Chancellor Philip Hammond all but admits saying public sector workers are 'overpaid'

Patrice Gainsbourg
Julho 17, 2017

On Sunday Chancellor Philip Hammond suggested colleagues opposed to his approach to Brexit had been briefing against him.

Asked about the leak on BBC's The Andrew Marr Show yesterday, Hammond defended his comments by saying that public sector employees got a "10% premium" over the private sector, and that pay had "raced ahead" since the 2008 economic crash. He said they were "overpaid".

The PM's spokesman said he was not aware of any inquiry into the source of the leaks from last week's Cabinet.

One leak claimed, amid cabinet divisions over lifting the one per cent public pay cap, that Mr Hammond had told colleagues he thought public sector workers were "overpaid"; a claim he denied.

According to reports, Mrs May was forced to intervene over comments made by the Chancellor when he said new trains were so simple to operate that "even" women could become drivers.

Mr Hammond told presenter Mr Marr: "Andrew, I'm not going to talk about what was or wasn't said in a cabinet meeting, and it's easy to quote a phrase out of context, but I'm very happy to talk about the substantive issue".

DG: "Every July Westminster gets feverish and every July people say it's different this year and you know what it's the same every year".

Finance minister Philip Hammond, who has championed a softer form of Brexit, bore the brunt of a series of critical newspaper stories over the weekend about what was said at private government meetings.

He added there was now an acceptance among senior ministers there would have to be a transition period of about two years after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in 2019 to avoid a "hard landing" for business.

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As tensions at the top of the Government spilled out into the open, Mr Hammond warned fellow ministers to focus on "the job in hand" rather than leak details of confidential discussions.

Speaking on the BBC's Sunday Politics show, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said any transitional period should be "very time-limited", and should allow the United Kingdom to strike new trade deals - something it is unable to do as part of the EU's customs union.

"It's been seven long years of pay cuts for our public servants".

The 1% pay rise cap for public sector workers has been in place since 2012 and is expected to remain until at least 2018/19. Not just Brexit, but acid attacks we need to take action on this, terrorism....

Mr Duncan Smith said he would "lay money" that there would not be a leadership election, and he urged other Conservatives to stop speculating.

Unison's Christina McAnea called the chancellor's remarks on public pay "nothing short of offensive".

The minister claimed Mr Hammond views Brexiteers as "a bunch of smarmy pirates" who have "taken the Establishment prisoner".

"I believe the great majority of my colleagues now recognise that is the right and sensible way to go, both in the United Kingdom and the European Union", he said.

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