Tory management contender Liz Truss is dealing with a barrage of criticism over plans to chop the wages of public sector staff outdoors London, with a Conservative mayor describing it as a “ticking time bomb”.
It comes after the international secretary — the frontrunner within the race to succeed Boris Johnson in No 10 — revealed proposals for a “war on Whitehall waste” with financial savings value £11 billion.
But Ms Truss’s group was pressured to confess that she must exchange nationwide pay settlements with regional awards for all public sector staff for the majority of financial savings over a interval of a few years.
In a scathing evaluation, Ben Houchen, the Conservative mayor for Tees Valley and supporter of her rival, Rishi Sunak, mentioned he was “actually speechless” a the plans.
“There is simply no way you can do this without a massive pay cut for 5.5m people including nurses, police officers and armed forces outside London,” he claimed.
“Liz Truss’s marketing campaign is express that their financial savings goal is simply potential ‘if the system were to be adopted by all public sector workers. This is a ticking time bomb set by team Truss that will explode ahead of the next general election.”
Richard Holden, a member of the 2019 intake of Tory MPs and another Sunak backer, said Ms Truss must immediately scrap the plans that he claimed would “kill” the government’s levelling up agenda.
Steve Double – a Tory MP and Sunak supporter – added: “This is a terrible idea and would be hugely damaging to public services in Cornwall. This is levelling down not up.”
Ms Truss initially promised to avoid wasting as much as £8.8bn yearly by “adjusting” civil servants’ salaries to match dwelling prices within the areas the place they work.
But aides have been pressured to amend the declare after consultants on the Institute for Government identified that the international secretary’s goal was virtually as a lot as the overall annual civil service pay invoice of round £9bn.
They clarified that regional pay would initially be launched just for new starters within the civil service, delivering a tiny fraction of the claimed sums. If profitable, it could be rolled out over numerous years to cowl all public sector staff, with the £8.8bn goal reached solely in the long run.
Mr Sunak’s group warned on Tuesday the proposals might lead to hundreds of thousands of public sector staff seeing their pay minimize by a mean of £1,500 a 12 months if the proposed £8.8 billion of financial savings is made.
The transfer provoked additionally fury amongst unions, with the overall secretary of Prospect, Mike Clancy, saying the potential prime minister “plans more of the same economically illiterate and insulting ideological nonsense this government has been churning out in recent years”.
Dave Penman, normal secretary of the FDA union, which represents senior civil servants, mentioned: “As the government faces the huge challenges posed by a new war on mainland Europe and recovering from Covid backlogs, what we need from a prime minister is solutions for the 21st century, not recycled failed policies and tired rhetoric from the 1980s.”
Labour additionally mentioned the thought would sound the death-knell for the federal government’s levelling-up agenda by widening the regional revenue hole and create a “race to the bottom on public sector workers’ pay”.
Andy Burnham, the Labour mayor of Greater Manchester, added: “Pay cuts for nurses and public sector workers in the North? I don’t think. If this is a serious policy, we will fight it tooth and nail”.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, a assist of Ms Truss, insisted on Sky News the dialogue “at the moment” is centred on civil servants and it’s “not the plan at the moment” to chop pay for the remainder of the general public sector.
But peaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Alex Thomas, the programme director on the Institute for Government, pressured the entire of the civil service pay invoice “is only about £9 billion”.
“You’re not going to reduce the civil service pay bill to £200 million unless you pretty radically reshape the state.
“I know she wants to be radical but possibly not quite that much, so it’s going to come from the wider public sector, it’s going to come from nurses and teachers and local authorities.”
He argued the “complicated and controversial” transfer would imply nurses and academics being paid much less or receiving slower pay rises than others, including: “This is not war on Whitehall, it’s more like war on Workington.”