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

Lawrence Kim
July 17, 2017

"Five weeks ago the idea of a transition period was quite a new concept, I think now you would find that pretty much everybody around the cabinet table accepts that there will be some kind of transition", he told the BBC.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said on the BBC that "there is no mood in the Conservative Party in Parliament for a leadership election".

"There is an unusual thing happening at the moment; it's called Brexit".

"We will need a long transition phase and the time needed does not diminish by pretending that this phase is just about "implementing" agreed policies as they will not all be agreed", he said.

Mr Hammond was grilled by the BBC's Andrew Marr over comments he reportedly made during a Cabinet meeting this week.

As he then tried to explain himself, he was said to have been cut off by Mrs May who told him "Chancellor, I'm going to take your shovel away from you".

Earlier this week, the Sun reported that Philip Hammond had made sexist comments during the same meeting.

"I think on many fronts it would be helpful if my colleagues - all of us - focused on the job in hand".

Brexit Minister David Davis will head to Brussels on Monday for a first full round of Brexit talks, with European Union officials hoping the Government, yet to set out detailed proposals on several major issues, begins to show more urgency about doing a deal before Britain leaves the bloc in 2019.

Pressed on why people were leaking details, Mr Fox said: "I think there's too much self-indulgence and I think people need to have less prosecco and have a longer summer holiday". "If there is I am no part of it".

The Chancellor's comments in the Sunday Times follow a string of press reports about him indicating Cabinet colleagues are briefing against Mr Hammond.

"But when you take into account the very generous contributions public-sector employers have to pay in for their workers' pensions - their very generous pensions - they are still about 10 per cent ahead".

But he added: "Public sector pay raced ahead of private sector pay after the crash in 2008-09".

A Treasury source said: "The Chancellor was describing the public sector pension premium".

But he hammered home his point by insisting public sector staff earned on average 10 per cent more than private counterparts.

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

The Chancellor, who is widely thought to have led the opposition in Government to any relaxation of the cap, hinted it was an issue they were prepared to look at.

Clear divisions have emerged in the Cabinet over whether to ease the 1 per cent cap on public sector pay rises, and Brexit.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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