LIZ Truss has backtracked on plans to cut public sector wages after she was told her plans were "ludicrous" and unworkable. 

The Government’s “levelling up” agenda was declared “dead” after Tory leadership frontrunner Liz Truss announced plans to slash public sector pay outside the wealthy south east of England.

Her team revealed her “war on Whitehall waste” which experts said would not be limited to slashing the pay and tearing up the conditions of civil servants but also teachers, doctors and nurses.

Labour have said it sounded the death knell for Boris Johnson’s “levelling up” agenda which he claimed was the guiding principle of his Government.

The National:

And Truss’s (above) team were accused of exaggerating the savings that would have been generated by her now-axed spending proposals.

After Rishi Sunak, her rival for the top job, pounced on outrage generated by the plans, a spokesperson for Truss's campaign said the plans had been dropped. 

Tory mayor of the Tees Valley Ben Houchen said he was "speechless" at the proposals. 

She had planned to cut the pay of newly recruited civil servants outside London to reflect the cost of living in English regions and the other nations of the UK and axing holiday allowance.

Regional pay boards would have been set up under Truss’ proposals to make pay outside of London reflect the local cost of living, something she claimed would save £8.8 billion.

READ MORE: Desperate Scot Tories attempt to spin Liz Truss 'attention seeker' slur against FM

But this figure was branded “ludicrous” by Alex Thomas, programme director at the Institute for Government think tank.

He said: “If you’re just talking about civil servants, that is ludicrous; it doesn’t add up at all. The whole [annual] civil service pay bill is around £9bn.”

Regional pay boards could produce efficiencies, he added, but would only generate savings on the scale envisioned by Truss if pay was reviewed across the public sector – including that of school workers, NHS staff and other public sector employees.

He added: “It’s not a bad thing for the public sector to be matching its salary scales to the part of the country it’s operating in.

“But you only get to these sorts of numbers if you’re talking about a doctor or a nurse or a school administrator, who already works outside London, receiving a lower salary.”

Cutting back the size of the civil service is an ongoing mission within the Conservative Party, with Johnson previously pledging to cull the number of bureaucrats by one-fifth.

Other parts of her plans included cutting two days from civil servants' holiday allowance - something she said would save £2bn, while also pledging to limit "facility time" for public service trade unions to plan strike action. 

The National: Angela Rayner has called the plans the death of levelling up Angela Rayner has called the plans the death of levelling up

Her team were forced to revise their sums after it was found they had overestimated the savings relocating civil servants to outside London would generate down from £557m to £153m. 

READ MORE: Desperate Scot Tories attempt to spin Liz Truss 'attention seeker' slur against FM

Angela Rayner, Labour’s deputy leader, said Truss was “declaring war on herself with her fantasy recipe for levelling down”.

She added: “Her ‘tailored’ pay plans would level down the pay of northerners, worsening the divide which already exists. This out-of-touch government’s commitment to levelling up is dead.

“Now Liz Truss is pledging yet more cuts which will only worsen the backlogs we already have in courts, airports and GPs, leaving people waiting for passports, driving licences, and vital appointments.”

It comes after Truss drew ire across the political spectrum last night for comments made during the Tory leadership hustings in Exeter, in which she said Nicola Sturgeon was an “attention seeker” who should be ignored.

The First Minister’s deputy told the BBC on Tuesday morning the comments would be “insulting” to Scots and were “deeply troubling and concerning”.

A spokesperson for Truss said: "Over the last few hours there has been a wilful misrepresentation of our campaign.

“Current levels of public sector pay will absolutely be maintained.

“Anything to suggest otherwise is simply wrong.

“Our hard-working frontline staff are the bedrock of society and there will be no proposal taken forward on regional pay boards for civil servants or public sector workers.”

Sunak ally Mark Harper, the former Conservative chief whip, said Truss was falsely accusing journalists of twisting her words, adding: "Reporting what a press release says isn’t ‘wilful misrepresentation'".

He added the U-turn meant Truss' economic programme had to find another £8.8bn in savings.