SACKED civil servants will be able to find work in farming and fishing, a Scotland Office minister has claimed. 

Speaking to the BBC, the Tory peer, Lord Malcolm Offord defended the Prime Minister’s plans to cut 91,000 jobs, saying it would allow the UK government to pass savings on to taxpayers. 

He told the programme: "Those people who have got good skills will find work."

Trade unions have warned of strike action if Boris Johnson pushes ahead with the proposal to axe one in five civil service jobs. 

Lord Offord, an Edinburgh-based financier, who was made a peer and then appointed as a junior minister in the Scotland Office last year, told BBC Scotland’s Sunday Show that there were other sectors in Scotland in desperate need of staff.

He said: “Well, this is the proposal that's gone through and it is based on the fact that the civil service expanded considerably in the region of 25 per cent in the last five, six years, principally to deal with Brexit and to deal with a pandemic. 

“And we're now coming through the other side of both of those, and I think it's only fair that when the government is saying to people, we're going through tough times and we all have to cut our cloth a bit, tighten our belts a bit to get through this, perhaps the government should also look to be more efficient, and should look to find savings. 

“And if those savings can be passed on to alleviate some of the concerns you've talked about in your programme that might be a fair balance.”

The Tory peer was asked if it would “alleviate the concerns of the thousands of civil servants who are going to be put on the dole”. 

“No,” he replied. “But one of the things that’s interesting to me is that when I go around the country and talk to all employers, whether it's talking to the farming community, the fishing community, the technical science community, the grocers' community, there are jobs available.

“I'm not belittling in any way the concept of losing a job, no one wants to be put out of work at all, but we are building a high skilled, high wage economy. And those people who have got good skills will find work.”

He added: “On Friday, I was at I was at Rosyth, where Edinburgh University just unveiled the new testing concept of the of the tidal wave technology. And we were talking about the fact that we are now in Scotland, through our excellent universities, and the whole renewable and net zero agenda, in the process of requiring high tech, highly skilled jobs. 

“That is what the future looks like for us. And therefore our economy we grab it can be consisting of high tech, highly qualified, highly paid jobs, and that is what I think is exciting part of the future that's not often talked about.” 

Meanwhile, the Scottish Tories have called on the Scottish Government to follow suit, and look at axing civil service jobs in Scotland. 

Currently, the devolved administration employs 22,200 civil servants, up by 1,100 on the previous year, and up by 5,070 from 2011. 

Tory finance spokeswoman Liz Smith said: “As we look to rebuild the economy and reduce the burden on the public purse, the Scottish Government should be looking seriously at what savings can be made without impacting on services. 

“This would be entirely possible through the natural process of retirements and staff turnover.”

Prospect's general secretary for Scotland, Richard Hardy compared the plans to P&Os decision to lay off 800 staff. 

He said: “It seems Scotland’s Conservatives are equally keen to put the dagger P&O style into thousands of Scottish public servants who have ensured the country has come through two crisis, only one of which could have easily brought Scotland to its knees.

"From keeping our farm payment system running, through delivering Scotland’s new benefits to ensuring our tourism sector can rely on Scotland’s amazing built and natural heritage Prospect members have played an amazing role in keeping the economy going.

"We will engage with the government on this matter and hopefully, we can all tune out the opportunistic noises of those who would leave our country unprepared for future issues”

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Cuts have consequences. There is no way to make cuts without impacting on already-stretched services. Making cuts will only make things worse, make waiting lists longer for those seeking passports and driving licences, make telephone queues longer for those with tax enquiries.

“We shall fight for every job in the civil service. Not just on behalf of our members, but on behalf of every member of the public who relies on the services they provide.”

The Scottish Government has been asked for comment.