'Woke hobby horse' diversity jobs in the Civil Service to be slashed by Government's 'common sense' minister

11 May 2024, 22:42 | Updated: 11 May 2024, 22:44

Esther McVey has announced that Civil Service jobs dedicated to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) will be banned - calling them 'woke hobby horses'.
Esther McVey has announced that Civil Service jobs dedicated to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) will be banned - calling them 'woke hobby horses'. Picture: Alamy

By Chay Quinn

Esther McVey has announced that Civil Service jobs dedicated to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) will be banned - calling them 'woke hobby horses'.

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The Cabinet Office minister said that in future there would be no more devoted EDI jobs in Whitehall outside human resources, and no more staff working solely on EDI work.

Under the plans, new guidance would stop all external EDI spending across the Civil Service unless it is specifically signed off and cleared by ministers.

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Ms McVey said she would also be meeting arms-length bodies which had spent the most on external EDI, asking them to explain how this spending was benefitting taxpayers.

The Tory MP for Tatton in Cheshire warned that the public sector must not become a "pointless job creation scheme for the politically correct".

London, England, UK. 7th May, 2024.
The Cabinet Office minister said that in future there would be no more devoted EDI jobs in Whitehall outside human resources, and no more staff working solely on EDI work. Picture: Alamy

The amount of staff time taken up by diversity programmes was "a major concern", she wrote.

"Time and money which should be spent on the core purpose of the public sector - delivering for the public - is being wasted on woke hobby horses.

"Most of these kinds of EDI programmes - especially when delivered by private companies or campaigning organisations - are not transparent, and their benefits unproven.

"If we can't prove their worth, then they don't pass the public interest test. So I'm determined to stop it."

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in October launched a review on spending on EDI schemes throughout the public sector, with the findings now having been passed to the Cabinet Office.

Spending on EDI has become a recurring bugbear for right-wing Tories, and promises to save public money by slashing such policies are likely to grow louder ahead of the general election.

Ms McVey will set out her plans in a speech in Westminster on Monday.