26 April 2022 | NEWS

The Prime Minister has reportedly attacked several public bodies in a plea for the bodies to improve their services.

Boris Johnson, according to Government sources, has threatened to “privatise the a*** off” public bodies, including the Passport Office and the DVLA, unless their services improve.

It comes after the Government’s demand that civil servants return to their offices post the coronavirus pandemic. The Prime Minister, during a Cabinet meeting, criticised the “post-Covid mañana culture” being cultivated in the departments.

According to Government sources, during the conversation about the ongoing cost-of-living crisis spreading across the country, Boris Johnson suggested that the public bodies could be contributing to the crisis due to their inefficiency.

The Passport Office came under scrutiny by MPs yesterday after the department failed to hit its 10-week target for dealing with passport applications, following a post-coronavirus boom before the summer break. People have also had to pay up to a hundred pounds in order to fast-track their applications.

It is reported that five million people delayed updating their passports due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Passport Office has over three thousand employees who work in several different locations across the country.

Separately, the DVLA has come under fire as it was reported that civil servants have failed to return to their multi-million-pound offices in Swansea. The DVLA has over five thousand employees registered for work at their Swansea office.

Boris Johnson’s spokesman did not comment on the leaks from the Cabinet meeting but said: “The Prime Minister is adamant this is a serious issue facing families and it’s one that needs to be gripped.

“That’s his focus and he is ensuring that those responsible will be asked to make sure they are doing everything possible to clear this backlog and help hard-working families get their passports, get on holiday.”

Last week, Mr Rees-Mogg, the Brexit Opportunities and Government Efficiency Minister, criticised the DVLA, saying: “I am still constantly writing to the DVLA on behalf of my constituents to get them driving licences and we know that the DVLA was simply not working properly with people working from home. That’s very unfair on my constituents.”

Mr Rees-Mogg came under fire last week himself, after he left notes on the desks of civil servants in Whitehall expressing his desire to see employees back in their offices. He wrote in the notes: “Sorry you were out when I visited. I look forward to see you in the office very soon. With every good wish, Jacob Rees-Mogg.”

The PM’s spokesman said that the Prime Minister “supports any initiative that encourages people to return to pre-pandemic working”, including Mr Rees-Mogg’s action.

He added: “We are not talking about putting an end to flexible working, which continues to have a place in the modern workplace. We are talking about returning to pre-pandemic use of taxpayer-funded departmental buildings.”

Jonathan is a political reporter and commentator. His interests include philosophy and sociology.

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