Hunt faces Tory revolt over £7bn government spending on ‘woke’ project

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A report by the Conservative Way Forward think tank says billions of pounds are being frittered away on unconscious bias training, quangos and equality and diversity officers.

Big beasts Iain Duncan Smith and former party chairman Sir Jake Berry are among 40 Tory MPs who have written to the Chancellor demanding he takes urgent action to crack down on bloated public spending.

Axing woke projects will free up billions of pounds for tax cuts, they said.

In a blistering letter, they say: “In the recent budget, the Government decided to tax the British public at levels not seen since the end of the Second World War, and to spend more public money in 2023 and 2024 than at any point since the mid-1970s.

“We need to be able to reassure our constituents, who are worried about the cost of living crisis, that every penny of taxpayers’ money spent on their behalf provides value for money and is not wasted,” they add.

They say the report – called Defunding Politically Motivated Campaigns –  shows the scale of Treasury waste on “politically motivated and divisive activities”.  

They added: “We will have a much better chance of cutting taxes or spending more on frontline public services if we end this sort of waste.”

The devastating CWF reveals that public sector organisations employ 10,000 members of staff to deal with issues exclusively focused on “equality, diversity, and inclusivity”.

These roles set the taxpayer back £427 million a year and the average EDI employee receives an annual salary of £42,000, compared to the average nurse’s salary of £34,000.

The disparity in wages means that the £427 million spent on 10,000 EDI roles is enough to pay for the annual salaries of 12,000 nurses.

The report also finds that, across the public sector, one million staff days a year are committed to “equality training” programmes, with an estimated cost to the taxpayer of a further £150million.

This includes 24 days a year spent by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) on the “respect at work boardgame”, 1,458 staff days spent by the London Fire Brigade, 13,000 staff days spent by the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue service on equality training, 4,800 days committed by Essex Police, as well as the “African Drumming Sessions” provided to staff at Warwickshire County Council at the taxpayer’s expense.

The information was collected by CWF, which sent 6000 Freedom of Information requests to public authorities including central government departments, devolved government, local councils, universities, school boards, emergency services, health bodies, the UK Parliament, court system, Armed Forces, and media and cultural bodies.

CWF research has also revealed that charities which have publicly described the government’s Rwanda asylum plan as “unthinkably cruel” received £203million from government grants and contracts between 2017 and 2021.

This includes £65 million to Migrant Help, the organisation which failed at Manston whilst doubling its profits.

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