Comedian Matilda Thorpe parodies Liz Truss as prime minister
Indy

A Conservative mayor has said he is "speechless" about Tory leadership contender Liz Truss' now-binned plan to shake up civil servants' pay.

The frontrunner in the leadership contest had said she wanted to link civil servants' salaries to living standards where they work, meaning similar jobs could have different salaries depending on their location.

She claimed the scheme could be rolled out to other public sector areas, saving £8.8bn a year and said it would help the private sector compete with the public sector in various areas in England, before her campaign this afternoon announced that "there will be no proposal taken forward on regional pay boards for civil servants or public sector workers.”

Perhaps Truss changed her mind because of the backlash she received, including from her own party. Ben Houchen, Conservative Mayor of the Tees Valley in North East England has slammed the proposal, saying it will undo work done in places outside London.

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"Actually speechless," he said, writing on Twitter. "There is simply no way you can do this without a massive pay cut for 5.5m people including nurses, police officers and our armed forces outside London. So much that we’ve worked for in places like Teesside, would be undone."

It is not the only criticism Truss received from Conservatives. Tory MP Steve Double, a Rishi Sunak ally said it would be "hugely damaging to public services in Cornwall".

And she was slammed by unions, think tanks and the opposition too, for good measure. Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said it would reduce "the pay of Northerners, worsening the divide which already exists".

The FDA - the union for senior civil servants - said it was "astounding" Truss was planning to move jobs out of London while at the same time cutting regional pay.

And Alex Thomas of the Institute for Government think tank said the idea of regional pay "comes around every few years".

"The reason why chancellors and prime ministers have previously tended to abandon it is the benefits are pretty marginal - both in terms of the cost you can save and the benefits to the local economy."

So, Truss rolled-back on the proposal less than 24 hours after announcing it, the Telegraph reported.

And if you think that is the only reason Truss is having a difficult morning, think again. She has been slammed for calling Scottish leader Nicola Sturgeon an "attention-seeker" and she's claimed being a train driver is less stressful and better paid than being a politician.

For anyone fearing that the potential next prime minister might not be as big a PR disaster as Boris Johnson, think again.

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