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Hain’s advisers under fire

Work and Pensions Secretary Peter Hain has come under further attack after his special advisers were accused of breaking conduct rules by issuing an attack on the Conservatives.

Last week, one of Hain’s special advisers issued a press release attacking Conservative leader David Cameron’s calls for a restructure of public sector pensions.

The release says: “If you are in a final-salary pension scheme, don’t ever vote Tory or they would destroy it.”

Civil service code of conduct rules state that special advisers are not allowed to use their position for party political campaigning.

The code states: “Special advisers should not use official resources for party political activity. They are employed to serve the objectives of the Government and the department in which they work.”

Lobbying body the Taxpayers’ Alliance says it has sent a complaint to Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell and Department for Work and Pensions Permanent Secretary Sir Leigh Lewis.

The Taxpayers’ Alliance says: “Taxpayers do not want to pay for political parties’ election campaigning and yet this press release makes no attempt to hide that it does just that. It is a bare-faced abuse of taxpayers’ money to persuade people how to vote in an election, based on criticising opposition policy.”

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