Liz Truss backtracks on public sector pay cut plans after outcry

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LIZ Truss has backtracked on her plans to cut public sector wages after learning her plans were ‘ridiculous’ and unworkable.

The government’s ‘race to the top’ program has been declared ‘dead’ after Tory leadership favorite Liz Truss announced plans to cut public sector wages outside the wealthy south-east of England.

His team has revealed its ‘war on Whitehall waste’ which experts say will not just cut pay and tear up conditions for civil servants but also for teachers, doctors and nurses.

Labor said it spelled the end of Boris Johnson’s ‘leveling up’ agenda, which he said was his government’s guiding principle.

And Truss’s team (above) have been accused of overstating the savings that would have been generated by their now-suppressed spending proposals.

After Rishi Sunak, her rival for the top job, jumped on the outrage generated by the plans, a spokesperson for Truss’s campaign said the plans had been dropped.

Tees Valley Conservative Mayor Ben Houchen said he was “speechless” over the proposals.

She had planned to cut the pay of newly recruited civil servants outside London to reflect the cost of living in English regions and other nations of the UK and to scrap holiday pay.

Regional pay commissions have reportedly been set up as part of Truss’s proposals to ensure wages outside London reflect the local cost of living, which she says would save £8.8 billion pounds.

READ MORE: Desperate Scottish Tories try to spin Liz Truss’ ‘attention seeker’ slur against FM

But that figure was called “ridiculous” by Alex Thomas, program director at the Institute for Government think tank.

He said, “If you only talk about officials, it’s ridiculous; it doesn’t stick at all. The totality [annual] the civil service bill is around £9billion.

Regional compensation commissions could produce efficiencies, he added, but would only generate savings on the scale envisioned by Truss if compensation was reviewed across the public sector – including that of school workers, NHS staff and other public sector employees.

He added: “It is not a bad thing for the public sector to tailor its pay scales to the part of the country in which it operates.

“But you only get those kinds of numbers if you’re talking about a doctor, a nurse or a school administrator, who is already working outside London, receiving a lower salary.”

Reducing the size of the civil service is an ongoing mission within the Conservative Party, with Johnson previously pledging to cut the number of bureaucrats by a fifth.

Other parts of her plans included cutting public servants’ vacation pay by two days – which she said would save £2billion, while also pledging to limit “work time”. ‘setup’ for public service unions to plan strike action.

The National: Angela Rayner called the plans the upgrade's death Angela Rayner called the plans the upgrade’s death

His team were forced to revise their sums after finding they had overestimated the savings that relocating civil servants from outside London would generate by £557-153m.

READ MORE: Desperate Scottish Tories try to spin Liz Truss’ ‘attention seeker’ slur against FM

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said Truss was “declaring war on herself with her fanciful recipe for leveling off”.

She added: “His ‘tailor-made’ compensation plans would level out northerners’ wages, deepening the divide that already exists. This disconnected government’s commitment to leveling up is dead.

“Now Liz Truss is promising even more cuts that will only add to the backlogs we already have at courts, airports and GPs, leaving people waiting for passports, driving licenses and vital appointments .”

It comes after Truss sparked ire across the political spectrum last night for comments made during the Tory leaders’ election campaign in Exeter, in which she said Nicola Sturgeon was an ‘attention seeker’ who should be ignored.

The Deputy Prime Minister told the BBC on Tuesday morning that the comments would be “insulting” to Scots and were “deeply disturbing and concerning”.

A spokesperson for Truss said: “Over the past few hours there has been a deliberate misrepresentation of our campaign.

“Current levels of public sector compensation will absolutely be maintained.

“Anything that suggests otherwise is simply not true.

“Our hard-working frontline staff are the foundation of the company and no proposals will be presented on regional compensation commissions for civil servants or public sector workers.”

Sunak ally Mark Harper, the former Tory chief whip, said Truss was wrongly accusing reporters of misrepresenting his remarks, adding: ‘Reporting what a press release says is not a’ willful misrepresentation “”.

He added that the U-turn meant Truss’ economic program needed to find an additional £8.8billion in savings.

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