Public sector employment

Between the end of 2019 and June 2023 the NHS increased its staff by 230,000 and the civil service by 67,000. It is no wonder there has been such a large increase in  public spending. Other public sector administration over the same time period is up 41,000 making a total of 108,000 with  the civil service.

It is true Ministers have allowed all of this this to happen.  Chief Secretaries to the Treasury and Cabinet Office Ministers responsible for personnel should have asked more questions about why such a huge recruitment was underway and why it was so top heavy.

It is, however, also true that Permanent Secretaries for each Department are the Accounting  Officers.On their high six figure salaries they are charged with ensuring financial regularity and  value for money. Why  have they recruited so many to ensure such a collapse of productivity? Why hasn’t the Chairman of The Public Accounts Committee, Meg Hillier, called them out or cross examined them about this huge increase in spending with no increase in output?

There have always been large pockets of over employment. Why does the Army have 650 colonels and Brigadiers?

Why does the Cabinet Office have 74 Directors often duplicating functions of departments? How many Chief Executives are there in the NHS with its overlapping CEO s of Health Trusts, national quangos and the  rest?Why can they not 3ven tell me how many CEO s they have on the payroll?

Ministers of State in each department could be empowered by Secretaries of State to get to grips with excessive administrative  overmanning, under the guidance of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury. They could ask for plans from Permanent Secretaries to get back up to 2019 levels of productivity for starters, as they must remember how they did that.


  1. Mark B
    December 4, 2023

    Good morning.

    Why hasn’t the Chairman of The Public Accounts Committee, Meg Hillier, called them out or cross examined them about this huge increase in spending . . .
    The above government link may provide an answer ? But why are we employing non-elected people to govern our affairs ? We voted to LEAVE the EU for that very reason – we can vote them out if they displease us.

    I am sure Labour are reading this ‘Diary’ and keeping notes for when it becomes needed. Pity the Little Usurper and his chums, not to mention his predecessors never did.

    Why does the Army have 650 colonels and Brigadiers?

    Let us face it, the Civil Service and the MoD have always been used to give ‘jobs to the old boys’ from the upper echelons of society. The so called, ‘Parasite Class’. Can’t get a proper job anywhere else.

    1. Peter Wood
      December 4, 2023

      My slightly ‘outside the box’ reasoning for the public sector unnecessary employment numbers are that it is a form of trial run for the effects of AI on the wider workforce. Perhaps answering questions of cost per capita, what do people do with all their spare time, are we naturally creative/productive… Clearly the majority of Civil Servants will no longer be needed, along with huge numbers of administrative and service staff in the private sector. It’s going to be difficult, and it’s coming soon. As Sir J. suggested a few blogs ago; there are Too Many of us!

      1. Hope
        December 4, 2023

        Meg Hillier getting the blame today!

        No, JR. Chief secretary to Treasury and Chancellor hold the budget strings and negotiate with each department. Ministers hold ultimate budget strings for their departments. How about the PM asking for a reduction in management and more at the coal front? You know, the maths genius ought to be on this for the last 2/3 years!!

        Why not blame Border For e for your mass immigration policy which is totally against what your party promised over 14 years, Cameron’s mate made clear no one was serious in private!!

        How about scrapping Equality legislation introduced by Harman to silence the public over mass immigration, nothing to do with equality. Race for diversity schemes with the army of diversity and inclusion non jobs- all aspects should be carried out by HR under existing dept numbers. Scrap S.172 Company Act for same reasons. All at your disposal but choose to gold plate not scrap.

        Reported on all tv channels today Home Office lawyers refusing to disapply ECHR. Sack them for failing to carry out their job! This goes to the heart of productivity. Civil servants doing what they want to do not doing what they are asked under their politically neutral role!

        Rycroft and his deputy should be sacked by the end of this week. Same for all those work from home in Foreign Office. Particularly those who cried when the country voted for Brexit!!

      2. Hope
        December 4, 2023

        If Govt. leaves ECHR then the EU agreement can be cancelled within 12 days. Seems a win win to me. JR needs to accept most of his complaints and grievances rest with these gutless fools in govt. who signed up to this insanity. It is the Tory govt. fault. The real sadness is that his party recognised these failings but still acted in absolute contrast to what they were elected for.

      3. LMA
        December 4, 2023

        Don’t worry, there will soon be fewer: World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe.

        He stressed that all the tools to fight the disease are available there. But 50 per cent of people are diagnosed too late.

        “People seek medical help too late and we are not able to reach them earlier,” Kluge said in a statement.

        This trend has not been reversed for 10 years, leading to unacceptably high mortality rates in several European countries, the WHO director said.

        “In other [countries], HIV transmission has been almost completely stopped,” he added.

        Please note that I posted on this blog that the repercussion of the various CV19 jabs would be HIV. Europeans are not getting AIDS through transmission – they are getting it as the gene-therapy breaks down their immune system – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.

        1. hefner
          December 13, 2023

          References, please.

    2. Everhopeful
      December 4, 2023

      OMG X several million and more…
      How I wish someone would take my safety and well-being seriously!
      Good utter grief!!

  2. Wanderer
    December 4, 2023

    The more people you have doing non-jobs, the more paperwork you have. If you appoint a toilet roll Manager, everyone else has to send weekly reports of toilet roll useage to keep him satisfied and able to produce graphs showing weekly usage across the government estate, by department, region etc. Very useful.

    1. Hope
      December 4, 2023

      Universal credit claimants to get a Christmas bonus today!! What did Hint say about making it pay to work!

    2. Berkshire Alan
      December 4, 2023


      Absolutely correct, it has now reached a stage where it is self perpetuating, more and more people causes more and more admin work, with less actual real productivity, it is simply out of control.

    3. Hope
      December 4, 2023

      Hunt seems to think today in his speech that Brexit chaos is to blame for govt. woes! Idiot. I wonder if gently gently he and Cameron are returning to their project fear that everything is wrong because of Brexit and EU closer ties is the answer ? Tell us JR is Hunt and Cameron right? They both seem content to give away N.Ireland to EU and lockstep through Windsor sell out of the nation because they have not mentioned it.

  3. Lemming
    December 4, 2023

    650 colonels and Brigadiers – so THAT’S why productivity is down, growth is down, tax is up, trade is down and the cost of living is through the roof. It’s the Army’s fault today. Not the Conservative government, oh no, of course not

    1. formula57
      December 4, 2023

      @ Lemming – your point is undermined somewhat by Sir John’s words “It is true Ministers have allowed all of this to happen” perhaps?

      No-one can doubt this rotten government is culpable, typically, but it has not been without its helpers and confederates who cannot be held exempt from criticism.

    2. a-tracy
      December 4, 2023

      Perhaps growth is down because the businesses just can’t be bothered when so much tax is taken. Labour wants more for Universal credit payouts, higher civil service wages, more for train drivers, keeping ticket kiosks open that are only selling a handful of tickets per day, leading from the front on the climate crisis clean power by 2030 (at what cost, £28bn predicted so double that, from where which current budget?) so people are listening to this and thinking oh boy! Do I want to tie up that money in investment with an incoming Labour party.

  4. Bloke
    December 4, 2023

    This government wanders like a headless chicken unable to control itself.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 4, 2023


      So 15 years of relative decline says the Resolution Foundation. The solutions are obvious ditch net zero, half the size of the state, cut taxes have a bonfire of red tape. It is certainly is not Labour who are just the same as Sunak’s Consocialists but even worse.

      “Ending Stagnation – the final report of The Economy 2030 Inquiry, a collaboration between the Resolution Foundation and the Centre for Economic Performance at the LSE, funded by the Nuffield Foundation – says the UK has now seen 15 years of relative decline, with productivity growth at half the rate seen across other advanced economies. Wages have flatlined as a result, costing the average worker £10,700 a year in lost pay growth. Nine million younger workers have never worked in an economy with sustained average wage rises.”

  5. DOM
    December 4, 2023

    Without the public sector Labour’s donations dwindle to nothing.

    Why does this gutless Tory government not ban the auto deductions of union subs directly from an employee’s (union member) salary? This will force union members to pay for their union subs from their own bank accounts and that of course means one thing, at some point union income and therefore Labour party funding will drop off a cliff as union members cancel their direct debits realising they are a complete waste of cash

    This Tory party don’t want a war on any issue and therefore Starmer and his crew will not be exposed for what they truly are and decent people will pay a heavy price

    John should write an article explaining how his own party’s leaders shift to the left ‘for any easy life’ is destroying this nation and our freedoms example. Stonewall still exists. I rest my case

  6. Richard II
    December 4, 2023

    Well done, Sir John, for signing the letter urging Sunak not to press ahead with mandating 80% of new car sales to be EVs by 2030. If the PM meant what he said about softening Net Zero targets, he will agree with you. This isa good test of his intentions. If he intends to press ahead with Net Zero targets just the same despite his press statements, we’ll know not to trust a word he says. I can’t see how I can vote for a party led by a man like that.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 4, 2023

      Indeed but will it have any effect at all. Sunak is clearly fully behind the mad net zero, EV car, heat pump agenda – just pretending to be delaying ever so slightly.

      EV car nearly always cause far more CO2 then keeping your old car. They have a huge fossil fuel input just to build them and their short lived batteries and we have no spare low carbon electricity to charge them with anyway.

    2. a-tracy
      December 4, 2023

      Labour has said it expects Sunak to deliver the cash to developing countries promised by Boris Johnson, amounting to £11.6bn by 2025, but if the party is elected Starmer will come under strong pressure to come to future Cops with much bigger promises of support.

      He has also said Rishi isn’t doing enough and has pulled back from Johnson’s advances on Net Zero.

    3. Lynn Atkinson
      December 4, 2023

      We will be like Cuba, only very old vehicles on the roads. Nobody is going to buy these EVs.

    4. Berkshire Alan
      December 4, 2023

      The government now setting sales targets for Private companies ?
      What next, fines/taxes if they do not reach targets ?
      They really have lost the plot, and the people.

  7. Ian Wraggg
    December 4, 2023

    230,000 more nhs staff, 60% on non medical duties. Longer waiting lists and a constant shortage of doctors and nurses. Something doesn’t add up.
    Importing doctors and nurses in preference to training our own is a result of senior staff themselves being of immigrant stock, recruiting from the home country. It’s scandalous how the nhs is run

    1. Hope
      December 4, 2023

      It is wrong to import other countries health workers or drain devolving countries of their talent then give them billions in foreign aid!!

      A bit like buying gas, oil and coal and nuclear energy from hostile nations and EU when we have hundreds of years of supply under our feet while elderly forced to heat or eat!! Meanwhile Sundanese immigrant living in four star hotel throwing hand fulls of cash on floor to his tick-tock followers!! Why has the Home Office not picked him up and thrown him out? He came from France!! We know he put a picture of himself on tic rock as well!

    2. Lifelogic
      December 4, 2023

      Indeed an elderly aunt of mine was sent home from hospital on Friday in no fit state (as they must have know full well) and with no proper provision for her home care, no proper discharge notes, confused as she now had an infection too and she had go back a few hours later after seeing her GP who asked for an urgent ambulance. She pays her taxes and NI in for 70+ years but when she needs help they totally fail her. Just trying to dump her elsewhere.

    3. MFD
      December 4, 2023

      It really is taking the we-we! I think that the NHS has got so big NOBODY can control it any more. We should sell off the specialist departments and the treasury pay separate detailed bills

    4. a-tracy
      December 4, 2023

      Ian, we need more British working-class nurses training on the job with day release to get their nursing qualification, more men on those training courses at least 50% and a committed recruitment drive in 6th forms. Men will train as paramedics, they don’t like the name nurse for the role, it needs to be less gender-focused moving forward, ward-medic. This experiment of importing nurses hasn’t worked, they are unhappy, they need more and more Managers to keep them happy, they are diverse the most diverse but need Diversity Officers. When will someone say enough is enough.

    5. LMA
      December 4, 2023


    6. graham1946
      December 4, 2023

      Since the turn of the century, the population has gone up by at least 8 million mostly by immigration as they say indigenous births are falling. They try to convince us that all these people are valuable, are doctors nurses and highly qualified people we need. If so, how come the NHS is permanently ten percent understaffed and none of the public services work as well as they did before this influx?

    7. JayCee
      December 4, 2023

      A point well made. I am staggered to read this number and, if it is true, this is gross mismanagement as there appears to be no identifiable improvement in delivery.
      The NHS will not be improved until funding follows the patient rather than the provider. I suggest ICS’s should be patient-based and provide funds in response to patient activity as invoiced by GP’s and Trusts. Have you ever looked at the Agenda and Documentation for an ICS public meeting which runs to 200 pages for a 2 hour meeting which appears to offer no decision making.

    8. JoolsB
      December 4, 2023

      It’s not just recruiting our own, it’s retaining them. Overworked, underpaid, burnt out, low morale and clueless Barclay’s answer was to treat them like naughty children and refuse to speak to them. No wonder they are leaving in their droves.
      John, I live in rural Cornwall and had an appointment at our main hospital in Truro on Saturday and could hardly get into the building for dozens of people who had just arrived on buses, I was told from outside the ‘county’ and there applying for jobs. The NHS were recruiting staff for a new oncology wing apparently. Every single one of them (from overseas ed) What is this pathetic Government up to?

  8. Everhopeful
    December 4, 2023

    According to a Gov website about “modernising” the Civil Service.
    “equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) spending in the Civil Service to be reviewed to ensure it represents value for money for the taxpayer”
    As if it ever represented anything but waste….

    1. Mickey Taking
      December 4, 2023

      Phrase of the year? ‘represents value for money for the taxpayer’.
      A whitewash to end all whitewashes.

      1. Everhopeful
        December 4, 2023

        The politics of la la land?

      2. Hope
        December 4, 2023

        They have HR depts. get rid of them or cut HR dept dept. numbers.

  9. Javelin
    December 4, 2023

    Why do we have treaties in place with the United Nations where dictatorships have equal standing to vote with democracies?

    1. Sharon
      December 4, 2023

      Apart from the member dictatorship countries, a lot of those running these international organisations have communist affiliations. A good question, why do we belong to the equivalent of the local mafia association?

    2. Everhopeful
      December 4, 2023

      A very fine line? After all every one of them makes laws to impose on others.
      Do they even judge each other? Or themselves?
      Maybe they just use the terminologies to control and direct us?
      “NO! This/that country is now a GOOD country and you will support it!
      That country is/was evil and you will not even speak its name!”

    3. Javelin
      December 4, 2023

      53% of the world is not a democracy of any sort. Yet all these counties have an equal vote at the United Nations and WHO on many subjects such as sanctions, migration and health.

      When these super-national organisations and treaties were set up it was believed most would become democracies. This assumption has now proven to be false so we should exit from these treaties.

    4. Original Richard
      December 4, 2023

      Javelin :

      Why would Lord Cameron, our unelected Foreign Secretary, want to sign a secret (text to be published only next spring) “Political Dialogue and Cooperation agreement” with Cuba?

    5. JayCee
      December 4, 2023

      And pay £123 million for the privilege.

  10. agricola
    December 4, 2023

    In fairness to the glut of colonels and brigadeers they have possibly reached their ability threshold and out of kindness are kept in employment to see out their 22year career. If they have given good service to that point repay them for it. They cannot all become school bursers.

    The proliferation of the civil service is unacceptable. It looks like empire building. The nett effect is a drop in productivity from an already negative level, and high taxes on the productive to sustain their salaries pensions and perks. What do we get in return, just the bill and no visible increase in service.
    As I said yesterday, time to rethink their service contracts. They are a sea anchor on the private productive sector.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 4, 2023

      Visible deterioration in services and not even a prompt emergency ambulance when it is needed if you have been injured by falling off your bike in one of the millions of un fixed pothole.

      1. Lifelogic
        December 4, 2023

        Nor and prompt NHS investigations for problems the NHS caused. For example if you have been given heart arrhythmias or myocarditis etc. through the NHS coercing net harm Covid “vaccines” into your arms. Ones that you probably never even needed due to being youngish and healthy and having had Covid earlier without issue.

    2. a-tracy
      December 4, 2023

      Why would they become ‘school bursars’ we need prison officers, schools need discipline officers, there are lots of decent transferable skills and 22 years service sometimes means someone at just the age of 40.

    3. graham1946
      December 4, 2023

      Re you first paragraph, they don’t mind chucking squaddies out with out a thought, many with PTSD and some even living on the streets. Why featherbed the Colonels and Brigadiers? – they will all be alright with big pensions.

  11. Lifelogic
    December 4, 2023

    Absurdly inefficient and this government and the Civil Service bosses clearly do not give a damn, it is not their money after all. Many of them not only delivering no value but many doing positive harm. Look at the sick joke Covid Enquiry, the appallingly run NHS, the worthless degrees, the appalling defence procurement system… The vast waste on net harm lockdowns, net harm Covid Vaccines, pointless masks, open door low skilled immigration…

    Who is to blame but PMs, Chancellors and Ministers. Osborne, Hammond, Javid, Sunak and now Hunt. They have failed to even attempt to cut spending and just put taxes up and up thus killing growth and deterring hard work and investment.

  12. Richard1
    December 4, 2023

    It seems the culture is to shift people round not make them redundant. According to Dominic Cummings (interview on Dwarkish podcast) in his time there was a cut in the number of communications officers in the dept of education from 250 to 50. The result was a big improvement in performance, it should have been cut further. (Whether the 200 unneeded ones were actually made redundant or just moved he didn’t say).

    The public sector would perform better and cost less if it simply employed fewer people in managerial and admin positions. It should also be far more open to lateral recruitment at higher levels, bringing people in to spend a few years and then return to the private sector. It also clearly needs to fire incompetent and obstructive officials.

    All too late now, the Conservatives should have been engaged on this relentlessly since 2019. Yet another wasted opportunity. It will all get even worse with Starmer & the left.

    1. Lifelogic
      December 4, 2023


    2. JoolsB
      December 4, 2023

      It would also perform better if they were made to get back to their desks 5 days a week or given their P45s. No wonder productivity is down when they can sign in when they like, take the dog out for a walk, stick the washing in, prepare the tea, pick the kids up from school and still be finished by five. Someone I know on a six figure salary works from their holiday home with the kids in the school holidays, takes a day off every week to child mind and still has a month’s holiday abroad. When pointed out that that’s 52 days leave just to childmind, I was told that they could make the time up on other days. Nice work if you can get it.

  13. Donna
    December 4, 2023


    Because they provide taxpayer funded/gold plated pension employment for the Governing Class and their privileged progeny. Which is also why there’s been a proliferation in Quangos, devolved Parliaments, City-Region Mayors and Police/Crime Commissars. Oh, and members of the House of Frauds.

    The Establishment’s children, with their PPE Degrees from Oxford, need a route into a life of taxpayer-funded privilege.

    The way a Mandarin or Public Sector CEO demonstrates his importance is by growing his fiefdom and budget, not spending wisely or cutting staff. So that’s what they do.

  14. Bryan Harris
    December 4, 2023

    Certainly Meg Hillier should be doing something about this under-production by too many staff – so why isn’t she? – is it just apathy, the feeling that it is impossible to make any reasonable changes with the Westminster blob in control?

    People who should be in control are skipping their responsibilities, perhaps because the issues seem too hard to resolve. In this case they should be replaced until people can be found with a little courage, and that goes right to the top, PM included.

    But while we are in the grip of WEF policies, looney science and false weather predictions nothing will happen!

  15. Sakara Gold
    December 4, 2023

    British independent schools churn out 95,000 expensively educated people annually, most of whom speak Latin! What is the point of the “old boys” network if you can’t find them a cushy duplicate non-job in the civil service?

    1. Martin in Bristol
      December 4, 2023

      They don’t all speak Latin
      You’re being silly.

  16. Dave Andrews
    December 4, 2023

    The answer to all your questions is that ministers with a degree in PPE don’t have the relevant qualifications or experience needed for government.

  17. Jim
    December 4, 2023

    You’re the boss, you tell us. You at least are close to the strategic planning component of our government, go and ask them what the plan is.

    Last I heard all our young people were going to be strategic marketing consultants selling their skills to the rest of the world. High skill, high wage and all that. One minor snag, it hasn’t worked.

    As for the colonels etc. They and many like them are hanging on for the discounted cost of educating their kids. Another hidden cost to the taxpayer, but no doubt of great economic benefit somewhere.

  18. Richard1
    December 4, 2023

    Attention Conservative ministers – Opportunity for a quick win. The BBC wants a 9% increase in the license fee it is reported. It argues, preposterously, that its “competitors” have increased prices by much more. There’s a tiny difference – the BBC in reality has no competitors it is funded by a mandatory poll tax. The BBC would continue with the same revenues if no one watched it at all. So the govt should say 1) no increase, cut your costs (a reduction would be better); and 2) decriminalise non-payment of the license fee, the BBC should pursue non-paying customers the way any other utility does.

    This would be a happy combination of a very popular measure which also socks it to the left for whom the BBC provides daily support. Today the BBC’s chris Packham is launching a legal case to try to get a court to overturn parliaments sensible delay on the ban on ICE cars. It is a nonsense that a court could do this and a nonsense that the BBC’s employees are able to campaign politically in this way whilst in receipt of large proceeds from the poll tax.

    1. Clough
      December 5, 2023

      I’m furious to be paying licence money to an organisation that pays a large salary to a man suing the government for doing what people want.

  19. MPC
    December 4, 2023

    Good luck with your questions. But I’m going to apply for a directorship with the new OffReg – Office of Football Regulation, being introduced by this low tax, growth oriented Conservative government. I can then push for the maximum possible regulation of football boardroom activity so favoured by the Tories – ESG, club specific Equality and Net Zero targets, and massive annual reporting obligations. All of this will, of course, require a substantial net addition to the public sector staff count and state pension liabilities.

  20. Roy Grainger
    December 4, 2023

    “Ministers of State in each department could be empowered by Secretaries of State to get to grips with excessive administrative overmanning, under the guidance of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.”

    That suggestion is based on the flawed assumption that the current Ministers in the Conservative government actually *want* to reduce manning in the Civil Service. All evidence shows that they don’t, they just go along with whatever the Civil Service says so as not to upset them. So actually what we need is a complete new set of Ministers and we’ll try that next year – only Labour can take on the Civil Service (though they may not actually do so).

    As an aside, note how the Shadow Health Minister is currently visiting Australia and Singapore to find out why their public/private insurance-based health systems have much better patient outcomes than the NHS. No Conservative Health Minister would ever dare do that due to the risk of upsetting the Guardian and its readers. Only Labour could have done it.

  21. Ian B
    December 4, 2023

    Sir John
    You have answered your own question, this Conservative Government is not about serving the electorate that has empowered and pays them, its about the self-gratification and of squandering the hard-earned money of others. To sum up it is the failure of this Conservative Government through lack of interest, care and consideration refuses to manage, it refuses to manage our expenditure instead squanders everyone’s future, they refuse to step up and do their job.
    The Management of the State is in the hands of Ministers, the expansion of the State is in the hands of Ministers, the lack of control of State expenditure is in the hands of Ministers. These same ministers seem to know how to take in more than a 70 year high in taxes, how to increase borrowing to its highest level in peace time, what happens to it they dont care, were has it all gone, you ask them and they don’t know, you ask them what do we get for our money they dont know.

  22. Sea_Warrior
    December 4, 2023

    Good piece, Sir John. So, the NHS grew by about four times the size of our pitifully small army. Shame on this ‘government’?

  23. Ian B
    December 4, 2023

    Sir John
    There is an answer, as we all know(sarc) ‘AI’ is great at work, it works 24/7 it doesn’t need administrating but it can replace at least 90% of the administrators that now work for the State. If you have ever purchased goods form Amazon then need to return them, it runs incredibly smoothly there is no human involvement in the process – just AI. The delivery of the service is instant, faster and ahead of expectations.
    In reality it wouldn’t be a stretch for AI to replace this Conservative Government, neither of them protects Democracy or Freedoms.

  24. Jude
    December 4, 2023

    There is an elephant in the room that is always ignored.
    230000 increase in NHS headcount or any staff increase in public sector. Is actually not that number, because there will be a large % who are part-time or job share. Many will only work 16 hours & then stay home on benefits.
    Thus, there may only be 70000 NHS jobs filled & the rest of public sector wil be similar.
    It is key to incentivise people back to full-time working. Perhaps paying annual bonuses for full attendance, for example.
    Westminster should be working to restore the industry sector training grants that Blair destroyed. Plus work with these sectors & colleges to provide world leading training support.

  25. Ralph Corderoy
    December 4, 2023

    Is there still significant ‘work from home’ within the public sector? And do projected or realised savings in office costs push back against forcing those workers into a possibly more productive office?

  26. George Sheard
    December 4, 2023

    To many pigs in the truth.

  27. Original Richard
    December 4, 2023

    Why the big increase in public sector employment?

    Firstly because poor UK productivity reduces GDP/capita which cuts down CO2 emissions to aid the transition to Net Zero and secondly because it enables the Government to implement decisions and policies they dare not admit to making themselves. Parliament is quite happy to hide behind the civil service and all the taxpayer funded quangos, regulators and institutions run by a Marxist fifth column and allow them to increase state employment and costs at every opportunity to :

    – Increase spending to increase taxes on the UK wealth creators.
    – Increase state employment to increase their core vote.
    – Decrease the number of real, money earning jobs and potential wealth creators that the UK needs to survive.
    – Decrease the total number of available workers in order to provide reasons for massive immigration.
    – Enable more rules, regulations and restrictions to be set into legislation to hamper private sector productivity and add inconvenience and costs to the general public.
    – Provide jobs and funding for those who wish to take the Government to court.

  28. William Long
    December 4, 2023

    In any commercial organisation the CEO would have been sacked long ago. The problem with the Civil Service is that any improvement in efficiency can only be as a result of the chief turkeys voting for Christmas, and experience shows that is something that is most unlikely to happen without very determined political masters, and I do not see any of those around on either front bench at the moment.

  29. Rod Evans
    December 4, 2023

    All good questions John regarding the scale of demands put on the public purse i.e. the taxpayers by Public Sector employees.
    Another group you could have mentioned was the need for 650 MPs when 500 has been declared plenty and in the other place reducing their number to 500 or less would also seem appropriate.

  30. Bert+Young
    December 4, 2023

    What a mess !!. The exposure Sir John has made is a time bomb ; we can’t go on like this . It is a question of top-down management efficiency and it simply does not exist . The ordinary voter is powerless and we have to rely on our – so called democratic system to put matters right ; maybe a public revolt is the only answer . We have the wrong people in charge and they MUST go !.

  31. Kenneth
    December 4, 2023

    It’s all too late now.

    We need to prepare for the election after next and a victory requires purging the socialists and Big State people out of the Conservative Party and then out of the public sector

  32. agricola
    December 4, 2023

    There is much talk / speculation concerning Nigel Farage joining the Tory Party. He is undoubtedly a right of centre Tory. The Tory Party is a left of centre, better described as Consocialist Party. His thinking is only compatable with around 50 Tory MPs. So were he to be invited to join the main Tory Party it would only be a ploy to silence him. Much better, those 50 real Tories in Parliament join Nigel in Reform, they would then be singing from the same hymn sheet.

  33. graham1946
    December 4, 2023

    Sir John, the answer to your questions is pretty obvious – incompetence. A government past its sell by date, useless ministers promoted not because of ability, but for being in with the right people. Now at the fag end of this appalling administration, they couldn’t give a fig and just want to hang on as long as possible to get their high salaries and boost their pensions.

  34. Ian B
    December 4, 2023

    Sir John
    There is an endless list of situations, a few minor ones you highlight today, that are causing the UK and its systems to falter, and whichever way you wish to shake it out, it is the management (or lack of it) direction presented by this Conservative Government to the UK’s Citizens that is at its core. This Conservative Government in its refusal of even the basics of its duties, management, leadership, now allows this complacency to spill out a permutate into every corner of society. We can’t get away from it this is an ultra-weak Conservative Government with an equally weak leadership, that demonstrates its inherent inabilities daily – so in colloquial terms everyone gets to ’take the piss’
    All of this could have been solved some time ago, but let’s get real, the stumbling block is the bulk of the sitting Conservative MP’s, CCHQ and the wider Conservative Party, they also appear to be in denial. 52 of those MP’s seemingly have declared they are off, so are protecting any future payout. The others know they are about to get kicked out and are frozen in their tracks. Even polling of the membership seems to suggest all Conservative Party activists see this as the end of the road. It is not just about the destruction of Conservatism and the Conservative Party any more, it is the destruction of any meaning to the realities of Democracy, Parliamentary Democracy and Freedoms of the UK.

    1. Ian B
      December 4, 2023

      I am reminded of a corporate dinner where the major driver of the Company Sales took to the podium and suggested although things had been tough, he could now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Then the owner of company, very affable and concise, commented to those around the table, out of earshot to the speaker ‘what he doesn’t realize is that light is an express train bearing down on him’ (I removed the expletives). The man passing the comment then got rid of the Company, it failed and failed once more. The man making the observation is a major Tory donor, well known in Tory ranks even got sent to the HoL by Haig.
      Nowadays you can find him carrying out polling into the State of the Party, his latest observations – “Britain is broken – people are getting poorer, nothing seems to work properly, and we need big changes to the way the country works, whichever party is in government.” In my latest polling, an extraordinary 72% agreed with this statement, including more than half of 2019 Conservative voters.
      He also recommends, the ‘Parliament of Whores’, PJ O’Rourke gave one section the stirring title “Our Government: What The F*** Do They Do All Day And Why Does It Cost So Goddamned Much Money?” It is an attitude familiar on the centre-right, and has its merits.

  35. Keith from Leeds
    December 4, 2023

    The question is, when does the UK go bankrupt? You think it can’t happen, study some history. When the tax burden on the private sector becomes too great, as it is now, businesses will collapse and the tax take will shrink. A country goes bankrupt slowly, then suddenly! The overmanned Civil Service is completely out of control and needs to be cut back to a maximum of 100,000. The Government then has to make that number work. Quangos need their budgets reduced by 50% from April 2024, and a further 50% from April 2025.
    Sunak is now warning the BBC to reduce the inflation-linked increase in the license fee. If I was BBC Chair I would just ignore him. The BBC license fee should be frozen now & reduced over 5 years ago they have to build a subscription model. But the conservatives have done nothing to rein it in. Another area where they talk about it and do nothing!

  36. Mickey Taking
    December 4, 2023

    oh no, not that again…
    BBC News and Current Affairs CEO Deborah Turness said the broadcaster was “in a tough financial climate”, and had to make “some difficult choices” as audiences switch from TV to online news. The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said the Newsnight cuts represented “a major blow to investigative news”.
    The moves are expected to save £7.5m. Overall, the corporation must find £500m in savings as a result of a two-year freeze to the price of a TV licence, which provides most of its funding, coupled with the impact of inflation.
    Newsnight’s current 57-strong team will be cut by more than half to 23.
    How on earth did they need 57 staff for that program?

  37. Mickey Taking
    December 4, 2023

    Two reindeer are still missing after dashing off from a Christmas attraction at a country estate.
    The Elveden Estate in Suffolk said the animals “got spooked and jumped the fence” on Sunday afternoon.
    Police closed the A11 near Mildenhall at about 15:00 GMT after one of the reindeer wandered into the road.
    A spokesperson for the estate told the BBC on Monday that they were “still looking for them this morning, unfortunately”.

    All because visitors kept asking why we don’t eat reindeer like the Scandinavians within earshot of the animals.

  38. Paula
    December 4, 2023

    It’s all over, Sir John.

    The net migration figures (let alone the gross ones) are truly horrifying. This represents a visible change in our population and you were told time and again not to do this.

    If mass immigration were the solution to our problems then we’d have the best NHS and the best roads in our history by now. Every single thing is in crisis.

    Mr Sunak may worry about climate in 10 years but your voters are more concerned with getting to the end of next week.

    People are looking at your government, not the public sector.

  39. glen cullen
    December 4, 2023

    TODAY will mark this Tory government as either labour or conservative

    ”More than 40 Conservative MPs and peers have urged Rishi Sunak to drop a vote, due on Monday, to approve “anti-consumer” and “anti-motorist” net zero quotas for the sale of electric cars.
    In a letter to the Prime Minister, the parliamentarians, led by Craig Mackinlay, the chairman of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group, Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg and Dame Priti Patel, warn that the Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate is “likely to cause enormous harm” to companies and consumers.”

  40. Everhopeful
    December 4, 2023

    What is the advantage of having too many managers issuing orders and not enough minions to carry them out? ( The usual expression for that is apparently offensive now!).
    Very expensive ( top earners and their pensions) and a recipe for inefficiency.
    Presumably the powers that be keep on making up new initiatives and appoint “Tsars” (!!) to head them up and devise rafts of new unfathomable laws and directives.
    Result is chaos.

  41. Margaret Brandreth-Jones
    December 4, 2023

    More staff doesn’t necessarily mean a better service.The calibre of people employed has more recently become focused on higher degrees and paper qualifications ,which to some equate mistakenly with an ability to do the job.
    More staff in the NHS are being employed because of a title yet because of their lack of time management skills and refusal to undertake simple procedures, even more staff have to be employed to finish their job.

    1. Mickey Taking
      December 5, 2023

      more staff means unaccountable responsibility, no buck stops here.

  42. Mike Wilson
    December 4, 2023

    Yet another daily dose of condemnation of YOUR government. Your colleagues must love you.

    It strikes me that the end game of YOUR government is for the population to be at least 100 million (think of the growth!) and for everyone to work for the state.

    Well done. You’re well on the way. You’ll be out of power soon – time for a well deserved snooze on the opposition benches – but Labour will rise to the challenge.

    As long as I keep getting my pension, I am past caring.

  43. Geoffrey Berg
    December 4, 2023

    Poor Sir John Redwood is like Cassandra, generally right and never believed or at any rate not appointed to high office (what about a Minister for governmental efficiency?) as he should be and at any rate the serious deficiencies he points out are seldom acted upon.
    Bob Dylan asked:
    -how many times can a man turn his head and pretend he just doesn’t see?
    The answer, my friend, in politics seems to be for ever!

    Really that just isn’t good enough. If civil servants and politicians are so hopeless that they can’t or won’t (yielding to pressures from staff not to rock their comfortable boats) deal with such stark and financially very damaging inefficiencies as John Redwood is highlighting, then these low calibre creatures need replacing with much better calibre politicians and civil servants and that fully justifies my doctrine- ‘minimise the public sector, maximise the private sector’.

  44. Derek
    December 4, 2023

    This is an outrageous waste of tax payers money.
    When are the respective heads of the ‘Public Sector’, mainly those within Government Departments, going to enforce the productive and business-like practises of the PRIVATE SECTOR?
    The sector that actually pays their wages and whose workers suffer the numerous incompetences generated with Whitehall and Westminster?

    1. Derek Henry
      December 4, 2023

      No such thing as tax payers money.

      Take a note out of any business till up and down this country and read it. Take a note out of your pocket and read it. It will take about 3 seconds to figure out where it actually came from and where it started its journey.

      Archaeologist digs up a coin. Well, is a tax payers coin ? Or a coin issued by the government ? Read the coin.

      Government buying creates money, taxes destroy money. Like a stone skipping across a pond. The stone is government buying using freshly created money. Each skip is a tax point, which reduces the size of the next spending hop until the stone finally sinks, consumed by the ripples of taxation. The higher the tax, the rougher the stone, the bigger the ripple and the fewer the hops before the stone sinks.

      However, the critical point from the stone-skipping analogy is that you always get ripples of taxation as your spending is someone else’s income. Those ripples are the percentage-based transactional taxes functioning as an automatic stabiliser.

      The only thing that stops taxes and the ripples is it you save your income instead of spending it. As soon as you start to spend your savings those ripples start again. Until, eventually the tax collected matches the initial government spending injection and the stone sinks.

      1. Derek
        December 5, 2023

        Oh dear. Some fell on stony ground.

    2. Peter D Gardner
      December 5, 2023

      If for example NHS patients had direct control of the flow of funds – as they do in Australia – then private sector style competition for patients would work wonders. It will never happen in the UK because the NHS is free at the point of delivery, there is practically no choice of service provider and, according to ONS figures, the NHS – like all the public services of the state – is paid for by the minority who are net contributors to the state.

  45. glen cullen
    December 4, 2023

    I understand that the new government 5-point migration plan ISN’T due to be implimented until spring next year ?

    1. Peter D Gardner
      December 5, 2023

      Of course not. The Party’s aim is to have tantalising prospects in its manifesto to achieve its primary objective of remaining in office, rather than actually implementing policies in the national interest that might be opposed by vested interests – too difficult.

  46. Sam
    December 4, 2023

    So what do you want acorn?
    The ability for people in the UK to be able to buy shares in non UK companies?
    World trade, where people can buy or invest in businesses anywhere?
    Would you stop me investing in anything outside the UK and stop anyone from outside the UK investing in anything inside the UK?
    Think it through.

  47. Lindsay+McDougall
    December 5, 2023

    It’s not just an exercise in management consultancy. Many public sector jobs are not needed at all. The Equality and Diversity Officers of the NHS serve no useful purpose. Come to think of it, the entire Department of Equality and Diversity may be unnecessary. How many people are employed to prevent fictitious “institutionalised racism”? Why are so many NHS quangos and vested interests – for example NHS Confederation – paid for by taxpayers? Why is the NHS ratio of Senior Managers to Managers in excess of 50% when in the private sector the comparable ratio is about 20%. Then there is waste in privatised monpolies. Companies like Thames Water have too many directors with salaries that are too high and who are awarded bonuses for non achievement. And why does the House of Lords have 800 members when 300 would suffice? And why do we have a Supreme Court that makes biased political decisions and denies parliament the right to determine the balance of risks?

    Let’s go biblical. “Thou hast left undone those things that you ought to have done and you have done those things that you ought not to have done.”

  48. Peter D Gardner
    December 5, 2023

    there is a theory of bureacracies (Max Weber?) that says when they reach a certain complexiy, no matter how many more resources are applied output will not increase. On a smaller scale good project managers know that even when milestones are at risk adding more staff doesn’t necessarily help.
    When I was in the Royal Navy serving in HMS Collingwood in Hampshire, at that time the biggest training establishment in Europe, I developed a rule of thumb, “If you want a really good bureacacy that ticks all the right boxes but does little of use, ask Naval Officers to design it.” In ships they are brilliant, of course.
    Similarly in the MoD I found that Army officers were the least able of the three services to adapt to working in a civilian bureaucracy – brilliant in other ways but not in that environment. But a first step would obviously be to increase the number of senior officers.
    In the context of productivity – see my comment on your article on that – the ONS measures productivity in areas accunting for 41% of public expenditure by simply assuming inputs = outputs by definition. That explains quite a lot.
    Fundamental redesign required.

  49. Hat man
    December 5, 2023

    Cut the public sector, Sir John? Your government expanded the public sector massively a couple of years ago, with a hugely inflationary increase in state spending, all just to ‘deal with’ a cold virus outbreak. Those colleagues of yours wanted the public to be afraid, and feel they needed protection by the state. So you now have an electorate that strongly wants to be kept ‘safe’. Conservatism has never traditionally been about a ‘big state’ agenda, so now don’t be surprised if Labour looks more attractive. That is their agenda. And who would begrudge more civil service jobs if those people were supposedly keeping the public safe against ‘the virus’ or climate change?

  50. Ian B
    December 5, 2023

    @acorn – Unfortunately, Heathrow hasn’t been in UK hands for many years, all that is happening is the deckchairs are being moved

  51. Martin
    December 7, 2023

    Now whoever is in charge of the DWP has decided to snoop on pensioners’ bank accounts. This of course will need a vast army to administer (in the name of cutting crime), in reality just more big brother police state.

    I expect a “foreign actor” will be very interested in this.

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