Camilla Turner, The Telegraph, December 11, 2022
One million civil service days a year are wasted on equality and diversity training, a new report has found.
Research by Conservative Way Forward, a Tory think tank, says this costs the taxpayer an estimated £150 million a year.
It includes 24 days a year spent by the Intellectual Property Office on the “respect at work board game” and almost 1,500 staff days spent by the London Fire Brigade on equality training.
The report reveals that public sector organisations employ 10,000 members of staff to deal with issues focused on equality, diversity and inclusivity (EDI).
These roles set the taxpayer back £427 million a year and the average EDI employee receives an annual salary of £42,000, compared to the average nurse’s salary of £34,000, the report claims.
It says British taxpayers face the highest tax burden since the Second World War, but millions of pounds from the public purse are being spent on “damaging and politically motivated activities”.
The think tank’s research is based on an audit of government accounts and Freedom of Information requests to 6,000 public bodies, covering spending on EDI initiatives in government, arms-length organisations and contractors, including the company building the HS2 rail link.
Chancellor faces rebellion over ‘woke’ projects
EDI jobs in the public sector cost the taxpayer £557 million a year, the report claims, while billions are spent on diversity initiatives by quangos, including contributions to a campaign on “unlearning whiteness” by the publicly-funded Arts Council.
The Conservative Way Forward research also highlights that 397 local councils across the UK employ 794 EDI members of staff between them. On average, every council across the UK employs two full-time members of staff and has an average annual expenditure of £67,000.
The MPs have written to Mr Hunt to demand that ministers cut spending on equality and diversity measures and grants to charities and quangos in order to reduce taxes.
Their letter criticises his decision to “tax the British public at levels not seen since the end of the Second World War”, and to “spend more public money in 2023 and 2024 than at any point since the mid-1970s”.
Whitehall sources said Mr Hunt would consider the report’s findings as part of an efficiency review he announced in the Autumn Statement last month.
A Treasury spokesman said: “The Chancellor has been clear that spending discipline is crucial for building market credibility, ensuring economic stability, driving long-term growth and sustainably funding public services.
“Value for money remains paramount for the Treasury. To help manage pressures from higher inflation and keep spending focused on the government’s priorities, departments will continue to identify efficiency savings in day-to-day budgets.
“To support departments to do this, the Chancellor is launching an efficiency and savings review. This will include reprioritising spending away from lower-value and low-priority programmes.”