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The extent to which rights are accrued is an issue to consider. We are talking not strictly about redundancy but about compensation for loss of office under a statutory scheme, and the relevant rights are those in force at the time when redundancy or loss of office happens. If the statutory redundancy scheme changes, the terms that govern the entitlement are those in place at the time when the redundancy happens. I understand my hon. Friend's point, but I do not believe it applies in this case. I shall deal with that matter a little more in due course.
Our view is that to maintain the current scheme would be unfair as between taxpayers and civil servants and as between workers in the civil service and those in the private sector or the wider public sector. It is unfair also to less well-paid civil servants, which is related to exactly the point that Steve McCabe made, with which I shall deal.
The effect of the current scheme is that it is prohibitively expensive to make redundant civil servants who are highly paid and long-serving. The result is therefore that when money has to be saved by reducing head count, the burden currently falls disproportionately on the lower-paid, more of whom lose their jobs than is necessary or desirable. My view is that lower-paid civil servants suffer disproportionately and are more likely to lose their jobs under the current scheme than would be the case under the arrangements that we are seeking to negotiate. In addition to the very simple cap incorporated in the Bill, we are seeking in parallel to negotiate different arrangements with significantly enhanced protection for lower-paid civil servants.
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