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989

July 7 - 13 2010 No. 989

THE WEEKLY WORLD EDITION OF The Daily Telegraph AND The Sunday Telegraph telegraph.co.uk/expat

The Telegraph

SPANISH GOLD

Murray falls in semis as Nadal powers to title

:: SPORT PAGES 47 & 48

She came from Russia, with love

By James Kirkup Political Correspondent GENEROUS “golden goodbye” payments to civil servants are to be cut drastically to make it cheaper for ministers to lay off thousands of public sector staff.

The changes, which will provoke confrontation with unions, come as government departments are drawing up plans for budget cuts of up to 40 per cent.

With hundreds of thousands of state employees facing the sack, Civil Service managers have been told that tough new restrictions on redundancy payments will be in place within weeks.

Under existing Whitehall rules, some civil servants are entitled to severance payouts worth as much as six years’ salary. Ministers want to shrink those packages to bring them in line with the private sector, where workers who are made redundant typically receive the equivalent of a few months’ or even weeks’ pay.

Senior Conservatives have also held talks about ways to curb the powers of the unions, amid concerns of a nationwide strike in protest at budget cuts and job losses.

The plans would toughen changes made under Margaret Thatcher and block unions from calling strikes with a simple majority in a union ballot.

Treasury figures suggest that more than 600,000 jobs will be lost in the public sector over the next five years as almost £100 billion is cut from public spending.

Ministers have identified the traditionally high cost of laying off staff as a significant obstacle to enacting their plans.

Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister, is drawing up

INSIDE Tory row over effectiveness of prisons p5

plans to reduce the generosity of the Civil Service compensation scheme. The Government is prepared to amend the law to force through the changes.

Any redundancy with a last day of service after September 15 is likely to be affected by the changes.

Under rules introduced in 1987, civil servants who have worked for at least 20 years are entitled to a lump sum worth two years’ salary if they take voluntary redundancy. For those whose redundancy is compulsory, the standard payment is worth three years’ pay, while in some cases the pay-off can be worth as much as six years’ salary.

Last year, it emerged that 15,000 civil servants had been made redundant over three years, receiving almost £1billion in severance payments.

The average payout was £60,000 but some public servants received as much as £100,000. Under the new rules, workers earning less than £21,000 will still receive a guaranteed minimum payment. But anyone earning more will have their severance pay capped.

Last year, Labour attempted to draw up plans to cut £500million a year from the Civil Service compensation scheme by capping many payoffs. But those rules were blocked by a High Court ruling after a legal challenge by the Public and Commercial Service (PCS) union.

Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the PCS, warned of extensive industrial action to protect Civil Service jobs.

“They will face resistance the like of which we haven’t seen in this country for decades,” he said.

Alex Chapman with former wife Anna on their wedding day

RUSSIA accused America of trying to revive Cold War tensions last week after the arrest of 11 suspected members of a “deepcover” spy network.

Moscow reacted angrily after 10 people were detained in America and one in Cyprus on suspicion of posing as ordinary citizens for up to a decade while carrying out espionage missions. They were accused of trying to infiltrate political circles to try to collect information on nuclear weapons, Iran, White House rumours and the CIA leadership.

One of the accused, Anna Chapman, 28, was previously married to Alex Chapman, a 30year-old British trainee psychologist.

MI5 is investigating whether Anna’s father, Vasily Kushchenko, a

‘I’m not involved in the murky world of espionage;

I’ve joined the Neighbourhood Watch’

former “high-ranking” officer in the KGB, recruited his daughter to work for Russia’s secret services while she was living in London.

Another of the suspects, Tracey Foley, was said to have used a false British passport prepared by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service.

Sergey Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, described the accusations as “baseless”, and Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, accused US police of being “out of control”.

However, the Russian foreign ministry effectively admitted the accused were Kremlin agents but argued they had never acted against US interests.

Reports, page 15