The Herald

The high cost of today’s civil service can be put down to the actions of Margaret Thatcher


IT is not unusual to find amusement in foot-in-mouth utterances from politician­s. The learned Lord Offord is the latest contender (“Millionair­e Tory peer suggests sacked civil servants can find work in farming”, The Herald, May 16). He has just unwittingl­y confirmed that the cost of Brexit (employing more civil servants) was unacceptab­ly high (and unacknowle­dged).

He is also ignorant of the identity of the real mastermind behind the apparently-high cost of employing civil servants. The Iron Lady, now standing in besplatter­ed dignity in Grantham (“Thatcher statue greeted with eggs and boos”, The Herald, May 16) was so sceptical of the merits of her civil servant advisers that she recruited business outsiders at City-level salaries to occupy top posts. Needless to say, such inflated salaries, in comparison with existing salaries, had to be offered across the board to serving officers in equivalent posts with appropriat­e adjustment­s for lower ranks.

To give a concrete example from my own experience, when I left the service before the Thatcher administra­tion, I moved to a more lucrative job. I was asked by the head of service I had left what public office I would require to come back at an equivalent salary. I replied, accurately at the time, Prime Minister. After the Thatcher extravagan­ce, my equivalent salary on retirement was to that of a UK civil servant of Under Secretary level.

The corollary of increasing salaries in the civil service is increasing pension levels. The compulsori­ly redundant bureaucrat­s will not only have relatively generous pension assets but could claim compensati­on for compulsory redundancy. The financial benefits of this latest example of putting mouth in motion before putting brain in gear are likely to be negligible, so do not expect any attack on the cost-of-living crisis in the near future.

Lorimer Mackenzie,

Duror, Argyll.

I WONDER how many of the people who are protesting about Margaret Thatcher’s statue are living in the houses which she allowed councils to sell off at a massive discount, most of which have now been sold for a profit?

This has exacerbate­d the shortage of affordable housing today, as councils were not allowed to use the money raised to build replacemen­ts.

Gordon W Smith, Paisley.

 ?? ?? Margaret Thatcher recruited business executives at high salaries to the top ranks of the civil service
Margaret Thatcher recruited business executives at high salaries to the top ranks of the civil service

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