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I will come on to precisely that point, because the hon. Gentleman puts his finger on a real concern that I have. I will deal with it in detail later, if I may, because how to protect effectively the position of the lowest-paid in the civil service is a really important issue that will concern everyone in the House.
It is now more than 20 years since the last serious reform of the compensation scheme and more than two years since the current reform process began, with an unchanged set of arrangements still in place. Frankly, that position cannot be allowed to continue. The current scheme is unaffordable and unsustainable. It allows for payments of up to three times annual salary or, for older workers, enhancements to pension and lump sum payments costing more than five times salary. For some, those enhancements can total as much as six and two thirds times annual salary. That compares with a maximum of 30 weeks' pay under the statutory redundancy scheme, with a weekly cap on the salary allowable of £380, giving a total of about £11,000.
The level of payments under the current scheme would be excessive even if we were not facing such a difficult financial situation. The last Government left the country with, in the immortal words of their last Chief Secretary to the Treasury, "no money left". The Government are having to borrow a pound out of every four just to keep pensions paid and schools and hospitals functioning.
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