UK’s Hammond at Odds With Trade Chief on Brexit Transition

During a rather heated cabinet meeting on Tuesday, it would appear that the Chancellor, Phillip #Hammond, declared that he would not break the 1% pay freeze for the #Public Sector, as they were all overpaid anyway.

Finance minister Philip Hammond, who has championed a softer form of Brexit, bore the brunt of a series of critical newspaper stories over the weekend about what was said at private government meetings.

Hammond has sought to curb enthusiasm for Prime Minister Theresa May’s desire to abandon further austerity – a shift which followed her poor election performance. “And ministers still won’t tell us if relief is on the way, I” TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady told the BBC on Monday.

Pressed by Andrew Marr on whether he said they were overpaid, Mr Hammond said: “Well I’ve told you, I’m not going to talk about what comes out of a private Cabinet meeting”. The pay cap has been under increased discussion in recent weeks with police officers and firefighters frequently in the public’s eye amid terrorist attacks in London and Manchester and the deadly blaze in a high-rise apartment block in the capital. I don’t think like that.

On Saturday it was reported the PM slapped down Mr Hammond after he said driving trains is so easy that “even a woman can do it”.

Tweet Embed: Did Philip Hammond just admit that the cabinet is deeply split over Brexit.

And when he tried to dig himself out of the embarrassing hole, he was interrupted by Mrs May, who said: “Chancellor, I am going to take your shovel away from you”.

Mr Grayling said the suggestion that there were “profound and fundamental differences” between Cabinet ministers on Brexit were “a bit exaggerated”, but admitted: “We’re not a group of clones, we have discussions around the Cabinet table and outside Cabinet, we debate issues, we decide what’s right and then we get on with it”.

A post-election poll by the TUC showed that 76 per cent of voters – including 68 per cent of Conservative voters – want to give public-sector workers a pay rise.

“I think on many fronts it would be helpful if my colleagues – all of us – focused on the job in hand”.

However, a Whitehall source said Johnson “strongly believes” the cap can be lifted in a “responsible way” and “without causing fiscal pressures”, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Former party leader Ian Duncan Smith told the BBC there was no appetite among conservative lawmakers for a leadership contest and said his colleagues should “shut up” and “let everyone else get on with the business of governing”. “Taking public sector pay before pensions contributions – that gap has now closed”, he said.

Hammond said the government was pushing for a transitional arrangement for the final deal with the European Union to minimize the damage.