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Telegraph claims ‘English taxpayers’ are footing the bill for remote working arrangements of Welsh civil servants

02 Jan 2023 3 minute read
Mark Drakeford picture by Ben Birchall / PA Wire. Jacob Rees-Mogg picture by Aaron Chown / PA Wire.

The Telegraph has claimed “English taxpayers” are footing the bill for the remote and hybrid working arrangements of civil servants in Wales introduced during the Covid pandemic.

The criticism comes after a Freedom of Information Act request showed that in September, only 10.3% of the 5,287 civil servants attended work in person across the Welsh Government’s 10 main offices.

Jacob Rees-Mogg carried out an attack on the Welsh Government saying its remote workers are a “expensive way of delivering a poor service”.

Rees-Mogg also accused the Welsh Government of “treating taxpayers contemptuously” by pointlessly renting, heating and lighting office space.

He told the Telegraph: “Taxpayers’ money ought to be used responsibly. Although it seems clear that working from home has led to lower quality public services, if for ideological reasons, the Welsh Government encourages working from home, it ought to reduce its office accommodation.”

Since Covid 19 restrictions were lifted in Wales, 9 out of 10 of its civil servants have continued to work from home.

Hypocrisy

Earlier this year Mr Rees-Mogg, at the time the UK minister for government efficiency, was accused of hypocrisy after pushing for civil servants to return to the office having previously supported flexible working as part of government plans to minimise the need for office space used by civil servants.

Rees-Mogg had written in support of the UK Government’s 2018 Estate Strategy which set out plans to reduce the size of the government estate to free up public land for housing, including by promoting “smarter working” and “working in ways that minimise our need for office space”.

In an essay, co-written by Rees-Mogg, published the following year, he encouraged the government to “accelerate” the plans and appoint a senior cabinet minister “responsible for identifying and releasing public land for housing”.

Mark Drakeford previously supported a blended approach to remote working and said: “There is absolutely no case that says that people don’t work hard unless they are under the gaze of a government.”

Flexibility

A spokesperson for Mr Drakeford said: “Having the flexibility of office, remote and hybrid working brings benefits for local economies, businesses, individuals and the environment. These flexibilities increase productivity, improve work life balance, and deliver less air and noise pollution.

“Our vision is to maximise the benefits of office, remote and hybrid working for our people and organisation. We want to support our staff to retain the benefits of remote-working while also enabling them to come together in an office environment to connect and collaborate in person.”

In Parliament last year, brexiteer Rees-Mogg was unable to identify the leader of the Welsh Conservatives when asked by Labour MP, Kevin Brenna.

The Tory MP for North Somerset couldn’t name Andrew RT Davies and instead said: “My honourable friend the Secretary of State for Wales is called Simon Hart.”


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Arwyn
Arwyn
1 month ago

Oh, this pesky UK is such a drain on English taxpayers isn’t it. Best be shot of it doncha think?

Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
1 month ago
Reply to  Arwyn

Indeed…if I were the English, I think I would Engxit the UK and go it alone…

Frank
Frank
1 month ago
Reply to  Cathy Jones

Yes, the sooner they go back to wherever they came from the better. Whinge whinge whinge. They are all immigrants and they have the cheek to run down current immigrants. You could not make it up.

David
David
1 month ago
Reply to  Arwyn

The Telegraph should be encouraging it’s readership the advantage of allowing INDEPENDENCE for Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales in order to solve the English problem.

Tom Bennett
Tom Bennett
1 month ago

The NHS/GIG is paying for all sorts of treatments and prescriptions for English retired who have sold their high value homes over the border and moved here but have contributed very little in taxes for Cymru.

I.Humphrys
I.Humphrys
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom Bennett

Taxes should be gathered on the basis of one’s place of residence, then?

Arwyn
Arwyn
1 month ago
Reply to  Tom Bennett

How very disappointing of Nation there. Mr Bennett’s comment above merits a counter, which I provided with all due respect. Frankly I couldn’t give a stuff if it’s an unpopular fact but the opinion that English retirees constitute a burden on the Welsh taxpayer is demonstrably false as I demonstrated in my article that Nation itself published. So what if it gets voted down. It would serve many in the indy bubble very well to see how such opinions go down with the broader electorate. Does anyone belive it helps our cause to establish a Welsh State? Good luck with… Read more »

Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
1 month ago

More attacks of democracy in Cymru from the nouveau imperialists at the Tellygraff a newspaper I wouldn’t line my cats tray with for fear of it poisoning the animal.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago

The english taxpayer are always whingeing and claim to be paying for everyone else in Britain. Well, they shoulda blame their ancestors for being so obsessed in conquering, ruling and forcing unification of the British people. Only they wanted it! I don’t recall ever reading that the Welsh, Scots and Irish were doing cartwheels in favour. Now they have the cheek to throw it in our faces. There are 68,000,000 living in Britain of which 58,000,000 are English so I would calculate it costs them more to finance themselves than anyone else!!

Gareth
Gareth
1 month ago

The Tory’s have a history of getting rid of anything that does not return a profit for them. Look at the history of privatisation, part of the Tory doctrine. If, after all these years they have not been on the profit side of the deal, they would have dumped the other 3 countries long ago. This is just Tory bluster to pander to the party faithful, and pass the blame for mis management of the economy onto the Celts, ie look what they are costing us.

hdavies15
hdavies15
1 month ago
Reply to  Gareth

They even privatise stuff that doesn’t ever return a profit and go on to subsidise such ventures indefinitely from the public coffers. That is the truth at the heart of this Tory establishment scam – it keeps on sucking the public money t*t while moaning about tax burdens!

Steve Duggan
Steve Duggan
1 month ago

I love the Telegraph – it helps the call for Welsh independence no end. Just think, the more the paper criticises the cheaper it will be for us. Let it pay for the path to self determination – not us.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 month ago

Or ‘Torygraph advocates independence for Wales as poor English taxpayers are sick of paying for it’. Whatever is going on in Wales in this regard will be going on 10 fold in England so why aren’t the vocal in their complaints about that? Just more bigoted hate type against our country.

Gareth Davies
1 month ago

Strange that the Daily Torygraph has a go at the Welsh first minister 🤣 Some things are so predictable, even in the new year 🥱

Windy
Windy
1 month ago

The Australians had it right years ago when they called the English “whingeing poms” how far sighted of them

Rob
Rob
1 month ago

London media changing its hat from British to English whenever it suits them.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 month ago

Yawn, here we go again from the Anti-Wales/Welsh Telegraph trolls. English taxpayers fund Welsh this, Welsh that bilge. Let’s forget all the billions we’ve paid into the English treasury over the centuries from our coal resource, or the power created that’s transferred to the National Grid from those Nuclear & Hydro plants situated in our beautiful countryside blighted.. And the trillions of gallons of Welsh water piped daily into English homes & business for absolutely nothing that goes to power industry and to quench the thirst of Liverpool, Birmingham and other recipients at our expense. Ignorant fools. 🙄

dai ponty
dai ponty
1 month ago

This is the True face of the ENGLISH NATIONALIST PARTY the freak from the distant past to myself i hate him the most of the Tory scum The English Nationalist rags The Torygraph Daily Fail Mail Daily Depression Express and the Beono the Sun all only fit for toilet paper along with the vile right wing news channels G B news and Talk T V its like being in Germany in W W 2 with the hate they sprout. They criticise us in Wales and Scotland our N H S and other things but the same is going on in… Read more »

Charles Coombes
Charles Coombes
1 month ago

Another two reason for independence! To get away from Rees Mogg and the torygraph.

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