Philip Hammond under pressure after claiming ‘public sector workers are overpaid’

Topics No Comment

Philip Hammond has refused to deny that he said public sector workers are “overpaid”.

The Chancellor said he would not comment on what was said at a meeting of the Cabinet last week after it was reported that he suggested those in the public sector were paid too much.

However, he did categorically reject claims that he made a sexist remark about women being able to drive trains.

Mr Hammond was repeatedly asked on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show whether he had said that public sector workers were “overpaid” at a meeting of the Cabinet on Tuesday.

But he refused to directly deny that he had made the comment.

Profile | Philip Hammond

Mr Hammond said: “This is a relative question. This is about the relationship between public and private sector pay and it is a simple fact, independent figures show this, that public sector workers on average are paid about 10% more than private sector workers. We have to bear that in mind.

“Relative to private sector workers they are paid about a 10% premium.”

Pushed again on whether he had used the word “overpaid”, he said: “I have told you, I am not going to talk about what comes out of a private Cabinet meeting.”

He also rebuked his colleagues for apparently leaking details of Cabinet meetings.

He said that such meetings “are supposed to be a private space in which we have a serious discussion” and that ministers should not divulge what is discussed.

The allegations come at a sensitive moment for the Government with ministers under increasing pressure to lift the 1% public sector pay cap.

Philip Hammond, the Chancellor 

Credit:
Matt Dunham /AP

But despite saying that he would not comment on what was said at Cabinet, he did move to dismiss reports that he told the same meeting that driving a train was now so easy "even" a woman could do it.

Asked if he made the remark, he said: “No, I didn’t and I wouldn’t say anything like that.”

He continued: “Again, I’m not going to get into what was or wasn’t said in a Cabinet meeting but I have got two daughters in their early twenties, both high achievers, I don’t think like that, I wouldn’t make a remark like that.”

Leaks from the Cabinet have prompted speculation that Mr Hammond is the victim of a briefing war as ministers jockey for position to succeed Theresa May.

Mr Hammond suggested he was being briefed against by Conservative colleagues because they object to his stance on Brexit.

He said: “If you want my opinion, some of the noise is generated by people who are not happy with the agenda that I have, over the last few weeks, tried to advance of ensuring that we achieve a Brexit which is focused on protecting our economy, protecting our jobs and making sure that we can have continued rising living standards in the future.”

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Categories

Popular News