News

Chancellor branded 'out of touch' by Unison over pay comments

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has been branded ‘out of touch’ and ‘insulting’ by nursing unions amid claims he said public-sector workers are overpaid during a cabinet meeting.
hammond

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has been branded out of touch and insulting by nursing unions amid claims he said public-sector workers are overpaid during a cabinet meeting.

According to the Sunday Times, cabinet colleagues claim Mr Hammond said: Public-sector workers are overpaid when you take into account pensions.

Mr Hammond refused to deny the comment on BBC televisions Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, but said the government had closed the gap between public and private sector pay through the 1% pay cap, after the former had raced ahead following the financial crisis.

But when you take into account the very generous contributions that public-sector employers have to pay in to their workers pensions, their very generous pensions, they are still about 10% ahead, he said.

No shortcut

Mr Hammond

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond has been branded ‘out of touch’ and ‘insulting’ by nursing unions amid claims he said public-sector workers are overpaid during a cabinet meeting.

hammond
Chancellor Philip Hammond speaking on television on Sunday. Picture: BBC

According to the Sunday Times, cabinet colleagues claim Mr Hammond said: ‘Public-sector workers are overpaid when you take into account pensions.’

Mr Hammond refused to deny the comment on BBC television’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, but said the government had closed the gap between public and private sector pay through the 1% pay cap, after the former had ‘raced ahead’ following the financial crisis.

‘But when you take into account the very generous contributions that public-sector employers have to pay in to their workers’ pensions, their very generous pensions, they are still about 10% ahead,’ he said.

No shortcut

Mr Hammond acknowledged recruitment and retention problems in the public sector, admitting: ‘You can’t eat your pension, you can’t feed your kids with your pension contributions.’

But said he said public finances had to be put into good order before wages rose, adding: ‘There isn’t a shortcut, there isn’t a free lunch.’

Unison assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said: ‘The chancellor’s remarks show he is completely out of touch. After seven years of a punishing pay cap, all public-sector employees need a pay rise.

Insulting

‘They are all low paid, all vital, and all in need of a pay rise now. The chancellor’s remarks are nothing short of offensive.’

An RCN spokesperson said: ‘Nurses across the UK are being forced to take second jobs, rely on family handouts or even turn to food banks. It would be insulting of the government to claim these people earn too much.’

The college vowed to continue protesting the pay cap.

poll by BMG Research for the Independent newspaper published on Sunday showed 56% of people would be willing to pay higher taxes to fund a pay rise for ‘blue light’ workers such as nurses, paramedics and firefighters.


In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursingolderpeople.com
  • Bi-monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs