LIZ Truss has performed a spectacular u-turn on her leadership campaign promise to base public sector pay on the location of workers.
In a bid to woo Tory members, the wannabe PM yesterday vowed to cut down on Whitehall waste by making £8.8 billion of savings in the civil service.
The boards would determine pay-packets based on the standards of living in regional areas where civil servants reside.
This morning, Tory MPs slammed the idea as anti-levelling up, arguing it would widen regional inequality and punish hard-up Brits in deprived areas the most.
They also claimed that in order to make £8.8 billion of savings, Ms Truss would have to slash the pay of public sector workers beyond the civil service, such as nurses and police officers.
Following the avalanche of criticism, Ms Truss backtracked on her campaign promise.
A spokesperson for the wannabe PM said: “Over the last few hours there has been a wilful misrepresentation of our campaign.
“Current levels of public sector pay will absolutely be maintained. Anything to suggest otherwise is simply wrong.”
“Our hard-working frontline staff are the bed rock of society and there will be no proposal taken forward on regional pay boards for civil servants or public sector workers.”
A Rishi Sunak campaign source said: “This wasn’t a mistake, Liz wanted this in 2018 as Chief Secretary to the Treasury.”
Invoking Margaret Thatcher’s famous speech, they added: “The lady is for turning.”
This morning Conservative poster boy for levelling up, Ben Houchen, slammed Ms Truss’s former plan as a “ticking time bomb that will explode ahead of the next general election”.
The Tees Valley Mayor said: “There is simply no way you can do this without a massive pay cut for 5.5m people including nurses, police officers and our armed forces outside London.
“Liz Truss’s campaign is explicit that their savings target is only possible ‘if the system were to be adopted for all public sector workers’.”
Tory MP Steve Double said: “This is a terrible idea and would be hugely damaging to public services in Cornwall where we already struggle to recruit NHS staff.”
Labour and trade unions also joined in the roasting.
They claimed Ms Truss’s old plan would leading to a £7.1 billion hit to local economies in Yorkshire, the North and the Midlands.
Angela Rayner said: “Liz Truss is utterly out of touch with the British public. Her fantasy plan would hammer the north and slash the pay of nurses, teachers, and police officers facing the biggest cost of living crisis in a generation.”
This afternoon Ms Truss claimed she never had any intention of shaking up pay contracts for teachers and nurses.
But she did admit her plans for regional pay boards are now dead in the water.
The leadership hopeful said: “I’m being absolutely honest. I’m concerned that people were unnecessarily worried about my policies.
“Therefore, I’m being clear that the regional pay boards will not go ahead.”