UK EFFICIENCIES minister Jacob Rees-Mogg has said he has never “gone away” from Thatcherism as he defended the cutting of thousands of civil servant jobs.

Plans to slash the civil service to its pre-Brexit levels by cutting around 91,000 from the Government payroll has caused alarm across government department and sparked the threat of strike action by unions.

It has been reported Boris Johnson has tasked the Cabinet with cutting staff by a fifth in an attempt to find money to ease the cost of living crisis.

READ MORE: Scots could be those ‘hit hardest by civil service job cuts’

On his Moggcast podcast for the Conservative Home website, Rees-Mogg was asked if the idea of finding efficiencies instead of using tax rises to increase spending or fund tax cuts - felt like “going back to Thatcherism”.

He responded: “Well, I have never gone away from Thatcherism, as you know from the many conversations we have had.

The National:

“But one of the things Margaret Thatcher was very good at was ensuring her economic policy met the circumstances of the day.

“And I think this is simply a recognition of the circumstances of the day.”

Rees-Mogg said that two years ago – at the beginning of the pandemic - billions of pounds had to be spent to “maintain the structures of the economy”.

READ MORE: Jacob Rees-Mogg sparks fury with demand to civil servants

But he argued the issue was now an inflationary one and it was not possible for the government to spend in the same way.

He added: “Now you are dealing with demand that exceeds supply and the government mustn’t add fuel to that fire.

“Therefore the first place to start is with the size of government itself, because you want the Government’s interventions to be helping individuals most particularly affected by the inflation, rather than making inflation worse by having a greater than necessary public sector.”

Rees-Mogg has also declared war on civil servants working from home, claiming they are choosing not to go into the office when it’s sunny and working a "three-day week", with the most popular days to work from home Mondays and Friday.

He was previously criticised for leaving “condescending” notes on empty desks of civil servants saying: "Sorry you were out when I visited. I look forward to seeing you in the office very soon."

READ MORE: Jacob Rees-Mogg accused of 'passive aggression' after leaving note for civil servants

Quizzed on the podcast on what would happen if heads of government departments disagreed with his approach, Rees-Mogg said: “The legal position is that within each department the Secretary of State or a minister to whom this has been delegated by the Secretary of State, has the authority to demand the civil servants work according to their contracts.

"And the job of the Permanent Secretary would be to implement that and it would be improper for a Permanent Secretary to obstruct a direct decision of a minister in this regard.”

He added: “There is a hardworking ethos in the civil service, unfortunately not represented by their trade union, which seems to want them to be in Tuscany to call into work.”