Italy restores pay cap for top civil servants

Italian PM Draghi leaves the upper house of parliament in Rome

ROME (Reuters) -The Italian government on Wednesday reversed a controversial attempt by the outgoing parliament to weaken a salary cap for senior public servants.

In a surprise vote on Tuesday, the upper house Senate had approved a measure to allow top officials in the police, the armed forces and in government ministries to be paid more than the current ceiling pegged at 240,000 euros ($239,688) a year.

The proposal, promoted by the centre-right Forza Italia party of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, was included at the last minute in an aid package drawn up to help businesses and families cope with the energy crisis. The bill still needs final approval by the lower house Chamber.

A lower house committee on Wednesday approved a government amendment to restore the salary cap, Italian news agencies reported.

Draghi will step down once a new government is formed after a national election on Sept. 25.

The wage limit was first introduced in 2011 to curb privileges and public spending. However, some officials said the bar was set too low and made top jobs in the public sector less appealing than those in the private sector.

($1 = 1.0013 euros)

(Reporting by Angelo AmanteEditing by Keith Weir and Lisa Shumaker)