Mark Drakeford warns UK Government not to treat Wales as ‘test bed’ for civil service job cuts
Mark Drakeford has warned the UK Government not to treat Wales as a “test bed” for cuts to the civil service.
Speaking in the Senedd he said that he feared that if 91,000 civil servants were to lose their jobs, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson had said, then about 6,000 of those would be in Wales.
The Daily Mail reported last week that the Prime Minister had ordered the “swollen” civil service pared back by a fifth in order to save £3.5bn.
Last month, Boris Johnson also threatened to “privatise the arse off” Swansea’s DVLA and other public bodies unless they start delivering better services.
First Minister Mark Drakeford was asked in the Senedd by Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price whether the UK Government had communicated any plans to cut civil service jobs or privatise government bodies.
“Has the UK Government shared the detail of their proposals with you as to where their axe is going to be wielded here in Wales, or was the first you heard about this, like the employees in question, via the Daily Mail?” Adam Price asked.
Mark Drakeford responded that “if they decide that Wales is to be the test bed for it, then they will find a strong opponent here, in the Welsh Government”.
“And certainly if they think that we will take a disproportionate share of job cuts, how much that will fly in the face of any claims this Government makes to levelling up big parts of the country outside the south-east of England.”
He added: “The fear is, as the leader of Plaid Cymru says, that we would take a disproportionately high number of job cuts here in Wales.”
“Faced with difficulties of their own making, the UK Conservative Government reaches immediately, in a knee-jerk way, for the sorts of solutions that it has tried elsewhere and that have failed so badly, and threatens some of those agencies full of very hard-working people, who did so much during the pandemic to continue to provide a public service, and threatens them with privatisation,” he said.
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