used in economic evaluation to gauge the value of medical interventions.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        Jeepers.

        You wouldn’t want to be a typical Leave voter, would you?

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 2, 2020 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

          And you utterly discredited yourself when you said you found BLM rioting during a lockdown “exhilarating” .

          You really are all over the place, Martin.

          You never ever credit us with anything, do you ?

          You waxed lyrical about New Zealand and their people but fail to mention that out of their tiny population (unaffected by Islamic terrorism, unlike us) they managed to produce a white racist gunman who rampaged in a mosque.

          English people have never done that. They choose the ballot box.

          For this you malign them… which is why you’ve got Brexit in the first place.

          Enjoy !

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 2, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

            Nah.

            That’s not why we’ve got brexit.

            It’s because you are putty in your masters’ hands.

          • Fred H
            Posted August 2, 2020 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

            MARTIN – – I am so glad you are not putty. I can sleep soundly.

          • czerwonadupa
            Posted August 2, 2020 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

            MiC All the paymasters were for Remain that’s why there has been such wailing & gnashing of teeth for the past 4 years by them & you & why their ball of putty walked away after the shock result to be replaced by an equally malleable ball of putty who also failed them. Why?
            Because Freedom is an extinguishable flame.

          • Anonymous
            Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

            Martin

            We tried and tried to tell Parliament that we were unhappy with *uncontrolled* immigration.

            Brexit came after a long succession of votes, in fact. It did not come from nowhere. The subject of mass immigration was made taboo by saying that we were anti *immigrant* which is a lie.

            My class (working) has done far more than yours in terms of interracial babies, music and general culture and I attended a school near Brixton which was 40% black in the 70s/80s.

            (Though more kids from my school went to borstal than university I came away with better A levels than Prince Harry. )

          • Martin in Cardiff
            Posted August 3, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

            And what the Dickens has leaving the European Union got to do with controlling immigration?

            Historically nearly all of it has come from the ex-British Empire, over which the UK has always had sovereign control.

            As I say, you answered a different question in the referendum.

    • bigneil(newercomp)
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Reply to Reply

      What about who is paying for all those new “English” people who are already having more spent on them for having got here – than a working class pensioner who has worked/paid tax for over 40 years? The new arrivals haven’t, and probably never will, contribute a penny to what they use or want here. Yet, as the boats just keep coming, OUR bills for THEIR lives, just goes up and up – and the govt says words – NO action. The deliberate, organised and planned, destruction of our country, nation and culture, by our own govt, is blatantly clear for all to see.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      Yes but Andy DOES get published!
      Seeding these ideas of old age being an avoidable sin.
      You reach a certain age and are expendable according to (his?) rules! Whose mouthpiece is he?
      Softening us up?
      How to influence behaviour? Nudge, nudge.
      Too many people so the old will have to give way? Rationing of healthcare.
      And now what is this? Over 50s to be locked in? No more workplace for them then?
      That’s the way to do it!

      • A-tracy
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

        The old already blinked Everhopeful! They have given away a lot, especially full time working women, when Blair and Brown following Eu rules equalised pension ages for men and women, the full time working women lost not just their State pension at 60 but gradually those born after 1954 have also to ensure their partner and their own age rising to 68. They also had to continue paying employees national insurance over 60 that their elders didn’t so for every year they had to continue to work before they could get their pension it cost them approx £10k. We were warned of it, the majority just chose to turn the other way and not protest about it at the time, it was frequently on the news and in the papers but women being women often relied on their partners for financial information – big mistake.

        The 1960s baby boom generation often working from the age of 16 will now be working until they’re 68, these women were the ones encouraged to work full time and only take 6-18 weeks maternity leave per child to be economically active and more independent- we paid for the ones before us and Andy wants us to pay for all those behind us too. The ponzi ni scheme is going to go boom 💥.

    • BOF
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      I wonder what Andy will be posting about the elderly in thirty years time?

      • Fred H
        Posted August 3, 2020 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        Logan’s Run will have happened – but the crucial age most likely around 60, not 21. Andy would be ‘renewed’ on introduction!

    • Anonymous
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      I’m over fifty and under sixty. This is what I did this morning (I’m still in my training gear):

      – 17 minutes of uphill sprinting HIIT

      – 16 minutes of Tabata using a 32kg kettlebell

      – 7 minutes abs calisthenics

      It’s hell but doesn’t take long and I owe a responsibility to my family, my boss, the NHS and me to keep myself in good condition whilst I am still blessed with mobility.

      If you want to really save the NHS lose weight and in two years I have got rid of two stones. I’m sorry to be evangelical about it but if you have mobility and can get fit this truly is like an elixir and is the most rewarding thing you can ever do.

      I weigh 12 1/2 stone BMI 23.1 and will spend the afternoon bouldering with my boys.

      The government should let us all make our own decisions on this disease which is showing a survival rate towards 99.xx % with the vast majority of people not even realising they’ve had it.

      – the face coverings are unspecified in quality so I take it they are being advised for political reasons.

      – where has the advice about washing hands gone ??? Was it important or not ?

      – The clap trap about “schools or pubs – one must go” smacks of authoritarianism.

      – Boris has already backed off about an obvious CV19 and NHS risk and that’s obesity. Obviously Political Correctness is more important than saving lives from CV-19… again political.

      – Why has the mission gone from being “Flatten the curve, save the NHS” to “Irradicate CV-19 totally” ? Yup – political. We are in the realms of international league tables and competition (note that no-one points out that New Zealand – with its far lower population and racial mix – managed to produce a racist mass murderer who rampaged in a mosque whereas the much maligned English have never done that, despite having over ten times the population.)

      – Apparently our police are racist because they issue more fines to BAMEs for lockdown breaches and…

      – … the government is racist because BAMEs die roughly in proportion to the fines issued by police – go figure. The BBC won’t join the dots because it doesn’t fit their BLM narrative – it prefers to present what Churchill did as news on News at Ten.

      Then the worst thing. Even worse than destroying our kid’s futures economically – we are about to inject their healthy, infinitely low risk bodies with a vaccine which has been rushed through. Again, political.

      Ours (and most other governments) cannot admit that they’ve ***ed this up right royally and need something to be able to sidle out of it. They are desperate for a vaccine not to save lives but to get them 0ut of the s**t.

      The economic depression that is about to hit us is going to be utterly horrific – the sort that often leads to war.

      Then we’ll know the cure is far worse than the disease.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

        PS, Andy. Hide your assets. We are about to go full-on confiscatory, high tax socialist.

        The People will be after everything spare that you’ve got.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          Not just the spare 😂😂 – take the over 50s out of society and nothing will happen. Zilch, the kids will stare at their navel and mutter about how unfair it all is.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Off topic but post of the day.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        The pubs MUST stay open but I don’t much care of the segments of society spreading COVID around – such as beered-up twenty-somethings – are barred from them!
        P.S. I was in my local cafe/bar/restaurant this morning, reading the Times. It’s COVID-secure and the regulars were doing their bit too. Tomorrow, it resumes 7-day week opening, starts participating in EOTHO, and – presumably – might be calling in more staff off furlough. My local, large general hospital hasn’t had a COVID death in TWO MONTHS. Actions to deal with local outbreaks must be kept local.

      • BOF
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

        A very, very good post Anon.

        • Anonymous
          Posted August 2, 2020 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

          Thanks (and to NS)

          I thank God that Boris wasn’t our WW2 PM. This is not the time and the place for his buffoonery.

          He has been beguiled by a narrow scientific elite into a policy of zero-Covid.

          This is an economy crushing, freedom suffocating creed and I abhor it. I mourn the life I had before – we all should.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Although I am used to Andy’s aggressive ageism to be fair to him the country is full of ageism and young privilege; he is not alone in his lack of understanding and wisdom.

      Nevertheless, I am sure Andy would want to recognise the sacrifices that many elderly have made to date during the epidemic. I do not just mean the elderly who have died of CV19 whilst imprisoned in care homes, I mean the elderly in care homes who lost GP visits, the elderly whose dressings stopped being changed, the elderly who have lost their hip and knee operations possibly forever forced into painful immobility etc – there has been real mental and physical suffering.

      In terms of Andy’s more general point relating personal behaviour to a right to emergency services, I think this may be worth discussing. Should people (usually not elderly) who go tombstoning be given care, should people who drink heavily and get into violence be treated (the weekend A&E youth), should smokers/vapers be treated, should people injured protesting be treated? Should overweight or Type2 diabetic young people be treated? The list goes on. (Perhaps it is a little similar to the Govt punishing savers for the past 10 to 15 years but bailing out the reckless)

      In terms of health spending and quality of life, there may well be a reason to revisit the argument to spend less trying to extend the final year of life in very elderly and direct that to extending the middle years.

      The one thing that is certainly known with respect to differences between younger and older is brain development. The prefrontal cortex, on average, is not fully developed until about 25 yrs old (sometimes even older). There is then clear reason for increasing the voting age to at least 25, and for increasing sentences for under 25s for criminal activity (there is less internal restraint, control has to come from outside).

    • Caterpillar
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      There are plenty of people in the 50 to 60 bracket providing care, visits, and shopping to relatives and neighbours who are in the 70 to 100 bracket. I think a 50 year old cut off would be disastrous; even the 40-something Mr Hancock could not be this dumb – though maybe he could.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        In fact it is exactly that age bracket that is doing the caring whilst still supporting their own young.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      if there is insufficient bed space due to a second wave overwhelming the health service, the 40 year old gets treated before the 65 year old.

      Talk about arse about face. The 65 year old has paid a LOT MORE TAX than the 40 year old. The 65 year old should be treated first. And, going back a bit further, anyone who served their country – in ANY capacity (land girl, soldier, typist in the war office etc.) – in the Second World War – should be treated as top priority. They have not only paid a lot more tax, they also saved the country from subjugation by a foreign power.

      Get a grip. Your obsession with youth is weird. Why do you value the young so much? They have contributed nothing – apart from a load of photos on social media. Not much of value there.

      By the way, how many asylum seekers do you think this country should take.

  11. Fred H
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Yes more Civil Service jobs should move out of the South East, mainly located in London. Serious examination needs to take place in order to trim the headcount accordingly to work delivery and the value of that body of work.

  12. Everhopeful
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    So for whose benefit are we now going to empty London?
    In sane times it was a safe city with housing for every pocket.
    Safe cheap tubes and buses too.
    What a terrible mess the politicians have made of OUR lives!
    And yet still they meddle.

  13. Alan Jutson
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Given the appalling lack of service from Banks, Government Departments, Local Authorities, and even many commercial businesses in recent months, with people so called working from home, it all seems to be a disaster.

    Fully aware it was all done in a bit of a panic with little time to pre-plan, but many organisations simply failed to provide any real service, or even any information at all when needed.

    Exactly how secure is working from home when a simple link from a home computer into the main frame systems, surely such an arrangement can be much more easily hacked by those who wish to cause chaos, or enrich themselves at others expense..

    Yes by all means get workers out of London, but for goodness sake then just pay the local rate.

    Given Scotland wants independence sooner rather than later, I would not transfer a single person or any Department north of the English border.

    Yes home working is possible for some, but it is certainly not the answer for many at the moment.

  14. Bryan Harris
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    There can be little said about having all civil servants located in 1 place, now that technology can help. A combination of local offices, for those that cannot self-motivate, and a home office for those that have the space is the answer, wherever people live around the country,
    I don’t like anything to do with an automated ‘output oriented approach to working’. A person’s manager should know if they are working effectively, but there are ways to create a specific result for individuals that can be graphed and published. It is then easy to see how much is being achieved, week by week. If a person’s statistics stay static that suggests the person could work harder. if the graph goes down that shows unproductivity — The graphs showing a steady increase, overall (with occasional dips), show an individual doing his job effectively.

  15. Sharon Jagger
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Where civil servants work is immaterial. It is their mind-set that is the issue.

    For some reason, the civil service seems to attract a type of person who are often full of their own self importance and just loves bureaucracy and gold plating. And of course the present lot are still geared to working EU style and for the EU. This will take time to filter out.

    Moving sections out of London might just empower them without scrutiny from London …don’t know! (Parochial Council superiority??)

    That’s probably unhelpful, but without a change of mind-set…

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Do actually know anything about it at all?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      The state sector are spending other people’s money on things for other people. They care not what they spend not what if any real value they or the public get back. So longs as they get paid and have a gold plated pension and perhaps a gong or two later.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      I guess that all this is about doing everything online?
      Can’t say that I like the AI “Customer Service” robot things online or on the phone.
      A robot is far, far more implacable than a stroppy human when you have a complicated issue to sort out.
      And when false parking tickets, various certificates, overpayments, incorrect payments etc etc can not be sorted….
      Well…you just keep on paying and maybe the fines just keep on mounting.
      There was a lot to be said for humans being in charge.

  16. Jessica Hallom
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    There is far more of a case for just having less civil servants. Less is more should not just be a motto for all of government, it should be an absolute requirement.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      +1, 100% agree.

    • Wonky Moral Compass
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Indeed, but what are the chances of it happening? Some departments, at least, are still swelling their middle ranks.

      Take a look at the job section of The Guardian. The DFT, for example, were recently recruiting for 50 additional policy leads on a salary of £47k. There was also a generous £6k allowance for those choosing the option to be based in London rather than outside of the capital.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        Why would anyone advertise in the Guardian unless you want left wing, pro EU, magic money tree believing dope with a head full of deluded climate alarmism, a chip on the shoulder and a worthless degree or two in gender studies, media studies or similar? And why would anyone want that?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted August 2, 2020 at 11:38 am | Permalink

          Other than the BBC and Government I suppose

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

      We certainly want less Boris!

  17. Everhopeful
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Just as the govt used private, small time landlords to create a blueprint so the industry can be ( soon) easily handed over to huge housing “trusts” so they will do this with all jobs.
    Abandon the office and your cities, work from home ( losing whatever worker rights you ever had) and prepare for your job to be sent overseas or to be badly done by AI.
    “They” have always done this sort of thing! It is not new.
    Land to cottage-industry to factory to war to office. We all thought we were doing OK… maybe too well? But no…all change again.
    And as ever it is blindly cheered on!
    Ave Boris! Morituri te salutant ( or words to that effect!)

  18. alastair harris
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    its the wrong question. It doesn’t actually matter where they work, and we know that there are examples of large departments or at least service provision for large departments being based outside of the capital. The important question is how to reduce the numbers. You can have an argument about the size government could be, but this is an argument about how large the administration should be to deliver the size of government WE HAVE. And the harsh fact is our administration is bloated beyond belief. Half it and it would still be bloated.

  19. John E
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    I see the Telegraph reports that Boris is planning to seal off Greater London in yet another of his crazy Covid flip flops – a lockdown so we don’t have a lockdown.
    Has his government declared war on London? Could he do much more damage if he did?

    • Mark B
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Don’t worry, people will still be allowed to fly in and out of Heathrow and Gatwick, even from other major infected areas, so we won’t be entirely cut off 😉

      • Everhopeful
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        Someone commented in the telegraph that the attention given to the dinghy people is being used to divert attention from the vast numbers coming in legally, every single week!
        All through our imprisonment.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Well, when it reaches the point where almost everyone who voted Tory knows someone whom they like, who died of covid 19, the re-election chances of Johnson and his crew will be rather slim, I think.

      So perhaps he is trying to avert that?

      I know of three so far.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        I know of none.

        This is not the black death we were prepared to expect.

        However, the cratered economy is about to become obvious to all in the coming weeks and will hurt literally EVERYONE.

        Boris is going to be utterly hated.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

          +1

      • ed2
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

        So perhaps he is trying to avert that?

        I know of three so far.

        >
        Names and addresses or retract than an attempt at emotional propaganda.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        You voted Tory? – – or proving voting elsewhere can also know of the deaths?
        Were the 3 in Cardiff?

        So you blame Johnson for Covid, rather than the u-turning, ill-timed, confusing, disastrous advice clearly communicated by all manner of scientists, health leaders and ministers?

    • BOF
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      Should your question be, has Boris declared war on the whole country?

    • Lifelogic
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      The tax system with 28% unindexed CGT, Inheritance tax, 15% stamp duty, the removal of child benefits and loss of personal allowance for many. the double taxation of landlord interest and the many fiscal attacks on non Doms is largely a war against Londoners and the South East. The chance of a large second wave in London is rather low I suspect. This as so many have already been exposed and are not vulnerable to it in London. Why else did it die away so much?

  20. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Civil servants get paid the same at the same levels wherever they work in the country. The 80% of civil servants based outside London are already pushing up the cost of living for those in areas where they pick up their wages and pensions.

    If you want to move more civil servants out of London addressing central wages is the first place to start.

    Home working. As a necessity it has tided us over but GDP has fallen off a cliff and productivity falls will be in the mix somewhere. Everyone behaved for the first month, scared of losing their jobs, and then familiarity set in and just hanging out the washing or doing the hoovering became the norm. I know my hour of exercise at lunchtime prior to lunch has brnefitted me. My employer possibly not so much.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 11:01 pm | Permalink

      I worked from home for 30 years. As a software developer, I know lots of others who have done the same. Never worked harder. Working in an office you spend half your time gassing.

  21. SM
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Regarding opinions about the Civil Service and its personnel, I recently came across the following when reading a novel published in 1917 (the narrator is a backbench junior Liberal MP):

    “At one end of the club’s dining room, [my host] showed me a disillusioned close corporation of invertebrate Civil Servants, counting the days till they could abandon their judicious sterility and retire on a pension.”

    So much for ‘the good old days’!

  22. David Magauran
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    I don’t think the present need for home working will last. Staff will still be required in offices on a regular, rotational, basis. Many tasks can only be done on site. What we don’t want is a rerun of the botched reorganisation of the NHS. Many people cannot adequately work from home and/or cannot be trusted. Moving many of the government offices to other parts of the country is well overdue but there will be the small matter of the total relocation expense.

  23. oldwulf
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    “Civil Service Working”

    Is that an oxymoron ?

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      No, but “benefits of brexit” is.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

        oxymoron requires ‘Brexit benefits’ – – but we know what you mean.

        Perhaps EU benefits would be more easily understood as an oxymoron.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

        There are no civil servants. You try ringing any government office. There is no-one answering the phones.

  24. Iain Gill
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    We dont need as many civil servants (or people working for the big consultancies permanently on public sector work who are essentially civil servants too).

    Simplify things. Simplify tax and benefits systems dramatically would take away the need for 80% of the admin, reduce the civil service head count, and reduce public sector costs.

    Simplify the MOD, outsource most of the stuff that the public sector is rubbish at delivering, and outsource the majority of management of outsourced deals too.

    Disband the obvious failing organisations, like the Financial Ombudsman Service, and replace with something half decent.

    Needs brave politicians but we cannot sustain such high cost bases for the overheads on the productive.

    As for where they are based, its a bit more complicated, the BBC has tried to move people to the North West from London and pretty much completely failed in that endeavour. So lessons need to be learnt from that.

    • Ed M
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      @Iain,

      Whichever political system you apply, it’s not going to radically reduce tax.

      If the poor in this country don’t get their social welfare, they’ll be chaos, impacting on the rich (there already is to a degree especially in London).

      If we want to radically reduce tax, then we have to increase sense of patriotism / public duty / work ethic – where people take responsibility for their own individual lives and depend far more on families – than the state – when things go wrong in every sense including financial. And really love their country, as an extension of their love for their family. This isn’t something new. But part of our Christian / Greco-Roman culture / history.

      And how do we achieve that? Through traditional Christianity, culture and education.

      Regarding education, we desperately need people such as Jordan Peterson over here in the UK, telling things as they really are. He’s brilliant. A real thinker. And Cambridge University had the gall not to renew his fellowship – instead they crumbled to the left-wing / liberal element in the university, treating Jordan Peterson with derision.

      I have great respect towards the university. It is a truly great university. But to treat Jordan Peterson like this is just shameful.

      • Iain Gill
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

        yep I agree with all that. but there are masses of waste in the circa 50% of the national income which the public sector spends, we need to be radical with that.

        as for getting people to “do the right thing” then you need to help them do that, so state benefits should be higher for people who have paid in most of their adult life than those who have not, savings should be encouraged and disregarded in benefits claims, people with X years accident free/conviction free driving should get negative points on their licence to counteract the nonsense of many of the current points handed out for trivia, individuals to control their own health/housing/school budgets and decide where to take the payouts, stop allocation and rationing of services and postcode lotteries, and so much more…

        • Ed M
          Posted August 3, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

          I agree with all this.

          I also think we really need to think about re-introducing national service (both military-style national service and public-duty national service like visiting or helping the old – boys and girls can choose one or the other) at least for 3 months. They sort of have in Sweden i believe. And you still have it in Switzerland, i think.

          National service is fun / sense of adventure. But also about instilling sense of patriotism / public duty, and also self-discipline – just getting up early, making your bed properly, making sure your clothes are clean and tidy, and going on parade would have significant benefits, helping to turn boys into men, and girls into women (I think there should be military style training – which might generally appeal more to boys, and public duty tasks like visiting and helping the old – which might generally appeal more to girls).

          • Ed M
            Posted August 3, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

            During national service, boys and girls can also do other things to make sure they doing something useful, it could be doing courses on how to think properly and logically, introduction to digital marketing and coding, medical emergency training, how to set up a business, introduction to accountancy, things like that – really useful things that would be offered for free.

          • Ed M
            Posted August 3, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

            Also, give the boys and girls free passes to visit various British cultural sites and to experience British arts and culture in general.

            National service should be challenging and useful but also interesting / inspiring as well.

          • Ed M
            Posted August 3, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

            National service like this would have significant positive effects, that would benefit the country greatly in the medium to long-term.

            (Also, courses on home finance – essentially courses to help boys and girls understand and how to deal with their responsibilities in life. To take personal responsibility for themselves. There is also huge personal satisfaction in this).

            The government can do this.

          • Iain Gill
            Posted August 3, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

            I did a post grad course with a bunch of Greek nationals who had done their Greek national service. I dont think any of them were impressed, or improved any over what they would have been if they had not done it. I think its romantic fantasy.

            On the other hand some communities who never take any of the risks of society need calling out, but it would take a brave politician to do it as it would be seen an non politically correct.

          • Ed M
            Posted August 3, 2020 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

            @Iain

            Yes, I can see the dangers of National Service if is it not done properly. If it is just done by bureaucrats, say, for the sake of.

  25. William Long
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    It is an interesting illustration of attitudes towards and within the Civil Service that you think the question even needs to be asked: Civil Sevants should work wherever it is most efficient for them to do their jobs, and they should be located for that reason, and not just because it might look good to have more of them in a particular place, like moving the House of Lords to York.
    It is very clear that one good outcome of the Covid saga will be a change for the better in the way almost every office based person works and this should apply to the Civil Service just as to commercial employees. I was told recently by a farmer neighbour, that one of his daughters who is employed by the Child Support Agency, used to have to attend a fornightly meeting in Newcastle, lasting about 1 1/2 hours maximum, to which she flew from Exeter. It now takes place by video link with considerable savings in time and money and it is to be hoped that this will continue. The big question that the Civil Service has to answer, is why it took a pandemic to make all of this happen? It is this apparent ‘Can’t do – we don’t do it this way’ attitude that needs to change in the Civil Service, and that is a much bigger problem than location of offices.

  26. Iain Gill
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I see the government is simultaneously funding advertising telling us to “get out more, do more of the things you like to do” and other adverts telling us how bad Covid is and can we all please restrict our movements. If just seems like an uncoordinated flow of money into advertising which is confused at best.

    Please ask them to start being consistent.

  27. Tim Hedges
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I have felt for many years that civil servants should be moved out of London, but the main reason is to give them some insight into how non-Londoners live. The Home Office should be somewhere there is a lot of crime, such as Nottingham and the Foreign Office as far from Europe as possible (Swansea?)

    • Peter
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      Swansea already has the DVLC.

      I remember civil servants from my area being moved to Nottingham too. They were in old fashioned Nissan Hut buildings! I assume the Nottingham accommodation would be better.

      It included ‘variety of uses from the MAFF and Ministry of Defence to the Directorate of Overseas Surveys; in its heyday it was reported to have employed over 1,000 people. It was finally vacated by the last 370 MAFF staff in October 1998 in preparation for sale.’

      It would be a bit much for Nottingham to get The Home Office too.

      • Peter
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        A sign of the times that Nissen hut gets automatically changed to name of a Japanese motor manufacturer.

  28. A.Sedgwick
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    There is much talk about divisions in our country but one that will increase and has been accelerated by Covid is the disparity between public and private sector workers. At some point the national debt will reaching a tipping point and taxes will have to increase significantly to pay for the state’s gross errors, excesses and the blind eyes of many in government, past and present. Then the tax contributors as opposed to the tax re-cyclers will increasingly vote with their feet or become a less placid majority.

  29. Christine
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Your party has destroyed thousands of jobs on the Fylde coast in Lancashire. Three major civil service sites have been demolished, replaced by more housing. This accommodation used to be the cheapest in the country and there was a pool of well-educated workers to recruit from. The jobs have moved to Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle. None of which had an employment shortage. Now you have the audacity to suggest moving jobs out of the cities. You couldn’t make this up it’s like an episode out of Yes Minister. I blame George Osborne and his Power House of The North. An enquiry needs to look into who benefitted from these policies.

  30. Caterpillar
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    I agree that there is potentially some levelling up through the distribution of civil servants around the country. Nonethless, I think the main benefit can flow from distributing the highest level civil servants around the country. I want more of these people to directly experience living in the violent, impoverished and even trivially fly-tipped areas, with little or no culture or opportunities. This is not meant as a ‘let’s get them’ policy as, say, Andy would aim at the elderly, it is simply that I do not believe sufficient well positioned people really ‘feel’ the depth of the problems.

    I would write a list of the 5 most violent cities and 10 most impoverished cities/large towns and consider the viability of putting the highest level CSs in these areas.

  31. Fred H
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Back to the main topic.
    ‘5 live’ radio carried a mention this morning of the idea, threat?, that the over 50s might be told they must go into lockdown all over again!

    That age group are NOT the spreaders or risk takers! When is the Government going to take measures that are effective in stopping the 15 to 40 ignoring any level of mixing, distancing, partying etc? The more we venture out in public the more we see that age group behaving as if there is no Virus threat, they seem quite unwilling to assist us old’uns in keeping at least 1m apart. Groups walk chatting, jogging, cycling, partying…

    Then it has to be said — there are cultural and religious norms that defy the instructions and risks. Any attempt to address religious festivals where people mix, hug, share contact raises persecution protests.

    The Government continues to wave instructions about destroying plans made for weeks ahead, preparations and physical steps to deal with the need for life and economy to carry on. The output often seems like placing conflicting ideas on bits of paper in a bag, stirring them round and drawing out 3 or 4 for this week, a new batch for next week!

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      You have mistaken what the MSM scaremonger with the truth.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        I’m gald you suggest the idea, or threat is merely a scaremonger.

  32. Anonymous
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Yes.

    For goodness sakes. What are the people living in without-permission housing to do for a living now that homes are to be built on factory and farm sites ???

    We could do with more power, more reservoirs, more schools, better roads.

    What do we get ? HS2 and rabbit hutches and no Help to Move for little old ladies living on their own in 5 bed detached houses.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      Well if the Human Rights Act were repealed then everyone would lose the Right To Peaceful Enjoyment Of Possessions, and the Government could do what it liked about those little old ladies, as you seem to wish.

      Oh, and much else too, that you yourself would not like, but it would be too late then.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

        Sanctity of Private Property in the U.K. are not based on ‘rights’ but in freedom under the law. We had them, and our own safeguards (like Haebus Corpus) before most of the member stats even existed, much less the God Forsaken EU.
        Have you had no education at all?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 3, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

          I suggest that you look at Thatcher’s Acquisition Of Land Act 1981, Lynn, before writing of “the sanctity of private property.”

          Have you no education at all?

          • Edward2
            Posted August 3, 2020 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

            Why so rude ?
            Just explain.
            No need for abuse.
            Not everyone is as so clever as you.

      • Anonymous
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

        If *Help* to Buy then why not *Help* to Move ?

    • Fred H
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know any little old ladies living in 5 bed homes. I’ll have to take your word for that. I could offer to mow their lawn – might have the house left to me in her will?

  33. James1
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    O/t. So the government is introducing measures to encourage healthier eating options. At the same time they are introducing measures to enable discounts to be claimed at numerous restaurants and food establishments, including McDonalds, Burger King, Nando’s, Costa Coffee and KFC. ???

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      Yes..well…whisper it gently but that IS the govt’s idea of “healthy eating”.
      Demonstrably!

    • Sea Warrior
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      Quit complaining, James, and start scoffing! I’ll be going every week. It’s time to help out the Hospitality industry.

  34. Ian @Barkham
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    The oft drum banged come election time is a small government, less government and less interference from government. It all dies they day the get elected.

    Irony; when their was a British Empire there were less people running it than there is running some local councils.

    Democracy starts when it is the people in the communities choose their candidates and fund the election campaigns from within that community. Elected representatives start to represent the people they serve and not the Gang the belong to.

    This Government just kicked the whole population in the teeth by expanding and not reducing the upper house. Packing a revising chamber that does not have a mandate from the people is no different from any other dictatorship.

    • ChrisS
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      Few would argue that, with the exception of the nepotic appointment of Boris’ brother to the upper house, most of the new appointments bring fresh and intelligent views to the House of Lords. This especially applies to the ex-Labour Brexiteers, who I have always thought I would have voted for had I been one of their constituents.

      What is needed is a compulsory retirement age for the Upper House of, say 80 years of age. That would fairly rapidly reduce the numbers to manageable proportions. A vote could be held in the House of Commons to extend a particular Peer’s tenure by a maximun of five years for the truly exceptional and valuable member.

      • The Prangwizard
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        I would suggest there ought to be rules on attendance and participation. Fall below a level and members lose their rights.

        • Lynn Atkinson
          Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

          And title.

      • Sea Warrior
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        80 is far too high! Very few people are capable of working at that age. Anyone above 70 putting themselves on the ballot for a company directorship at AGM time doesn’t get this shareholder’s ‘X’.

        • Fred H
          Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

          Oh dear. Plan your retirement soon, Sir John!

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

        Few would argue that, with the exception of the nepotic appointment of Boris’ brother to the upper house, most of the new appointments bring fresh and intelligent views to the House of Lords.

        Most would argue the House of LORDS (touches forelock) should either be abolished or changed to an elected, much smaller chamber.

  35. Ian @Barkham
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    There is despair amongst those mainly silent majority that want to stand up be counted and contribute to the Country, when Government perpetually flies in the face of Common Sense, Dignity and creating a strong Democracy.

    Keep ripping it apart and all the Civil Service in the World couldn’t hold it together. We need a good, strong civil service backed by a full democratic mode of Government. All we get is self interest and self preservation paid for by those that get ignored.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      The “ignored” must make themselves seen and heard.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

        Oh, they already did that – it’s a precondition of being ignored 😆

  36. Roy Grainger
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    “Change of course should be carried out at a pace and in a manner which respects the needs of existing staff who have based their lives around the current pattern of office provision. “

    Why ? I was relocated a few times at short notice with no consultation or “respect” working in the private sector including between different countries. My option if I didn’t like it was to resign. No staff ever want to relocate, you’ve just got to get on and do it. Of course the civil service will ensure it never happens.

    Off topic but the government seem very silent on the free ports idea ? Ditched in order to placate the EU ?

    • The Prangwizard
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      That’s a me too. I was relocated seven times, which included my wife six times and our children three times, with their loss of friends and change of schools. The moves involved cities around England so big distances.

      I’m not interested in our host’s desperation, as usual, to avoid confrontation and to sound so absolutely totally reasonable, this time with so-called civil servants. And one of my moves included London so I know what it’s like there. They won’t want to move while they are sitting in the area on property increasing in value far more than anywhere else but they ought to be made to move like the rest of us.

      It’s time the London civil service were transferred to the real world.

  37. Will in Hampshire
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm, there are roughly 100,000 civil servants in London. If half of them get moved out, that’s about 0.1% of the working age population of Great Britain.
    I don’t think moving the civil service around is going make any meaningful difference at all in the grand scheme of things.

  38. Cbb
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    In 100 years time, the global population will be just 500 million, Utopia! We will have saved the planet and can live sustainably. This is why mandatory Covid 19 vaccines are so important, it is our one and only chance!

  39. forthurst
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    This is very much putting the cart before the horse. The Civil service has been organising itself since their means of communication was the quill pen. The Civil Service needs to be subject to external examination; what is required is a Civil Service Doomsday Book which establishes what every Civil Servant is doing and where within a chain of command. Especial focus should be on those who are responsible for executing government policy whether extant or not. How well individuals are qualified to perform their roles is a essential information: the Civil Service has a preference for recruiting Arts graduates who by definition are therefore unqualified and should not be engaged in any activity that requires an understanding of Mathematics, Science or Engineering. The dire decision making on defence and epidemic healthcare and the loss of much of our technological industry to foreign predators cannot be blamed solely on politicians with useless Arts degrees if they are being advised by equally useless Civil Servants.

    Once the Civil Service has been scrutinised in depth then the next stage is the Great Cull where all the most useless and unproductive Civil Servants engaged in pointless activity can be pensioned off. Finally, deployment of the new streamlined civil service can be determined.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      It’s “Domesday Book”, and you seem to have swallowed the rubbish taught in the 1960s about what it contained, and why it was compiled.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

        what did it contain, and why was 1960s teaching rubbish?
        Where would we be without your correcting and mentoring?

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 3, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

          We were wrongly taught that the book detailed the existing ownership of land around the time of the Norman Conquest.

          In fact, it detailed how William I carved it up amongst his clan, after usurping the title personally, to every square inch of England.

          That fundamental misconception, planted in the minds of nine-year-olds, denied many a proper understanding of their own country.

      • forthurst
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

        A modern allegory so no reason to utilise Middle English when the original was written in Latin.

    • Peter
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

      ‘External examinations’ were introduced in the mid nineteenth century for prospective civil servants. Trevelyan, whose idea it was, had previously worked in the Indian Civil Service.

      I assume Civil Servants get an annual appraisal like people in the private sector. I would also assume they have a written job description and various goals and targets.

      They can’t all be sitting around drinking tea and doing the crossword – even the Arts graduates.

  40. Original Richard
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    I find it extraordinary that I never seem to read of any civil servant being sacked for incompetence, malfeasance, corruption or misbehaviour.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Nor of bin men, bank clerks, or butcher’s assistants.

      Funny, that.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

        Nor of bin men, bank clerks, or butcher’s assistants.

        Most will attest to having had a number of utterly useless schoolteachers. They are never sacked.

        Funny that.

        • Martin in Cardiff
          Posted August 3, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

          I must have been lucky.

          • Mike Wilson
            Posted August 3, 2020 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

            I think not. You seem unable to think outside the box and keep parroting received wisdom.

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 3, 2020 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        Martin, the responsible positions that carry salaries bigger than the PM aren’t bin-men, bank clerks or butchers assistants. We pay people six-figure salaries to ensure risk assessments are carried out for viruses including protective equipment stores that had many missing items from if this was all in the private sector people on the left would be braying for heads let alone dismissal.

    • oldwulf
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      @Original Richard. I understand that the sacking of civil servants has been known to happen, but at the junior levels.

      • Fred H
        Posted August 3, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        sacking – extremely rare, redundancies – once in a while.

      • a-tracy
        Posted August 3, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

        The government has a horrendous record on dismissals often causing massive payouts due to failure to follow procedures properly not that the person dismissed should have been sacked from that responsible post they didn’t want or weren’t capable of being responsible for.

  41. XYXY
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely. I’ve been saying this for years – output-based monitoring.

    The last figure I saw was that there are over 3 million civil servants. This creates a massive imbalance in the economy of the south east, housing costs etc so spreading this around the country helps with the “levelling up” agenda (or at least, the “levelling”).

    Having 3 million people artificially employed in one area has to be a major root cause of the disruption in our society.

    It would also help strengthen the bonds of the Union by having administrative functions in or closer to the other nations. Does the minister charged with Scotland need to be based in London? Would that role not be better based in Scotland and dialling in for Cabinet meetings once a week, with the occasional fly-in? If remote voting and debating were allowed in the HoC, it would be much easier to do this.

  42. Anonymous
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Off topic but friend of a friend has just bought his wife a £4m house in a beautiful coastal location.

    “Win the lottery or something ?”

    “No. Sold PPE to the NHS. A good year. ”

    Poor old Sir Capt Tom Moore. Poor old NHS Covid staff putting life at risk.

    • Martin in Cardiff
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      It’s the Private Sector.

      You can’t knock it.

      • Lynn Atkinson
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

        It’s the idiot state sector that was soooooo unprepared!

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted August 2, 2020 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

        It’s the Private Sector.

        You can’t knock it.

        Yes, folks – he is serious. Doesn’t seem to realise that it is the PUBLIC sector that is placing the orders and paying the bills.

  43. formula57
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    So “The civil service could move more towards an output oriented approach to working.”!!!!!!!

    You will be advocating Dr. Cartwright’s failure standards next!

  44. David Brown
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Sir JR, A bit off topic although may be related to Civil Service.
    You know my views differ with yours on some subjects (not many), however we all agree getting the economy working is essential, and we have discussed the self employed and hospitality sector.
    So in the middle of this Pandemic why the hell cannot the Gov get to grips with knee jerk comments that get blown into headlines. By this I mean “Pubs or Schools” according to reports pubs must close again so schools can all reopen. I assume all restaurants, cafes, bars etc must close despite the Chancellor giving £10 food vouchers. Is this really going to happen? I hope not and I hope the Gov sorts out off the cuff comments like this. Conservatives are hemorrhaging votes to Labour and the last thing you need is headlines like this.

  45. MG
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    The Civil service is Not working.

  46. UKQanon
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Terminate ALL of them and start afresh. Too many involved and indoctrinated in the EU culture. Drain the CS swamp and then start on the HoC and HoL.

  47. Jasper
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    Totally off topic, apologies but nowhere else to voice my concerns. What is happening about all the illegal immigrants crossing the channel by any means possible with the assistance of the border force! How and why is this being allowed? What is the home office doing about it. I am the first to support anyone fleeing a war torn country – although I doubt I would leave my own if I was ever in that position- but they are from many countries and arriving via France which is not at war. What action is being undertaken to stop this?

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

      No action whatsoever is being taken. The bunting is up and the escort ships are afloat. This government has to keep immigration at the ‘hundreds of thousands a year’ – in the desperate hope that more people means more tax to pay off the debt.

  48. Iago
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Britain today, five thousand years of civilisation being thrown away.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

      10 thousand…

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted August 3, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

        You think that a country, which burnt people at the stake and had the ducking stool etc. was civilised?

  49. ukretired123
    Posted August 2, 2020 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    This topic is long overdue and spot on SJR as it needs massive ” back to basic or back to school ” re-educating as to who they are supposed to work for.
    Their idea of using computers was to duplicate the paperwork based systems and protect themselves rather than streamlining and reduce costs. In fact their bonus system was based on increasing the budgets to imply they were responsible for an inflated empire similar to the EU bureaucracy.

  50. NigelE
    Posted August 3, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    “Change of course should be carried out at a pace and in a manner which respects the needs of existing staff who have based their lives around the current pattern of office provision”

    Yet more molly-codling. When the company I worked for in th early 90s moved out of LOndon to Leicestershire, employees had a choice: move with the company or be made redundant. The only recognition of employee ‘needs’ was reasonable redundancy and relocation packages.

  51. glen cullen
    Posted August 3, 2020 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Senior civil servant’s £650,000 retirement pay-off sets new Whitehall record for the most money pocketed by a mandarin in a single year – Daily Mail

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