POLITICS
15/12/2020 14:37 GMT | Updated 15/12/2020 19:21 GMT

Dominic Cummings Got A Pay Rise Of At Least £40,000 From No.10 This Year

It also emerged the PM overruled the Civil Service to continue fighting a legal case against an ex-adviser sacked by Cummings.

Dominic Cummings received a pay rise of around £40,000 for his role as Boris Johnson’s top adviser, official figures show.

The prime minister’s top aide is currently paid between £140,000 and £144,999, as he prepares to officially leave his job on December 18 after walking out of No.10 last month.

It is an increase on his £95,000 to £99,999 salary which was published in last December’s figures on special adviser (spad).

The pay rise came in a year when Cummings sparked outrage for appearing to break coronavirus rules by travelling to Durham during the middle of the spring lockdown and then visiting Barnard Castle with his wife and son to test his “eyesight”.

One Whitehall source said Cummings’ 40% wage rise was a “disgrace” when other special advisers who, like the PM’s top aide, stayed in the same pay band got just a 1% increase.

“It’s a disgrace,” they said.

“He always said he was gonna find a way to reward spads who were doing a good job.

“All he did was secure a massive pay hike for himself.

“He must have thought he was doing a great job. Others might think otherwise.” 

A Tory source said: "Remember his whole not in it for the money thing? £140,000 a year, a million pound house and a £50,000 car (a Land Rover Discovery Sport) is hardly sack cloth. Is it?"

Another source described the pay rise as a "shocking indictment" as Cummings presided over the introduction of performance related pay for teachers as Michael Gove's special adviser at the Department for Education.

"It's one rule for us, one rule for everyone else," they said.

Labour MP Karl Turner pointed out that Cummings got a pay rise in the same year that millions of key workers were hit with a public sector pay freeze.

Cummings was in the same pay band as Downing Street director of communications Lee Cain when both decided to quit No.10 last month.

A footnote in this year’s list of spad salaries said: “Lee Cain and Dominic Cummings are in the process of leaving their government posts and are not included in the above list. 

“They are, however, included in the December FTE numbers. Both individuals were in PB4 (pay band 4) and pay band £140,000-£144,999.” 

PA Wire/PA Images
Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain

Meanwhile, it emerged in further official documents that Johnson overruled Civil Service advice, in order to continue fighting a legal action brought by an ex-Treasury spad over her summary sacking at the hands of Cummings.

HuffPost UK understands that a written ministerial direction issued by the prime minister to the Civil Service relates to the case of Sonia Khan, who was escorted out of No.10 by police after being fired by Cummings.

Khan eventually won a payout of tens of thousands of pounds in a settlement over her dismissal, having rejected an earlier offer.

Following that rejection, Civil Service chief executive Sir John Manzoni wrote to Johnson on March 3 to urge him to abandon fighting a legal case brought by Khan due to the high cost of defending the case to the taxpayer.

Manzoni wrote: “Given the ongoing expenditure of defending the case and the potential costs that a court may award, it is my advice, taking account of legal and financial analysis that a further negotiation (on a settlement) should be carried out to seek to avoid litigation.”

But replying a day later, the PM instructed Manzoni that “no further offer should be made to attempt settlement in advance of any potential litigation”.

“I understand your concerns as expressed concerning the value for money of contesting the claim without further attempts at settlement, however as you have correctly stated I am able to take into account wider considerations than value for money.

“The legal position is clear that the prime minister can withdraw consent for the appointment of any special adviser.

“That is the reason for the termination of employment and I am content for a reasons letter to be issued to the individual setting that out.

“I do not believe that individuals should receive more compensation than they are entitled to under their contract and therefore I believe that this claim should be tested in litigation.”

Eventually, Johnson relented and agreed a settlement for Khan, who was an adviser to ex-chancellor Sajid Javid.

Commenting on Cummings’ pay rise, deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said: “Boris Johnson defended Dominic Cummings when he broke lockdown rules - then awarded him a £50,000 pay rise. Yet he’s freezing pay for key workers and refusing to give our care workers a pay rise to the living wage.

“Cummings’ bumper bonus is an insult to key workers denied the pay rise they deserve. It’s another example of how under this government it is one rule for the Tory Party and their friends and another for the rest of us.”

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Daisy Cooper said: “Families across the country who are facing extraordinary financial hardship right now will be appalled that their taxes were being wasted to pay Dominic Cummings more than five times as much as a nurse.

“Not only did Boris Johnson undermine public trust by refusing to sack Cummings when he flagrantly broke lockdown with his trips to Durham and Barnard Castle, now we learn he gave him a huge pay rise.

“This is yet another outrage from a Conservative government that thinks there’s one rule for them and another rule for everyone else.”