Philip Hammond told Cabinet colleagues that public sector workers are ‘overpaid’

Posted On: 
16th July 2017

Philip Hammond told a Cabinet meeting that public sector workers are "overpaid", it has been revealed.

Philip Hammond is under growing pressure over the public sector pay cap
Credit: 
PA Images

The Chancellor made the controversial remarks on Tuesday as he defended the 1% cap on public sector pay rises.

It has already emerged that in the same meeting, Mr Hammond said that driving a train is so easy that even a woman can do it.

According to the Sunday Times, Mr Hammond said: “Public-sector workers are overpaid when you take into account pensions." He also said that train drivers were "ludicrously overpaid".

PoliticsHome has learned that two Cabinet members told Mr Hammond that he could not say that in public.

A Treasury spokesman said: “We have chosen to restrain pay to keep more public-sector jobs. The Chancellor was describing to cabinet the 10% public-sector pay premium. He didn’t say public sector workers were overpaid.”

The comment looks set to deepen the row on the pay cap which has been rumbling on for weeks and has seen numerous Cabinet ministers speak out in favour of the limit being ditched.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, Environment Secretary Michael Gove, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt have all said they are keen to see the cap relaxed, with Mr Hunt specifically calling for nurses to get a pay rise.

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The Sun reported yesterday that Mr Hammond made the comment about female train drivers while discussing union staff.

Mr Hammond asked why it was so rare to see female train drivers, adding that driving modern trains was so simple that “even they can do it”.

The Prime Minister then apparently interrupted him as he tried to explain the comment, saying “Chancellor, I am going to take your shovel away from you.”