Jeremy Hunt has directed ministers to develop measures that would cut the Civil Service by 63,000 personnel in order to save £1 billion each year.
In a 14-minute address, the Chancellor stated that he would like to see fewer diversity and inclusion professionals propagate “woke” values throughout Whitehall.
He told Tory conference delegates that he would extend a Civil Service recruitment freeze and that each department would have to submit proposals to cut the number of officials they employ.
The goal is to lower the size of the Civil Service from 457,000 to 394,000 before the pandemic, a 15% reduction.
Mr Hunt said departments would also have to carry out an audit of inclusion staff to ensure they are needed.
There are about 10,000 such staff in Whitehall, and Mr Hunt’s expectation is that this will be reduced.
In his speech, the Chancellor suggested that improving public sector productivity could enable him to cut taxes.
“We have the best civil servants in the world and they saved many lives in the pandemic by working night and day,” he said.
“But even after that pandemic is over, we still have 63,000 more civil servants than before.
“New policies should not always mean new people. So, today I’m freezing the expansion of the Civil Service and putting in place a plan to reduce its numbers to pre-pandemic levels.”
He added: “If we increase public-sector productivity growth by just half a per cent, we can stabilise public spending as a proportion of GDP.
“Increase it by more and we can bring the tax burden down. ”
John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, welcomed the plan, saying: “Freezing Whitehall expansion is a step in the right direction.
“The mandarin jobs boom is one of the key drivers of the cost of government crisis that is hammering taxpayers.
“With the size of the Civil Service frozen, the Chancellor should now look to find savings by winding down unnecessary roles.”