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Teachers Pay Friday, 14 July, 2000, 16:45 GMT 17:45 UK
Blunkett blames his advisers
David Blunkett
David Blunkett: Anger
An embarrassed Education Secretary, David Blunkett, has blamed civil servants for the way his attempt to introduce performance pay for teachers has run into a legal quagmire.


I'm obviously going to have to look at this myself as I can't rely on my civil servants to do it for me

David Blunkett
Mr Blunkett said that, as secretary of state, he "carried the can" for what had happened.

But he said he would now have to take a close personal interest in the legal details because he could not trust his civil servants to do so.

"I did politics as a degree, so I'm aware that the secretary of state in any department takes the final rap. The buck stops here," he said on BBC Radio 4's PM programme.

But he went on: "I take legal advice and I take the advice of my civil servants and if that advice is wrong in the end I carry the can for it, they don't."

Asked if he was embarrassed by the High Court judgement, Mr Blunkett said: "I'm embarrassed that the advice I have received has proved to be inadequate. I'm embarrassed that I took it."

He said he would now have to consider the judge's ruling when the full wording was available - "and I'm obviously going to have to look at this myself as I can't rely on my civil servants to do it for me," he said.

Was he very angry with them?

"I take advice. I rely on that advice. When it goes wrong, I carry the can for it," he said.

His remarks are likely to arouse concern in the civil service as convention has it that ministers do not publicly criticise their officials, who are not allowed to speak out for themselves.

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David Blunkett
"The buck stops here"
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10 Apr 00 | Teachers Pay
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