Brexit transition period increasingly likely, Finance Minister Philip Hammond says

Cheryl Sanders
July 17, 2017

Asked directly whether he felt public sector workers were overpaid, Mr Hammond said: "This is a relative question; this is about the relationship between public and private sector pay".

The Sunday Times report came after it was reported 24 hours earlier by The Sun that the Chancellor also made sexist comments about women train drivers at the same Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

"If you want my opinion, some of the noise is generated by people who are not happy with the agenda which I, over the last few weeks, have 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 have continued rising living standards in the future".

It was later claimed that Mr Hammond had told his Cabinet colleagues pushing for public sector pay rises that workers in public services were "overpaid" in comparison to their private sector peers.

A Treasury source insists he did not use the word "overpaid".

"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% ahead".

Senior members of the British Government are becoming convinced of the need for a phased departure from the European Union to help protect the economy, Finance Minister Philip Hammond says.

Another minister, International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, attacked the "self-indulgence" of those doing the leaking.

Iain Duncan Smith, former Tory leader, said he was dismayed at the leadership speculation in the Sunday papers, telling some of his colleagues: "Just for once, shut up for God's sake".

He said there was "great divide" in the Conservative Party on whether there should be a leadership contest, with many backbenchers and new MPs "seethingly furious" about the antics of those in the Cabinet. I think the public expect us to be disciplined and effective and the only people smiling at this are in Brussels and Paris'. "The sooner we're rid of Theresa May and her shambolic Tories the better", added the shadow cabinet office minister.

"She'll be reminding them of their responsibilities and making the point that ministers across government need to be focused on getting on with delivering for the British public".

That caused some general astonishment.

"I believe the great majority of my colleagues now recognise that is the right and sensible way to go, both in the United Kingdom and the European Union", he said.

"Public and private sector pay are on average around about the same level", he said. "It's time to give all of our hard-working public servants the pay rise they've earned".

"I do know, I think my colleague David Lidington who appeared on your show last week was probably spot on the money when he said we're in the middle of the silly summer season with lots of warm prosecco. lots of parties going on, lots of tittle tattle, lots of gossip, we've got a summer recess coming up".

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