Stop attacking civil servants, union chief tells politicians

Prospect chief Mike Clancy uses conference speech to warn that “every single public service is suffering”
Mike Clancy speaking at the conference. Photo: Prospect

By Tevye Markson

10 Jun 2024

Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy has called for politicians to stop attacking civil servants and take responsibility for their own decisions in a speech at the union’s biennial conference.

Speaking to the union's delegates yesterday, Clancy said it is "high time politicians did the decent thing, the right thing, and took responsibility for their own decisions".

Clancy also warned that “every single public service is suffering" from spending cuts, picking out recruitment issues at the Ministry of Defence and the Health and Safety Executive as two examples.

“After over a decade of spending cuts, the public are discovering the services they expect are just not there any more," he said.

“Whether it is our rivers full of pollution, or that we have fewer health and safety inspectors than MPs, or that our prisons are full, or that we have thousands of vacancies in the Ministry of Defence, every single public service is suffering.”

Setting out his priorities for an incoming government, Clancy picked out ministerial attacks on public servants as a key issue alongside the crisis in public services and "broken" pay system, adding: "Valuing public services means valuing public servants. But it’s not just about the cuts, or the low pay, it's also about respect and honesty.

“This government have time and again sought to weaponise public opinion against our civil servants. Whether it’s been attacks on experts, or the blob, or now blaming the deep state, it’s high time politicians did the decent thing, the right thing, and took responsibility for their own decisions.”

Clancy also talked about the importance of the upcoming election on 4 July. “We’re a proudly politically independent union,” he said. “We will never try to tell members how to vote. They are intelligent people and can make up their own minds.

“But it feels like it is going to be one of those elections that could define the era to come, for better or for ill, a ’79, ’97 or 2010 election. And it’s clear that workers’ rights and workers’ future are on the ballot paper in this election.

“We need a government whose ambition for our country matches the ambition of our members – for their careers, for their industries, for their union and for their country."

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