The Cabinet Office is “crazy” and needs to “get a grip” on Whitehall pay levels, Priti Patel has reportedly said.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Ms Patel believes the salaries of senior civil servants earning up to £300,000 are “out of step” with public opinion and should be restrained.
The comments come after the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB) – which advises ministers on the pay settlements for the highest ranks of the military, judiciary, and Whitehall – last month called for a “fundamental review” of the pay system for senior civil servants.
It said there was a “very deep lack of confidence” about pay awards, and warned of a “demotivating effect”.
A source close the Ms Patel told the Telegraph: “Priti has clearly stated she does not support senior level pay increase. The pay issue is ongoing with discussions going on right now over pay.
“Some director generals are paid almost twice as much as the secretary of state to do their job and yet they do not take full responsibility for their actions and screw ups.
“Her view is that the PM has rightly capped ministerial pay, to around £60,000, yet director generals last year were paid in the realm of £180,000 and received bonuses – so at that level they should be subject to restraint.
“High pay and bonuses come on top of their enormous pension pots and it’s not as if they are either going to go on strike or walk into better paid jobs in the real world.
“The Cabinet Office are crazy and wrong on this stuff. Salaries are too high and way out of line with public opinion.
“Director general's top pay and bonuses come on top of their enormous pension pots all of which are unmatched in the private sector and outside of the civil service.
"The Cabinet Office needs to reform, and grip senior pay levels as the levels they have set are wrong and out of step with many other comparable external roles."
A government spokesman said: “The civil service deals with varied and complex issues and needs to attract, recruit and retain highly skilled individuals, which means it is sometimes appropriate to pay higher salaries.
“Such cases are fully scrutinised – the approval of the Chief Secretary to the Treasury is required for any civil service appointment under ministerial control where remuneration is £142,500 or above on a full-time equivalent basis.”