I did not discuss the matter with Civil Service trade unions prior to the announcement, however officials engaged with unions promptly after the announcement was made and this dialogue will continue. Trade unions have written to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster on this matter and will receive a response in due course.
The size of the civil service has swelled by almost 25% since 2016 – the highest numbers for over a decade. This was partly driven by the once in a generation challenge of dealing with a global pandemic, as well as extra staff required to deliver the UK’s departure from the EU.
We are incredibly grateful to the civil service for the outstanding job they do in delivering for the public but when people across the country are facing pressures on living costs, the public rightly expect their government to lead by example and to run as efficiently as possible.