BORIS Johnson could be set to slash the Cabinet in half by scrapping whole government departments in a bid to save £8bn if he is elected Prime Minister.
The Tory leadership hopeful is reported to be considering a move to abolish or merge departments such as Justice, Transport and Work and Pensions.
The former Foreign Secretary has already said he wants to merge the Department for International Development and the Foreign Office.
It is thought combining the Departments for International Trade and International Development with the Foreign Office would save £1 billion.
Members of Boris Johnson’s team are looking at the departments for Justice, Business, Culture, International Trade, Work and Pensions, Transport, and Brexit to see if they could be abolished or merged with other departments, reports The Telegraph.
Among those putting their weight behind Mr Johnson’s campaign are Dominic Raab, the former Brexit secretary and Andrea Leadsom, the former leader of the house.
The Whitehall landscape has ballooned and we should be in favour of decentralisation, thinking about how we can drive efficiency and outcomes
Sources inside Mr Johnson’s camp said any streamlining of Whitehall would have to wait until after Brexit was complete as the first 100 days of Mr Johnson entering Number 10 would be taken up with ensuring the UK left the EU by the deadline of October 31.
Some want to slash the number of Whitehall departments in half, from 25 to 12.
Mrs Leadsom said: “I’m certainly of the view that we need to merge some departments and we need fewer people in Cabinet.
“There is a case for slimming down Whitehall but we can’t do that until we have left the EU and have a chance to review the way the Government works.”
Ms Patel said: “The Cabinet needs to be smaller. The Whitehall landscape has ballooned and we should be in favour of decentralisation, thinking about how we can drive efficiency and outcomes. The current Whitehall set-up encourages institutionalised groupthink instead.”
I’m certainly of the view that we need to merge some departments and we need fewer people in Cabinet
One MP who supports Mr Johnson told The Telegraph: “There are three good reasons for cutting the number of departments – you would have fewer people trying to find ways to spend public money, you would have fewer internecine fights between departments and you would have fewer people trying to find ways of imposing regulations.
“On top of that you could also cut the wage bill by employing fewer civil servants.”
Earlier this year Mr Johnson said the Department for International Development, which was set up in 1997, should be merged with the Foreign Office as it led to an “inevitable waste of money”.
The Department for International Trade, which was created in 2016, is also seen as unnecessary by many of Mr Johnson’s supporters.
The Brexit Department, formed in 2016, will also be redundant once Britain has left the EU.
It is also thought Mr Johnson is being urged to abolish the Justice Department and bring it under the control of the Home Office.
Other ideas said to be being considered are the merging of the Offices for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland into a Department for Devolved Affairs.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport could also be abolished and the various areas split off into other departments.
Another supporter of Mr Johnson told the paper: “You could abolish departments without necessarily having to get rid of all the Cabinet posts, in the same way that some departments already have more than one minister attending Cabinet. That would get round the problem of patronage.
“But it’s more likely to be something that would happen after a general election.”
A source close to Boris said: “This is absolute nonsense.”
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