Uncertainty for Norfolk's civil servants in looming job cuts

A maskless Jacob Rees-Mogg smiles for the camera during the Conservative Party annual conference

Minister for government efficiency Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, pictured at the Conservative party conference. - Credit: PA

Civil servants in Norfolk are waiting to find out whether their jobs could be on the line, following the news that the government intends to cut some 91,000 civil service roles.

The reduction in staffing levels are part of a programme which ministers claim will help the civil service run more efficiently and free up money to ease the cost of living crisis.

According to official statistics, the six counties of the East of England are home to 22,590 civil servants. Analysis suggests that at least a few thousand of that number are based in Norfolk. 

The Cabinet Office and a number of other departments have offices at Rosebery Court in Thorpe St Andrew, while the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has an office on Thorpe Road in Norwich.

In addition, the Department for Work and Pensions have a presence in towns across the county, such as at Breckland Council’s offices in Dereham and West Norfolk Borough Council’s headquarters in King’s Lynn. 

Asked whether Norfolk’s civil servants could be among those to lose their jobs, a No 10 spokeswoman refused to provide any detail, instead saying: "The PM and ministers are clear that the civil service does an outstanding job delivering for the public and driving progress on the government’s priorities.

“But when people and businesses across the country are facing rising costs, the public rightly expect their government to lead by example and run as efficiently as possible.”

Rosebery Court, St Andrews Business Park, Thorpe St Andrew.Maritime and Coastguard Agency office c

The entrance to Rosebery Court in Thorpe St Andrew, shown in 2016 to be home to a number of government departments.

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The lack of clarity about the cuts has sparked anger from organisations like the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) Union. 

A PCS spokesman said the union had “no idea how the 91,000 figure has been logically arrived at”.

He said the proposed cuts were “completely arbitrary, unplanned, un-costed and unrealistic” and that “the civil service needs more resources, not less”. 

Prime minister Boris Johnson has justified the coming redundancies, telling the Daily Mail: “We have got to cut the cost of government to reduce the cost of living.”

Minister for government efficiency Jacob Rees-Mogg meanwhile told Sky News: “I know it sounds eye-catching but it's just getting back to the civil service we had in 2016... since then we've had to take on people for specific tasks. 

“So dealing with the aftermath of Brexit and dealing with Covid, so there's been a reason for that increase, but we're now trying to get back to normal.”

A Labour spokesman accused the government of "pointless rhetoric and lack of action".