The failings of the civil serviceby Vicky Pryce / December 13, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in January 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine
I wonder what impact a Margaret Hodge equivalent would make in the US, where the President-Elect believes that not paying tax is a smart thing to do? The Labour MP has come to prominence in recent years as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, taking to task tax evaders and shoddy public procurement projects.
Hodge was my minister in what was then called the Department for Trade and Industry in the mid-2000s, in charge of the business portfolio. I found that, unlike some of her fellow politicians, she listened to facts. In general, though, she distrusts the civil service, believing it often acts to frustrate politicians’ attempts at radical reform. She is astonished by the fact they get promoted and receive honours even if they do a consistently bad job, and when they leave take top roles in businesses related to their work. She may be right.