IT’S rich of Chancellor Philip Hammond to claim that public-sector workers are “overpaid” while he lives a cushy life on taxpayers’ money, John McDonnell said yesterday.
The shadow chancellor’s criticism comes after the Chancellor was widely condemned for his comments in Cabinet — leaked by colleagues — last week trying to justify the long-lasting Tory-imposed 1 per cent public-sector pay cap.
During a session of Treasury questions in the Commons, Mr McDonnell called on him to apologise — and lift the pay cap.
He said: “When it comes to commenting on wages, doesn’t the Chief Secretary [to the Treasury Liz Truss] agree that it ill becomes a multimillionaire earning £145,000 a year — admittedly a temporary job — and living in two grace-and-favour properties at taxpayers’ expense to attack our hospital cleaners, nurses, teachers and firefighters as being overpaid?
“Public-sector workers’ pay has fallen by an average of £4,000 in the first six years of this government.
“One in five NHS staff are forced to take a second job, teachers are facing a further cut of £3,000 from their salaries by 2020.
“Doesn’t she think that the Chancellor should do the right thing and apologise?”
Ms Truss claimed that Mr McDonnell was “not giving the House the full picture.”
She said: “The cleaner that [Mr McDonnell] is talking about is not employed by the public sector, they are employed by Serco.”
“That’s true. The government privatised the jobs,” Mr McDonnell volleyed back. “I note that the Chief Secretary did not refute the fact that the Chancellor said that the staff are ‘overpaid’.”