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    5. Jeremy Hunt declares war on Whitehall's 'immoral' waste

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    Jeremy Hunt declares war on Whitehall's 'immoral' waste

    The Chancellor said the Office for Budget Responsibility had “gone against us”, leaving him with less room to maneuver than he had hoped. Photo: Paul Grover for the Telegraph

    Jeremy Hunt is plotting a war on Whitehall's “immoral” waste to fund tax cuts, The Telegraph reports.

    In an exclusive interview, the Chancellor said he would unveil in this week's Budget plans to tackle public sector bureaucracy and cut tens of thousands of civil service jobs.

    He promised to cut bureaucratic red tape that forces doctors, nurses and police officers to spend hours filling out forms, and criticized Whitehall departments that waste government money money for “woke” initiatives, which he believes are “very difficult to defend.”

    < p>The Chancellor also said the economic forecasts he received this week from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had “gone against us”, leaving him with a smaller budget headroom than he had hoped

    And he added that He believes people have reached a “limit” on how high they are willing to see their taxes rise, but warned there is a “long way to go” before he cuts them.Mr Hunt is weighing whether to scrap non-resident status or extend the windfall tax on oil and gas companies as he looks for new ways to fund tax breaks for Midlands in the Budget.

    Treasury officials are believed to be considering a range of options, including cutting staff's National Insurance contributions, cutting income tax and extending the fuel duty moratorium.

    The Sunday Times reported that Mr Hunt would scrap the preferential tax treatment for holidays in the Budget. The move is expected to help raise £300 million a year.

    This week Mr Hunt will announce plans to boost public sector productivity in a bid to secure up to £1.8 billion in benefits by 2029 pounds.

    He said: “Public sector spending is immoral. This takes money out of taxpayers' pockets.”

    The Chancellor said he wanted to restart the public sector reform program that had been halted during the pandemic, adding: “We are going to do this for a very conservative reason, and that is because I look around the world and I know that the most successful economies are these are lower tax countries, particularly in North America and Asia.”

    Mr Hunt further stated that “there is too much waste in many parts of the public sector”, adding that “the money we spending on public services could be spent much more efficiently.”

    He also criticized the “woke” spending of Whitehall departments, where civil servants' time and resources are spent on equality, diversity and inclusion, recruitment and initiatives.

    Glass ceilings

    “I find some of these initiatives very difficult to defend. ” he said.

    “I'm a big proponent of breaking glass ceilings, but the people who break glass ceilings or can make sure glass ceilings are broken are the people who run companies and organizations. This is not something you should subcontract to some group of people who are paid a lot of money.”

    Earlier this year, the head of Britain's spending watchdog warned that the public sector was wasting more than £10 billion a year pounds sterling of taxpayers' money. Gareth Davies, head of the National Audit Office, said poor management, benefit fraud and “outdated” computer systems were to blame.

    The Chancellor will announce a series of measures to improve productivity, such as equipping MRI scanners with artificial intelligence so patients can get results faster, and interviewing witnesses and crime victims via video call to speed up police investigations.

    Mr Hunt said he would like to see civil service job numbers return to pre-pandemic levels, meaning 66,000 jobs would be cut in Whitehall, the equivalent of one in seven.

    “I think overall there are definitely areas where we hire more people than we should,” he said. “I think we need to get back to pre-Covid levels when it comes to the number of government employees.

    “There has been a huge expansion of the public service during the pandemic and it has been worth it. It was an exceptional situation, but now we are not in a pandemic. And yet we ended up with a civil service that is significantly larger than it was.”

    Mr Hunt is facing a backlash from Conservatives and army chiefs after reports emerged that that there will be no new money. announced for the Ministry of Defense in Wednesday's Budget. The Defense Secretary has written to the Chancellor in a formal letter asking for more money, in which he warned the UK needs to “restore our leadership in Europe.”

    Responding to the scandal, Mr Hunt said: “Nobody needs convince me of the importance of our commitment to defense. And I think we're going to have to spend more money on defense. But in order to finance this for many years, I need to get the economy growing.”

    Interview

    Jeremy Hunt: “Society is at the limit of its tax capacity”; Read more

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