Theresa May to warn Cabinet to put an end to leaks

Frederick Owens
July 17, 2017

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show that businesses are holding off from investing in the United Kingdom because of uncertainty about Brexit.

"Public sector workers are overpaid when you take into account pensions", he is reported to have said, before saying train drivers were "ludicrously overpaid".

"He is too removed from the reality of daily life to see the impact of seven years of pay pinching on ambulance workers, nurses and teaching assistants", said GMB national secretary Rehana Azam.

Mr Hammond refused to deny he made the comments and said that public-sector workers were 10 per cent better off than private-sector workers as they enjoy "very generous contributions" that their employers pay in for their "very generous" pensions.

The chancellor denied making the latter comment - he said he was making the point it was outrageous there were not more female train drivers - but did not deny making the comments about pay.

Appearing on the BBC's The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday (16 July), Hammond said it was inappropriate to discuss "out of context" quotes, but said he was happy to discuss the substantive issue.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is one of those pushing for such a period to last months rather than years, but today he claimed he did not know who was behind the "deplorable" leaks.

Endorsing a report by the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR), released on Friday, which warned of the economic shock of increasing public spending, Hammond said: "This is a sober analysis of the challenge we continue to face, and a stark reminder of why we must deliver on our commitment to deal with our country's debts".

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Mr Hammond blamed colleagues opposed to the agenda he had been setting out for extended transitional arrangements when Britain leaves the European Union in 2019 so business was not faced with a "cliff edge" break.

"I think most people are willing to accept a transition so long as it's of a limited duration in order to avoid a hard landing".

Chancellor Philip Hammond has defended himself amid claims that he labelled public-sector workers as "overpaid".

Mr Duncan Smith said he would "lay money" that there would not be a leadership election, and he urged other Conservatives to stop speculating. My colleagues should be very quiet, stick to their own departmental duties; the public expects us to be disciplined and effective.

The comments are likely to spark a backlash with public sector workers, who have been campaigning for the current 1% pay cap to be lifted.

DG: "The Chancellor doesn't believe that, I'm not going to report from inside Cabinet because Cabinet ministers should not do that".

The minister claimed Mr Hammond views Brexiteers as "a bunch of smarmy pirates" who have "taken the Establishment prisoner".

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