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Tory vow to end six-figure pay-offs

The Conservatives are promising to end six-figure redundancy pay-offs for highly paid public sector workers if they regain power at the general election in May.

The party's election manifesto will include a commitment to legislate to cap payments in the public sector at £95,000, Treasury Minister Priti Patel said.

The move follows a series of controversial pay-offs funded by the taxpayer, including payments of more than £450,000 in the Civil Service, over £500,000 in the NHS, and over £1 million in the BBC.

Staff earning less than £27,000 will be exempt from the cap in order to protect the very small number of low-earning, long-serving public servants who might otherwise have been caught.

"It's not right that hard working taxpayers, many on low salaries, have to fund huge payouts when well-paid people get made redundant," Ms Patel said.

"This goes to the heart of our long-term economic plan for Britain - it's about backing hard-working taxpayers and making sure the economy is tilted in their favour; and it's about saving money so we help bring down our deficit and make our economy more financially secure."

For Labour, shadow health minister Jamie Reed said that the Conservatives should have acted earlier to deal with the issue.

"David Cameron can't get away from the fact that this horse has already bolted. He wasted £1.6 billion on redundancy payouts to NHS managers as part of his reckless reorganisation," he said.

"Frontline NHS staff found it galling that 4,000 managers who received pay-offs are now back in NHS jobs."

Dave Penman, the general secretary of the FDA, representing senior civil servants, said the cap would hit many ordinary public sector workers.

"This is being portrayed as an attack on fat cats. The reality is this scheme will impact upon nurses, police officers, firefighters, midwives,as well as the people who I represent who are better paid," he told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

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