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Sunday, 16 July 2017

Politics: Philip Hammond keeps getting in trouble for gaffes — this time he reportedly said public sector employees are 'overpaid'

Philip Hammond

This is the second gaffe leaked from Tuesday's Cabinet meeting.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has made his second reported gaffe after claiming that public sector workers were "overpaid".

According to the Sunday Times, citing multiple sources, Hammond made the comment during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Ministers had been discussing the cap on public sector pay increases. Under the current structure, wages effectively only go up by a maximum of 1% each year.

Hammond reportedly argued there was no need to raise that cap.

"Public-sector workers are overpaid when you take into account pensions," he said, according to the Sunday Times. He described train drivers as "ludicrously overpaid".

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

He reportedly said driving a train was so easy that "even a woman" could do it.

Prime minister Theresa May responded with: "Chancellor, I am going to take your shovel away from you."

The Treasury confirmed that Hammond said public sector workers receive a "10% premium" in income over private sector workers, but denied his use of the word "overpaid". It hasn't commented on his remark about train drivers.

The government has flip-flopped on raising the 1% cap on public sector pay. Senior Tories have publicly come out in favour of a raise in the last few weeks, with former cabinet minister Robert Halfon telling Radio 4's Today programme on Friday: "I think we need to remove the public sector cap."

Halfon suggested the UK could cut its foreign aid budget to fund pay rises.

The 1% pay rise cap for public sector workers has been in place since 2012 and is expected to remain until at least 2018/19.



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