‘If government wants to save money on redundancies it should stop making people redundant’ – unions slam payoff cap plan

Written by Richard Johnstone on 8 March 2019 in News

Liz Truss' proposal to implement £95,000 cap comes three years after plan was first legislated for

Prospect deputy general secretary Garry Graham Credit: Prospect

Civil service unions have hit out at Treasury minister Liz Truss after it was revealed she is reviving plans to cap public sector redundancy payoffs at £95,000.

It was reported yesterday that the chief secretary to the Treasury has written to other cabinet ministers to propose formally imposing the cash limit on payoffs. Although legislation to impose the limit was included in the 2016 Enterprise Act, the secondary legislation required to enforce the limits across local councils, NHS trusts, schools and police forces, as well as on civil servants, has not yet been passed.

Cabinet backing for the plans is expected to lead to a consultation on the changes before regulations are laid before parliament. Further details could be revealed in next week’s Spring Statement.


Union chiefs reacted angrily to the plans. Garry Graham, deputy general secretary of the Prospect union – which represents specialist civil servants across government, said the cap would affect “relatively low paid long-serving loyal junior members of staff such as nurses, police officers, teachers and civil servants”.

He added: “If the government wants to save money on redundancy it should stop making people redundant – there is more than enough work for them to do".

Graham said many Prospect members would “take exception” to Truss being “pleased the government was able to announce the biggest public sector pay rise in 10 years this summer, with most going to the lowest-paid nurses, teachers and police officers”.

Graham highlighted such sentiment “ignores the fact that civil service pay in the last year has been capped at 1-1.5% when MPs are to receive 2.7% from 1 April”.

Lucille Thirlby, the assistant general secretary of the FDA union – which represents senior civil servants, added that the decision to move ahead with the cap was “a regressive step, made at a time when the Treasury should be focussing on the pressing issues facing the civil service”.

She added: “Civil servants with payments totalling more than £95,000 (including any pension top-up) are already subject to additional scrutiny by the minister for the Cabinet Office. There are mechanisms in place. What does the chief secretary think her cap adds?

“Truss might be satisfied by moving deck chairs. The FDA believes her energy would be better spent equipping the civil service, so it is best able to rise to the great challenges of the day.”

About the author

Richard Johnstone is CSW's deputy and online editor and tweets as @CSW_DepEd

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