Health secretary Matt Hancock has ruled out taking a pay cut, despite calling for footballers to have their pay docked, so that everyone ‘does their bit’.
Hancock was questioned by Good Morning Britain’s Piers Morgan after New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced that she would be taking a 20% pay cut along with her cabinet ministers.
Ardern said it was important the government’s most highly paid politicians show ‘leadership and solidarity’ with those who had lost their livelihoods.
Announcing the decision, she said: ‘If there was ever a time to close the gap between groups of people across New Zealand in different positions, it is now. I am responsible for the executive branch and this is where we can take action … it is about showing solidarity in New Zealand’s time of need.’
But despite calling for footballers to have their pay docked, Hancock said he was not planning a similar initiative with the UK government.
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‘Well I am really pleased that the footballers are making a contribution to charity, just as many do, me included. But everybody needs to do their bit, and the way I’m doing my bit is by working every hour God sends.’
It prompted Morgan to point out that ‘every health minister is doing that around the world, but my question to you is whether you’ll be taking a pay cut as you urged footballers to do, and as the government in New Zealand is doing?’
‘Well I’m not proposing to do that,’ responded Hancock. ‘What I am proposing to do is work every hour that there is.’
Morgan pointed out that footballers are just ‘one group of well paid people’, and wondered why the ‘multimillionaires’ in cabinet were not following their lead.
He continued: ‘When I ask you the same question you say you’re going to chip in ‘with hard work’ but not with a pay cut’.