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Wednesday 10 April 2019

Penman slams Truss’s “dog-whistle” tactics to hide human impact of cap on public sector exit payments

Ian Davidson Photography/Shutterstock.com

FDA General Secretary Dave Penman has accused Liz Truss, the Chief Secretary of the Treasury, of being “completely disingenuous” when announcing a cap on public sector exit payments. 

Truss announced on 10 April that public sector redundancy payments would be capped at £95,000 to “stop unacceptably large pay-outs for senior managers”, with a consultation on the proposals running until 3 July 2019. 

Responding to Truss, Penman said: "As she knows all too well, when the Conservatives first mooted this arbitrary cap in 2015, it included protection for those earning less than £27,000 a year. Not only has this protection been abandoned, but it demonstrates that their blunt approach to capping redundancy payments will hurt teachers, police officers, fire fighters, doctors, paramedics and other individuals serving the public. 

"It is disappointing that a Government Minister - who day in, day out witnesses the incredible job that public servants do for her Government - would use the dog-whistle tactics of demonising senior managers to hide the true impact of her policy." 

In a live interview with LBC’s Nick Ferrari, the FDA General Secretary also criticised Truss’s attempt to paint the cap as “some kind of attack on golden goodbyes for senior managers” - a phrase she used in a Telegraph column announcing the cap. 

Penman explained: “Public sector workers, like any group of workers, deserve decent terms and conditions. The Government is making people redundant, this isn’t some kind of voluntary process for public sector workers looking for big cash pay outs. The Government are making these people redundant and at times, when people get those redundancies or get early payments of pension, it can reach these sorts of figures.” 

The FDA previously agreed changes to civil service redundancy terms in 2010 that didn’t include this cap, which then Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude agreed were fair to civil servants and fair to taxpayers. 

Referencing this agreement, Penman went on to tell Ferrari: “If Francis Maude thought that was fair in 2010, I don’t think, actually, we can accept what Liz Truss is saying - that this is all just about golden goodbyes. And we go back to this point, this is going to affect teachers, paramedics and nurses, so although she wants to have this kind of dog-whistle type approach about attacking senior managers, this is about ordinary public sector workers who are going to be damaged by these proposals.” 

Penman’s response was also reported by Politics Home, Public Sector Executive and Civil Service World.

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