Senior adviser who 'expected to be made redundant at Christmas' leaving civil service for consultancy

Tim Leunig, a former economic adviser to Rishi Sunak, will leave DHSC after more than a decade in government
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By Tevye Markson

10 May 2023

A senior policy adviser who had said he expected to be made redundant as part of Boris Johnson-era plans to slash 91,000 civil service jobs has announced he will leave government to join consultancy firm Public First.

Tim Leunig, a former economic adviser to the then-chancellor Rishi Sunak, will leave his current role at the Department of Health and Social Care in the summer, ending a 12-year stint in the civil service.

“Working in the centre of government is a huge privilege, but it is time to move on,” Leunig said.

“I am grateful to all my civil service colleagues, and the ministers that we have worked for over the last 12 years.

“I am very much looking forward to working with my new colleagues, and getting stuck into new challenges.”

Leunig left his role as economic adviser to the chancellor last June, taking on a temporary role as senior policy adviser to the health secretary. He said at the time that he expected to be “made redundant at Christmas” as part of the Johnson administration’s plans to radically reduce the civil service headcount.

"If you might have a use for me, please get in touch," he added.

Johnson's job-cuts target was officially scrapped when Sunak became prime minister in October, saying he would instead focus on finding efficiency savings. However, significant job cuts are expected in the coming months.

At DHSC, Leunig has worked on policy areas including cancer and mental health. While at the Treasury he contributed to work on arbitration for commercial rents, high street rental auctions, and on the furlough scheme with civil servants in HM Revenue and Customs.

Before working at DHSC and the Treasury, Leunig was an adviser at Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; the former Department for Communities and Local Government; and the Department for Education, where he also spent three years as chief analyst.

As well as exiting the civil service, Leunig is leaving his role as associate professor in economic history at London School of Economics after five years.

Public First is a Westminister-based policy, research, opinion and strategy consultancy,  founded by Rachel Wolf, a former special adviser to Michael Gove who co-wrote the 2019 Conservative Party election manifesto, and her husband James Frayne, who is an ex-director of communications at the Department for Education.

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