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While the spotlight is on Rishi Sunak today, Jacob Rees-Mogg is working away in the dark – if that’s the right way of describing a politician who’s not averse to a bit of attention himself.  But consider the position of the Minister charged with delivering greater Government efficiency.

Rees-Mogg is based not in the Treasury, the most powerful department, but in the teeming and troubled Cabinet Office.  He has no timetable for the delivery of savings.  Nor has he imposed targets for them on departments.

Nor does he have authority over other Cabinet Ministers.  If he wants particular savings from a particular department, he must negotiate with its Secretary of State – but without the institutional support of the Treasury, as I say.

Now it may be that the Chancellor, as war in the Ukraine continues, can relax a little on debt and the deficit – in the sense that it may be possible for the Government to borrow more money at a lower interest rate than would otherwise be the case.

Perhaps so, perhaps not, but Rees-Mogg’s work will be important either way.  It could scarcely not be with public sector net debt at its highest since the early 1960s, the budget deficit is higher than at any time since the Second World War.

Furthermore, the Treasury is saying that although surging tax revenues leave Sunak with more money, he won’t be able to use all of it to support people as the cost of living soars – since the extra money will be eaten up by higher debt interest.

We will see today to what extent if any that argument is a piece of expectation management, but Rees-Mogg’s work will clearly be important during the months ahead, whatever happens to public spending, tax and interest rates.

If the latter rise sharply, there will be special pressure on him to find savings.  But if they don’t, it will still be necessary for him to gain them, since government should always seek to find efficiency savings in order to spend elsewhere, cut taxes and repay debt.

Yet while the Treasury controls the quantity of spending is doesn’t seek to control the quality – not really.  Yes, it is currently asking each department for efficiency savings of about five per cent.

But responsibility for better value for money is as likely to rest elsewhere as in the Treasury itself – and when it does so, the story doesn’t always end happily.  Consider two cases: Francis Maude and Theodore Agnew.

Under the Coalition, Maude was the Minister responsible for making government more efficient – work that he undertook, like Rees-Mogg, from the Cabinet Office.  Here he is writing on ConservativeHome in 2015 about what he did.

Maude said that he had commissioned more from small businesses, improved civil service negotiating skills and reformed procurement. No Minister ever understates his case, but he undoubtedly worked hard for charge, and delivered quite a bit of it.

Move forward in time to Boris Johnson’s government, and you will find Agnew responsible for efficiency, but working from the Treasury rather than the Cabinet Office.  From which he spectacularly resigned in January.

Agnew quit from the despatch box in the Lords, claiming that the Treasury has “little interest in the consequences of fraud to our society”.  He was being questioned about the £4.3 billion of Covid loans written off by the Treasury.

He said that “a combination of arrogance, indolence and ignorance” was “freezing the government machine” – and walked out of the Upper House to a round of applause.  Not a happy ending, as I write above, for the Treasury at least.

For Rees-Mogg to deliver, he needs the kind of support that Maude got from David Cameron and that Agnew feels he didn’t get from Sunak.  What would that look like?  It doesn’t seem to make sense to have two sets of savings being required from two places.

So Rees-Mogg would be based in the Treasury, not the Cabinet Office.  Boris Johnson seems to agree.  I’ve previously reported that Downing Street floated appointing Rees-Mogg as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, but that the Chancellor resisted the move.

So Rees-Mogg is now doing whatever it is that he’s doing from where he’s doing it – and we are where we are.  Since this is so, it makes sense for him for him to take the lead in requiring efficiency savings.

He should be empowered to set targets, if he wishes, and timetables.  To do so, he would need the Prime Minister’s full-hearted support and backing, which would best be provided from the new Office of the Prime Minister.

From that vantage, Rees-Mogg would also be able to deliver some of the changes that Kemi Badenoch championed last week during the launch of Inclusive Britain – the Government’s response to Tony Sewell’s Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities.

I asked Badenoch during the event whether civil servants should sign e-mails or send tweets containing the Black Lives Matter hashtag, and she said that they shouldn’t.  A Minister is needed with the seniority to put that view into effect.

At heart, Rees-Mogg has a backbencher’s temperament: in other words, he likes thinking out loud and speaking his mind about politics.  This occasionally has its downside, for him and for others, as it did over Grenfell.

But public life is diminished when politicians cling timidly to lines to take – and it seems that voters agree, which is why Ann Widdecombe, John Prescott and Johnson himself flourished in different ways from offering authenticity.

Part of the interest for me in our regular Moggcast – here’s Mark Wallace conducting a special one last weekend – is that I’m never quite sure when our subject will stick to the line, push the boundaries or, very occasionally, be drawn into saying something he didn’t originally intend to.

It’s significant that the first Government post he held was the closest to remaining a backbencher – since the Leader of the House is required to represent views of the Commons within government, just as he represents the views of the Government in the Commons.

His present post is the first he’s held that requires delivery.  Being Minister for Government Efficiency matters less than being Chancellor of the Exchequer, even when it also comes with the brief of delivering Brexit opportunties.

But it still counts, today as the Spring Statement is delivered and up to Budget Day and beyond it.  Or rather, it should do, if the Prime Minister is determined to ensure that the appointments he makes mean delivery for the taxpayer.