No.10 Says Dominic Cummings' 40% Pay Hike Was 'Correct' As He Was 'Important'

Keir Starmer quipped that the disgraced adviser's salary increase could not have been "performance-related".

Downing Street has defended Dominic Cummings’ £40,000 pay rise despite the fury it sparked from both government staffers and opposition parties.

Boris Johnson’s top adviser was handed a 40% pay rise in 2020 despite causing outrage by apparently breaking coronavirus rules – travelling to Durham during the spring lockdown and then visiting Barnard Castle with his wife and son to test his “eyesight”.

The revelation that Cummings was now being paid between £140,000 and £144,999 was seized upon by Labour leader Keir Starmer, who asked the prime minister on Wednesday “how on earth” it was justified when millions of public sector workers have had their pay frozen.

At PMQs, Johnson did not respond to the question, while the Labour leader joked Cummings’ pay hike “wasn’t performance-related”.

But afterwards his press secretary Allegra Stratton insisted Cummings was being paid the “correct” salary because he was “one of the most important” advisers in the government.

Stratton told reporters: “It’s the case that Dominic Cummings’ revised salary reflected the fact that up until his departure he was one of, if not the, most important special adviser.

“And the new salary he received was, as you know, in line with the salary that chiefs of staff and people of that rank received

“So it’s not that his new salary took him over and above what you expect for the kind of role he performed.”

Asked if the pay rise was a good use of taxpayers’ money, Stratton said: “It’s the correct level of salary for the role Dominic Cummings performed.

“Dominic Cummings was a valued member of staff.”

The decision to hike Cummings’ pay by 40% sparked fury among government special advisers, most of whom only got a 1% increase.

On Tuesday, one Whitehall source told HuffPost UK that the raise was a “disgrace”.

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

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

Cummings walked out of Downing Street last month amid controversy over appointments at No.10 and an inquiry into the leaking of the PM’s decision on the November lockdown.

He will formally leave his government job on December 18.


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