A minister has defended the £40,000 pay rise given to Dominic Cummings – which was part of the £10 million pay for Boris Johnson’s advisers in the last year.
Former chief adviser Cummings, who is in the process of leaving his government post, was paid the equivalent of £140,000-£144,999 – up from £95,000-£99,999 last year.
Robert Jenrick, the communities secretary, defended the pay saying the amount spent on advisers was “small” in comparison to international standards.
Sky News presenter Niall Patterson asked: “What on earth is going in government that someone hired on £100,000 can get an extra £40,000 in their pay packet?”
The minister replied: “Well Dominic Cummings has left the government now, but I understand that his pay packet broadly in line with his predecessors, other people who have been former chief of staff to prime ministers.”
“And the prime minister,” pointed out Patterson.
“This is a significant amount of money obviously, but it is in line with a chief executive of a medium-sized local council.
“And the amount of money we spend on political advisers is very small by international standards. It is a very small portion of what we spend on the civil service.
“And I think they do a good job for us”.
The presenter interjected: “A £40,000 pay rise?”
Jenrick continued: “It is an important function, it ensures we are delivering on our promises at general elections and it ensures the political impartiality of the civil service.
“So I think special advisers play an important role in our political process but I completely understand that ensuring pay restraint amongst our politicians is going to very important at a time when people in the private sector are finding their wages squeezed.”
Pro-European campaigner Femi Oluwole commented: “Did Robert Jenrick really just say the government put Vote Leave guru Dominic Cummings in charge of the civil service and gave him a £40,000 pay rise because *checks notes* *faints* *wakes up* *checks notes again* they wanted to ensure the civil service was politically neutral?”
“Jenrick making a play for ‘minister for gaslighting’ role,” noted Adam McCulloch.