by New Worker correspondent
Despite the gloomy prognosis on pay for most public sector workers there are rays of sunshine for some of the high castes. The Chancellor’s pay freeze for civil servants does not apply to those at the very top. Clare Lombardelli, the Chancellor’s chief economist got a rise of £30,000. This blow against the gender pay gap means her salary is now just under £150,000.
One way round pay freezes is for the chosen few to be awarded bonuses, which they can “earn” by simply turning up. The two top Treasury civil servants, Sir Tom Scholar and Charles Roxburgh, were each given bonuses of up to £20,000 on top of their salaries, along with the Treasury’s department’s head of tax and welfare, Beth Russell.
Well-heeled Tory MPs, such as former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith disapproved because it would cause grumbling in the lower ranks. He said: “I would have thought that they would show a bit of sympathy and that even if you were to pay them bonuses, they weren’t paid until everyone was back to work properly” .
One group of workers who won’t be getting a pay rise because it would be too politically embarrassing are MPs whose pay will be frozen in this financial year. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) had recommended a bumper pay rise worth about £3,300 late last year, but both Boris Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer opposed it. It dawned on the IPSA that an increase “would not reflect the reality” faced by many voters after the coronavirus crisis. As MPs are on a minimum of £81,922 this will not cause too much hardship and they would have to have remarkably tough brass necks to accept a rise while lecturing others on the necessity of fiscal prudence.