Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps says: ‘cuts have made us perform better’

PUBLISHED: 06:30 06 August 2012

Grant Shapps  MP

Grant Shapps MP

ANDREW PARSONS /CCHQ

MP Grant Shapps has claimed his Whitehall department is performing better, because it has axed more than half its staff since the General Election.

The revelation came as housing minister Mr Shapps was responding to figures unearthed by low tax pressure group the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA).

Their figures showed Mr Shapps’ Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) had shed 101 staff since the end of last year – statistics the Welwyn Hatfield MP said were “accurate, but selective”.

Mr Shapps said the true picture in the department, where he works under Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, was even more austere.

He told the WHT: “The TaxPayers’ Alliance only looked at a three month period, where the reduction of staff was 101.”

But he added: “From May 2010 [the date of the General Election] to October 2012 staff numbers in the Department and its former network of Government Offices and the Regional Development Agencies are reducing from nearly 4,000 to below 1,800 – a 54 per cent reduction in headcount.”

And he said despite cutting hundreds of staff, the effect had “not been detrimental”.

“If anything it’s actually improved the performance” he said. “This is because too many people used to be involved in decisions, which would lead to paralysis where nobody wanted the buck to stop with them.

“Having a tighter team has meant greater individual responsibility and I’ve seen key individuals who have been in the civil service for years, absolutely rise to the challenge.”

He added: “There’s no doubt that the size of Government had become unbelievably bloated under the previous administration.

“This country used to run large sections of the world with a fraction of the number of civil servants employed by the time of the last election.”

The TPA slammed Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey for “presiding over an increase in his empire”.

In the same quarter that the MoD shed five per cent of its staff, the headcount at Mr Davey’s department and “associated quangos” increased by more than four per cent.

Of the more thrifty departments the TPA’s political director, Jonathan Isaby, said: “We have always believed that as well as making examples of those who have shown a disregard for public money, it is important to recognise those who are seeking to do the right thing by taxpayers.”


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