by BFFF
Jul 6th, 2022
3 mins
BFFF

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) have warned that the Prime Ministers plans to slash the number of civil servants by 91,000 (about a fifth of the current workforce), with the aim of saving £3.5bn, is a threat to food safety that could undermine the UK’s food standards.

The FSA’s workforce has grown from around 960 in 2016 to about 1,200 today, largely to cope with additional responsibilities taken on since the UK left the EU. It has also announced recently that it was employing an extra 70 Official Veterinarians (OV) – a 25% increase, due to the shortage of vets needed to inspect abattoirs.

The Cabinet Office has asked every government department – including the FSA – to model headcount cuts of 20%, 30%, and 40% in a bid to return numbers of civil servants to 2016 levels.

The PM announced the plans saying that the civil service had become “swollen” during the Covid pandemic and “We have got to cut the cost of government to reduce the cost of living.” Government Efficiency Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said the cuts are about “doing things more efficiently”.

If carried out, the cuts would hinder the FSA’s ability to handle dangerous food incidents such as recent salmonella outbreaks, implement import controls on EU food, and reform EU law on issues like novel foods, CEO Emily Miles told attendees at the most recent FSA board meeting .

A decision on the civil service job cuts is expected in the autumn.

You can read more here and here

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