Published: Mon, July 17, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Chancellor Philip Hammond 'claims public sector workers are overpaid'

Chancellor Philip Hammond 'claims public sector workers are overpaid'

The bid to instil discipline comes after alleged comments by Chancellor Philip Hammond at a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday appeared on the front pages of two different newspapers.

According to The Sunday Times, Mr Hammond said public sector workers were "overpaid" when their pensions were taken into account and that train drivers were "ludicrously overpaid".

"But what I would say is this and I've been saying this since I was transport secretary, it is a disgrace that 95 per cent of train drivers are men".

"I don't have a problem with the transition period as long as is time-limited", Fox, who supported leaving the European Union at last year's referendum, told BBC TV.

The extraordinary disclosures have exposed the deep divisions at the heart of Government as Britain attempts to negotiate Brexit and Mrs May battles to keep her job in the wake of her miscalculated General Election gamble.

The National says Scotland's Brexit secretary has warned that Theresa May's government is set to use "Tudor-era measures" to decide which responsibilities Holyrood can and cannot be trusted with.

Piling on the pressure, a report by the TUC published on Monday suggests that public sector workers are now thousands of pounds worse off since the Conservatives came to power in 2010, with paramedics and prison officers out of pocket by up to £3,800 (US$4,960) annually.

Dr Fox told the BBC's Daily Politics: 'I absolutely deplore leaks from the Cabinet, I think my colleagues should be very quiet and stick to their own departmental duties.

"Our backbenchers are furious and the only people smiling at this will be in Berlin and Paris".

As Mr Hammond continued speaking, Ms May reportedly said: "Chancellor I am going to take your shovel away from you" - a reference to the adage: "When you're in a hole, stop digging".

"Cabinet must be able to hold discussions on Government policy in private, and the Prime Minister will remind her colleagues of that in tomorrow's meeting", Downing Street's official spokesman said.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith told Cabinet members engaged in such behavior to "just for once shut up for God's sake" as there is "no mood" among backbench Tories for a leadership contest. "I'm very clear that the Cabinet and the party are united behind Theresa May, united in determination to get the right deal for the country in Brexit negotiations and to continue the economic progress we have made".

He told the Today programme: "What I was reading over the weekend was about rows in the Cabinet which simply didn't happen".

But The Sunday Times quotes a Cabinet source saying: Philip used a fairly inflammatory phrase.

A post-election poll by the TUC showed that 76 per cent of voters - including 68 per cent of Conservative voters - want to give public-sector workers a pay rise.

'Later in the meeting both Boris Johnson and the PM said we should not say public sector workers are overpaid'.

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