Hunt Eyes Autumn Statement for Woke Waste Crackdown Plan

Away from Jeremy Hunt’s launch of a public sector productivity task force last night, Guido understands the crackdown on wasteful equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) spending across Whitehall is motoring ahead, with a full action plan expected to be unveiled at the autumn statement. As Guido reported in January, 40 Tory MPs signed a letter telling Hunt to take action after Conservative Way Forward revealed “politically motivated campaigns” were costing the taxpayer more than £7 billion a year. Treasury sources told Guido the Chancellor had taken the report “really seriously”…

An internal Treasury memo shows Hunt’s expecting to make an “ambitious and credible” announcement at the despatch box after the review is complete:

“The review should provide an overview of the spending and impact of EDI work in the Civil Service, probably through a survey and an internal report of the findings, with a view to making action-orientated recommendations. The expertise of the CO in this area will ensure that questions asked, and analysis of the answers, will give government a transparent picture of what we are spending, whether it works, and produce an ambitious and credible announcement for the fiscal event. The main output I anticipate is an announcement of our findings and the actions we plan to take, so this short and focused exercise should be a considerably simpler ask than a full-blown independent review with a published report and recommendations to implement.”

These reviews, promises, and actions plans have cropped up before to no avail. Sajid Javid, as Health Secretary, finally vowed to limit the dozens of NHS diversity manager jobs, yet new vacancies still seem to appear every day or so. Hunt thinks this should be a “considerably simpler task” than a full-blown review. Guido will believe it when he sees it…

mdi-timer 13 June 2023 @ 12:31 13 Jun 2023 @ 12:31 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Hunt Orders Treasury to Cut Down on Woke Whitehall Waste

Jeremy Hunt has dispatched Treasury mandarins to finally crack down on woke waste across Whitehall. Guido hears from multiple Treasury sources that the Chancellor asked Civil Service officials to pore over Conservative Way Forward’s bombshell report, published last month, after the group revealed “politically motivated campaigns” were costing the taxpayer more than £7 billion a year. 40 Tory MPs signed a letter telling Hunt to take action…

While the work is ongoing, sources say the Treasury are taking the report “really seriously”, with multiple teams working on potential areas to reduce waste – including the thousands of “equality manager” jobs that spawn every five minutes. Of course, Sajid Javid once vowed to row back on these non-jobs during his tenure as Health Secretary, and still they appear…

Even so, it’s an obvious area to find savings. At least the Treasury aren’t sitting on their hands…

mdi-timer 12 January 2023 @ 12:53 12 Jan 2023 @ 12:53 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Treasury Orthodoxy is Dead, Long Live Treasury Orthodoxy

In a sign that Liz Truss’s war on Treasury orthodoxy has been completely lost, Guido hears that Jeremy Hunt, Scrooge-like, is now receiving visits from the ghosts of Treasury past. This morning, eyebrows were raised when George Osborne was spotted entering Downing Street. Far from George being the surprise pick for Rishi’s new ethics commissioner, Guido understands George had popped in for a meeting with Jeremy Hunt. Who better placed to give advice on a new austerity drive?

It doesn’t end there. Guido learns Hunt has been keen to talk to all his recent predecessors, including Philip Hammond and Sajid Javid – and, presumably, Rishi – as he scrambles to put together the November statement. Presumably Kwasi Kwarteng is not high up on Jeremy’s priority meetings list…

mdi-timer 27 October 2022 @ 15:45 27 Oct 2022 @ 15:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Treasury Accidentally Reveals Cabinet Unity Concerns

The Treasury’s Flickr photo account has uploaded a swathe of hi-res photos, and accidentally forgotten to blur out some of the pages being held by Jeremy Hunt. In one of the documents he’s holding, we can read the Treasury’s concern about potential Cabinet disunity:

“I must emphasise – showing cabinet unity on these measures is critical to achieving the stability we need. Comms discipline is vital – the detail of these announcements must not be made public before the press conference later if we want them to have the right impact.”

The same document appears to discuss Hunt’s intention to set up a “new economic advisory [board?] consisting of leading and respected economists.”

Another photo also reveals deliberations about the Energy Bill Relief Scheme for businesses, which so far will only target the most “vulnerable sectors after six months.”

The Treasury looks to be deliberating “targeted grants”, and to bring down costs “we would need to provide much more limited support to” the most “vulnerable groups of businesses.” Still, at least it’s not as bad a screw-up as when No. 10’s Flickr accidentally leaked Carrie’s phone number…

Hat-tip: Rob Powell
UPDATE: The pages have now been blurred on the Flickr account. A bit late now…

mdi-timer 17 October 2022 @ 14:56 17 Oct 2022 @ 14:56 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Team Rishi Deny that ‘Efficiency Savings’ are “Not Credible”

Last night Team Rishi set out his plan for mass additional cost of living support in the winter, without many details. Slamming Liz Truss’s tax cut plan as one that “won’t touch the sides” for most people in need of support, Rishi says he will be “prepared to act”. 

“I’m very clear about what is required to help people, and as soon as we know how much bills will go up by, I will act.

And it’s important for people to know how this extra support will be paid for. In order to keep any one-off borrowing to an absolute minimum I will first seek efficiency savings across Whitehall to provide direct support for families to help with the unprecedented situation we face.”

On the promise of paying for much of his future fiscal support through efficiency savings, his team said that, as Chancellor, Rishi instructed all departments to find efficiency savings to help fund additional spending to support Ukraine.

As Chancellor, Rishi did indeed scrape together cash from departmental efficiency savings. Every department – including devolved administrations – was asked to identify 1.5% of capital departmental expenditure limit (CDEL) underspends. The process, which according to a Treasury source, did work well, raised £1 billion for arms for Ukraine a few weeks ago. However, said source raised three major concerns about the plan:

  1. Given HMT has just performed this exercise, it lacks credibility to say there’s still “free” money sitting around in departments waiting to be repurposed
  2. Departments only managed to cobble together £1 billion from this recent exercise, which is a good amount for arms for Ukraine, however will equally not touch the sides of the cost of living crisis facing Brits this winter. The total package cost so far already amounting to £37 billion…
  3. On a purely inter-governmental relations level, some think repeating this process indefinitely across Whitehall, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland cannot be done without seriously fracturing relationships.

In response, Team Rishi say the OBR typically assumes that every year 8% of total government capital plans will typically go unspent and they’re merely saying that in a cost of living crisis that money should be put to immediate use support families, rather than simply returning to the Exchequer. Rishi says he wants his plan to involve as little “one-off borrowing” as possible. Clearly his opponents believe efficiency savings are not the answer to that objective…

mdi-timer 9 August 2022 @ 11:45 9 Aug 2022 @ 11:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Leaked Treasury Memo Warns “Leaking is Unacceptable”

Unfortunately Guido has upset the Red Guards of the Culture War over at the Treasury again. Following Guido’s story on Friday, revealing how civil servants were being encouraged into Maoist-style policing of each other’s woke-ness – by becoming “critical allies” of the department and making it “clear to everyone around you about where you stand” – a less than amused Executive Management Board (EMB) of the Treasury has today sent a round robin to all staff warning them against ever leaking again, and claiming whoever’s caught will face “disciplinary procedures”. On cue, here’s the statement in full, as leaked by brave civil servants:

“Last week an internal Redbox blog by a member of the Ethnic Diversity Network was leaked to the media. This leak was discussed at EMB, who wanted to remind all staff of our values and that leaking is unacceptable, constitutes misconduct and is subject to our disciplinary procedures.

Frank and open internal communications on the issues that matter to you can only be enabled by trust. Breaching that trust through leaks such as this inhibits debate and makes communication harder for all of us.”

One of Guido’s moles within the department claims there’s no such thing as “internal ‘debate’ or accountability”, and “external pressure is the only way” to resist the ideological groupthink throughout Whitehall. In any case, all this nonsense should be publicly available, not secret. Taxpayers are entitled to know. Any other mandarins who want to come forward should get in touch at

mdi-timer 30 May 2022 @ 17:19 30 May 2022 @ 17:19 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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