THE Tories have been called hypocrites for looking to cut limits on bankers’ bonuses while calling for restraint on increasing public sector pay.

Steve Barclay, Downing Street's chief of staff, has reportedly written to Rishi Sunak about a scheme for “deregulatory measures to reduce the overall burden on business”.

The plan would involve lifting restrictions on director and non-executive director pay, according to a leaked copy of the letter seen by the i newspaper.

The move has sparked fury among opposition parties and unions who say that the move is steeped in hypocrisy as public sector workers are being told to “tighten their belts” amid the cost of living crisis.

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Commenting SNP MSP Elena Whitham said: “It is quite frankly obscene that when families are struggling with a cost of living crisis created by the Tories, Westminster is choosing to help their banking pals rake in even more money whilst preaching to the rest of us to live within our means.

“It appears that if you are in Westminster or pals with Tory ministers then you are exempt from the collective responsibility the Chancellor has repeatedly spoken of - once again it’s one rule for them and another for the rest of us.

“This is dripping double standards, that we see day after day, of a broken Westminster system that Scotland knows it can do better than.”

In his letter, Barclay wrote: “I trust you’ll agree this is a more proportionate regulatory response and reflective of the new approach to regulation outlined in the ‘Benefits of Brexit’ publication in January.”

Barclay also reportedly asked Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng to detail measures that could ease the alleged burden on business, while explicitly referring to a change to limits on bosses’ pay.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) confirmed it is looking into “whether there are any unnecessary restrictions on paying non-executive directors in shares, which could ensure they are fully invested”.

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Meanwhile, No 10 also confirmed the plan saying they were assessing how non-executive directors were paid, not how much – including ditching “unnecessary restrictions on paying non-executive directors shares”.

Boris Johnson's official spokesman said: “There’s no plans to change the cap on executive pay, I think the issue that’s being investigated is how non-executive directors are paid rather than what CEOs or directors are paid,”

However, Labour have accused the Tories of using “two sets of rules” – one for rich people in the City of London and another for workers elsewhere.

Baroness Smith, the party’s leader in the Lords, said: “On one hand, we’re telling those who are working that you must have wage restraint. Does it not seem somewhat hypocritical to be saying to the City that those constraints, those curbs that have been in place are to be removed?”

Labour’s shadow business secretary Jonathan Reynolds added: “It’s the hallmark of a government that lurches from crisis to crisis that instead of giving businesses real certainty, they’re looking down the sofa for random ideas.”

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Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of the Trade Unions Congress, also called out the Government’s plan. She tweeted: “Key workers told to tighten their belts, City executives told to help themselves,

“Britain deserves better.”

A BEIS spokesperson said: “As announced last month, we are looking to strengthen the rules on clawing back bonuses from directors if their company collapses to stamp out ‘rewards for failure’.

“By the same token, we are also exploring whether there are any unnecessary restrictions on paying non-executive directors in shares, which could ensure they are fully invested in the success of the company they run. If the company does well, directors do well.”