Page last updated at 11:01 GMT, Wednesday, 14 July 2010 12:01 UK

Ministers urged to protect low-paid civil servants

Coalition plans to cut redundancy payments to civil servants would be a "kick in the teeth" if they are applied to low-paid workers, Liberal Democrat MP John Leech has warned.

At question time on 14 July 2010, Mr Leech said civil servants at the low end of the pay scale had spent years worrying about their jobs and were now facing uncertainty about their future.

But Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said he was determined to ensure "additional protection for low-paid workers" as part of reforms to the Civil Service Compensation Scheme.

Earlier this month Mr Maude announced plans to bring forward a bill to limit the cost of future payments by capping all compulsory redundancy pay-offs at 12 months' pay and limiting amounts for voluntary severance to 15 months' salary.

Mr Leech told MPs: "Any plans to severely restrict redundancy payments for hundreds of thousands of low-paid civil servants would be seen as a real kick in the teeth to thousands of workers who have faced uncertainty for the last few years about their jobs and who face uncertainty in the future."

Mr Maude, who met with unions yesterday to discuss the government's proposals, replied: "It's for precisely that reason that I want to engage quickly with the unions to negotiate additional protection for low-paid workers - because contrary to public belief large numbers of civil servants aren't very well paid.

"Half of them earn £21,000 a year or less, and we do want there to be extra protection for them."

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