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New UK finance minister ousts Treasury's top civil servant

By William Schomberg

LONDON (Reuters) -The top civil servant at Britain's finance ministry said he was leaving his job with immediate effect because new finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng, who has been critical of the Treasury's work, wanted a change.

"The Chancellor decided it was time for new leadership at the Treasury, and so I will be leaving with immediate effect," Scholar said in a statement issued by the Treasury on Thursday.

Kwarteng and new Prime Minister Liz Truss lambasted the Treasury during the Conservative Party's leadership race.

Truss has vowed to shake up what she calls the economic orthodoxy of the ministry, blaming it for Britain's slow economic growth.

She plans to cut taxes, which will add tens of billions of pounds to the estimated 100-billion-pound ($115 billion) cost of a two-year power tariff freeze that she announced on Thursday.

British civil servants are required to be non-partisan, and typically remain in post when there is a change of political leadership.

Scholar became permanent secretary at the Treasury six years ago and helped shape Britain's economic policy response to the coronavirus crisis.

"Tom has been a dedicated and exceptional civil servant and I thank him for his exemplary service to the government and the country for the past 30 years," Kwarteng said.

Scholar's predecessor in the job was critical of the change.

"Tom Scholar is the best civil servant of his generation. Sacking him makes no sense," Nick Macpherson said on Twitter.

"His experience would have been invaluable in the coming months as government policy places massive upward pressure on the cost of funding," Macpherson added.

($1 = 0.8722 pounds)

(Writing by William Schomberg; editing by David Milliken)