Liz Truss’s campaign to become the next Tory leader has suffered a setback following a U-turn on a £8.8bn policy pledge.
His campaign team blamed the “deliberate misrepresentation” of plans to replace national wage deals for public sector workers with regional ones, something that would eventually lead to nurses, teachers and civil servants from outside the Southeast being compared to their counterparts. will be paid less.
Allies insisted that the “current wage level” would be maintained and that the policy would only apply to new contracts, but their own campaign press release set out in black and white the promised £8.8 billion annual savings of the regional scheme. depended on what was being adopted. public sector in the long term.
So what was the plan and why was it abandoned?
How was the plan announced?
A press release sent to reporters on Monday outlined Ms Truss’s plan to save £11 billion a year through the “war on Whitehall waste”.
The initial release said: “The government of the truss will save up to £8.8 billion annually by replacing the national wage boards with regional wage boards.
“This will make it easier to adjust the salaries of executives, ensuring that where they work and prevent crowding from local businesses that cannot compete with public sector salaries.”
An updated version of the press release further details, it would be “applicable only to new contracts”, a “phased approach” that will be extended only if “it can be shown to be delivered through a roll out to the civil service”. is “through the creation of new contracts and boards”.
But ultimately “this could result in savings of up to £8.8 billion per year”, the release said: “This is a potential savings if the system is adopted for all public sector workers over the long term.”
– What did Liz Truss say about the plan?
Liz Truss did a U-turn on a plan for regional salary deals (Finbar Webster/PA)
She promised a “leaner, more efficient” Whitehall, saying: “I have shown in my time in government that I am willing to take on Whitehall conservatism and work.”
– What was the reaction?
Unions, Tory opponents and Labor are all set to condemn the proposals.
Alex Thomas of the Institute for Government said the scale of savings promised by Ms Truss meant “it’s not mandarins leaving London, it’s nurses, teacher salaries are being adjusted”.
“Less war on Whitehall, more war on Workington,” he said.
Ben Houchen, the Sage Sunak-supporting Tory mayor for Tees Valley, said he was “absolutely speechless” and “there’s no way to do this without massive pay cuts for 5.5 million people, including nurses, police officers and our armed forces.” is outside London”.
So what happened to the plan?
A spokesman for the Truss Campaign announced that the plan had been canceled on Tuesday, 13 hours after it was published.
“Our campaign has been deliberately misinterpreted over the past few hours,” the spokesperson complained.
“The current level of public sector pay will be maintained at all.
“There is nothing wrong with suggesting otherwise.
“Our hardworking frontline workers are the cornerstone of the society and no proposal will be forwarded on regional wage boards for civil servants or public sector workers.”
– so what next?
There is now an £8.8bn hole in Ms Truss’s financial plans and a U-turn could hurt her campaign.
Ms Truss and her colleagues had captured Mr Sunak’s change of course on taxation, accusing him of “flip-flopping” and performing a “shouting U-turn” on his pledge to ax VAT on fuel bills. done – it would be hard to sustain such attacks given the events of Tuesday.
It is also a problem for supporters who compared Truss to Margaret Thatcher, including Treasury Chief Secretary Simon Clarke, who responded to Mr Sunak’s policy change, saying: “A U-turn If you want. The woman is not one to turn.”
A source in the Sunak camp said “it was not a mistake” as Ms Truss argued for regional pay in 2018: “Women are in for the turn.”