Liz Truss to ‘ignore’ independence demands and cut public sector pay outside of South East England
Liz Truss has vowed to “ignore” calls for independence and to cut public sector pay outside the South East of England.
The Tory leadership favourite said that the best way to keep Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in the union was to “deliver for them”.
However, she also unveiled a new policy to pay staff employed by the government less outside London. Regional pay boards would “tailor pay to the cost of living where civil servants actually work” she said.
The bulk of the savings – some £8.8 billion – would come from paying workers living in cheaper areas of the country, she said.
It was not immediately clear how this would impact the pay of staff in devolved areas, although cuts at Whitehall would translate into less money available to the Welsh Government which gets a population share of UK Government spending.
Liz Truss also claimed that it was best to ignore “attention seeker” Nicola Sturgeon.
“What we need to do is show the people of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales what we’re delivering for them and making sure that all of our Government policies apply right across the United Kingdom,” she said.
Ms Truss, speaking at a hustings event in Exeter, referenced growing up in Paisley before saying: “I feel like I’m a child of the union, I really believe we’re a family and we’re better together and I think the best thing to do with Nicola Sturgeon is ignore her.”
Tory members cheered and applauded the comment, with the Foreign Secretary adding: “She’s an attention seeker, that’s what she is.
She replied “no, no, no” when asked about another independence referendum in Scotland if she becomes prime minister.
Liz Truss’ comments on independence and cutting public sector pay outside the South East of England drew criticism from her political opponents.
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union, said: “If Liz Truss is elected, and if she tries to go ahead with these proposals, she’ll face opposition every step of the way.
“Civil servants are not a political tool to be used and abused for one person’s ambition; they are the hard-working people who keep the country running, day in day out, and they deserve respect.”
SNP MP Chris Law, posting on Twitter with a link to Ms Truss’s remarks, said: “The only reason why Scotland needs independence. Utter contempt from the future PM.”
Elsewhere at the hustings, Ms Truss declined to give details about the most embarrassing thing she has done in her life.
She said: “Honestly? My daughters will be watching this and I absolutely am not going to say.”
Asked if she is a person of faith and practises religion regularly, Ms Truss said: “I share the values of the Christian faith and the Church of England, but I’m not a regular practising religious person.”
Tory leadership rival Rishi Sunak said on the same question: “I’m a practising Hindu and that’s how we’ve raised our kids.
“Just a few weeks ago I was back at my temple in Southampton where I grew up, every year we have a family prayer day where we cook lunch and serve it to the community, and it was a very special part of how I was brought up and a special part of how I live my life today.”
Mr Sunak, on what he would do if not a politician, said: “If I could run Southampton Football Club, I’d be a very happy man.”
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