Policy secretaries would not have their pay cut under a ministerial system despite having fewer responsibilities, the Secretary for Civil Service said yesterday. Speaking at a Legco panel meeting, Joseph Wong Wing-ping said policy chiefs would still have to help formulate and implement policies. Under the proposed accountability system, policy secretaries would become under-secretaries if they remained in the civil service. A group of quasi-ministers would take over policy-making and lobbying. At a public service panel meeting, Liberal Party legislator Howard Young said the pay of policy secretaries - $190,100 a month - should be cut as they would have fewer duties. But Mr Wong said the under-secretaries would still have to go to Legco to lobby for support. 'It is over-simplistic to say the job will be split into two.' Non-affiliated legislator Andrew Wong Wang-fat suggested another non-civil service official be appointed to assist the principal officials. He also questioned whether under-secretaries could remain politically neutral if they had to lobby for support of policies. Mr Wong, however, dismissed this fear, saying they would follow the lead of the political appointees. Separately, at the constitutional affairs panel, Hong Kong Progressive Alliance legislator Hui Cheung-ching also suggested policy secretaries' pay be cut as part of their work would be taken up by the political appointees. Deputy Secretary for Constitutional Affairs Clement Mak Ching-hung said the Government would consider this. Mr Wong rejected calls for a freeze on the number of directorate officials after accusations of double standards being applied to public service job cuts. He told legislators it would be difficult to redeploy staff to fill directorate posts to meet staffing needs given the small pool of senior officers. The number of directorate officials has increased from 1,493 to 1,581 over the past four years, in contrast with a nine per cent drop in civil service size to 181,000.