Letters point to civil servants' Labour revolt

Civil servants opposed Labour ministers' final actions
Civil servants opposed Labour ministers' final actions

By politics.co.uk staff

Senior civil servants protested against ministerial decisions made in the final months of the Labour government, it has emerged.

The revelation follows comments by the Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury, David Laws, who said there had been a lot of spending commitments which "may not represent good value for money".

He claimed some of the decisions had been made against accounting officers' advice. Now it has emerged four protests were made in 2010 and nine in 2009.

These took the form of formal letters of direction, in which the minister clearly states the action to be taken.

"When it happens it tends to be a big spending decision where the civil service believes this is not the right thing to do," Jonathan Baume of the First Division Association, the union for senior civil servants said.

"The fact these letters of direction were being issued during 2010 does indicate there was some unhappiness about the spending decisions being taken."

The new government has been keen to accuse ministers in the Labour government of deliberately concealing hidden spending commitments in a 'scorched earth' approach.

Many had dismissed the reports as pure propaganda - but the existence of letters of direction reinforces the notion that the Labour government was taking a number of steps which attracted disapproval from civil servants.


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