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After high profile sacking, UK civil servants fear for jobs under Truss

Published : Wednesday, 28 September, 2022 at 12:00 AM  Count : 466

LIVERPOOL, Sept 27: "Speaking truth unto power" has long been the motto of Britain's civil service, but now some government workers charged with offering ministers impartial advice whatever their party are fearful of their political bosses and are keeping quiet.
Some say it's been a long and slow whittling away of confidence among civil servants, or public sector officials, who for years have been accused of resisting change by elected lawmakers, particularly in the governing Conservative Party.
But it was the sacking of the top official at the finance ministry by his new boss Kwasi Kwarteng on the day that Liz Truss was appointed prime minister that sent shockwaves through a service which has already been charged with reducing numbers to save government money.
Bob Kerslake, head of the civil service between 2011 and 2014, said the sacking of Tom Scholar as permanent secretary at the Treasury broke with the convention of having officials that serve the government "whatever their political affiliations".
"(It) creates a sense of fear inside the civil service at senior level which will prevent them for giving the honest advice to ministers that they need to hear," he told Reuters.
"You need the civil service to be robust and honest right from the off," said Kerslake, rejecting accusations that they have resisted change. He now serves as an independent member of the upper house of parliament, the House of Lords.    -REUTERS



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