The Government has taken its ‘foot off the accelerator’ on efficiency savings, according to Horsham’s former MP.
Over the last few months ministers have faced increased pressure to lift the cap on public sector pay, and earlier this week announced pay increases for police offices and prison officers, both funded from existing budgets.
Lord Francis Maude, who was Horsham MP from 1997 and 2015 and both minister for the cabinet office and paymaster general under David Cameron, said that many public sector workers ‘have not been subject to a strict one per cent pay cap’.
Taking into account pensions and terms and conditions, he suggested ‘they are and have been for some time better paid than workers in the private sector’.
Appearing on BBC’s Newsnight, Lord Maude, who has been a member of the House of Lords since 2015 and was described as an ‘architect of austerity’, said the Coalition Government had shown they could get ‘more for less’.
But he argued the ‘foot’s been taken off the accelerator’ in a drive for greater Government efficiencies.
On the pay cap specifically, he suggested pay rates are ‘not the be-all and end-all’, and the important point was ‘how much are you spending and what are you getting for it’.
He added: “The deficit is clearly not under control. We are in quite a sustained period of economic growth and yet we still have a budget deficit that is too big.
“We should be at this stage in a place where the budget deficit has been eliminated and we’re getting towards a surplus. We’re not. So the idea that there is suddenly lots of money around is complete fantasy.”