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Govt claims less than 20% of civil servants are on strike

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said fewer than 20% of civil servants were on strike today compared with a third in the last big walkout in 2011.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude speaks in the House of Commons today. Credit: PA

Read: Poll suggests Britons split on public sector strike action

Mr Maude said today's disruption was the fault of union leaders and urged public sector workers that the right to strike must be exercised "responsibly".

He pointed out that only one in five members of Unite and Unison had taken part in ballots leading to the strike, adding that low turnouts strengthened the case for reform.

Watch: Gove claims teachers have 'no excuse' for going on strike

DWP: IDS has 'not shied away from tough decisions'

In response to Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude's admission that the implementation of the Universal Credit system has been "pretty lamentable", the Department for Work and Pensions has told ITV News Iain Duncan Smith has "not shied away from any tough decisions" over the policy:

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DWP spox says Iain Duncan Smith has not shied away from any tough decisions in terms of Universal Credit development and implementation.

Watch: Cabinet Office minister says it was "very regrettable" so much had been wasted on Universal Credit

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Labour: 'When will IDS get a grip on Universal Credit?'

Labour's shadow work and pension secretary Rachel Reeves has asked "when will the PM and IDS [Iain Duncan Smith] get a grip" on Universal Credit, after Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude admitted to ITV News that its implementation had been "pretty lamentable" so far:

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Even cabinet ministers are now admitting Universal Credit is a shambles. When will PM and IDS get a grip? http://t.co/atKNnM5yU7

Watch: Cabinet Office minister says it was "very regrettable" so much had been wasted on Universal Credit

Minister: Serco repayment 'good news for taxpayers'

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said it was "good news for taxpayers" that Serco has agreed to repay £68.5 million for overcharging on criminal tagging contracts.

He said:

We are confident that the company is taking steps to address the issues which our review has identified.

Since day one this Government has been working to reform contract management and improve commercial expertise in Whitehall.

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Lobbyists' register would have made 'no difference'

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude Credit: Daybreak

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has said that a statutory register of lobbyists, as Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has called for, would have made "no difference at all" to recent allegations of lobbying.

"There are already rules which say that MPs cannot take money as an advocate in Parliament," he told Daybreak.

He added that the former Conservative MP Patrick Mercer's alleged offence was "against the rules," but that there was a "perfectly proper need" for professional lobbyists.

Read: Tory MP accused of tabling questions for fake lobbying firm

Francis Maude defends his role in Thatcher's fall as PM

Conservative minister Francis Maude is overseeing Lady Thatcher's funeral arrangements.
Conservative minister Francis Maude is overseeing BaronessThatcher's funeral arrangements. Credit: PA

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, who is overseeing the funeral arrangements for Baroness Thatcher, has denied being the first to "plunge the knife" when the Conservative party forced her out of office 23 years ago.

Maude told Sky News' Murnaghan programme: "No I didn't, I simply told her what I believed to be the truth."

In her memoirs, Thatcher recalled how "reliable ally" Maude was the first to tell her she had to go.

Civil Service Head: Whitehall reforms a 'good plan'

The head of the Civil Service, Sir Bob Kerslake, has tweeted that the announcement later today on reforms to Whitehall is a "good plan" for his colleagues.

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Important announcement today by Francis Maude on Civil Service Reform. This is a good plan that civil servants can and should get behind.

Sweeping changes for a slimmed-down Whitehall

The government wants to change the way Whitehall operates to increase accountability, simplify hierarchies and make sure government departments operate more like businesses.

A pedestrian walks past a sign to Whitehall
A pedestrian walks past a sign to Whitehall Credit: Press Association

Three departments in particular will undergo reviews to make them function more effectively. They are: The Department for Education, Work and Pensions and Communities and Local Government.

The Financial Times looks at what the review is trying to achieve.

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