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Coffee House

Are ministers better off today?

15 August 2014

1:14 PM

15 August 2014

1:14 PM

From the Barometer in this week’s Spectator.

Home Office minister Mark Simmonds resigned this week, complaining he couldn’t afford to live in London on his junior minister’s salary of £89,435. His resignation echoes that of Lord Gowrie, who resigned as minister for the arts in September 1985 complaining he couldn’t live in London on £33,000 a year. Are ministers better off now than they were then?

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— If you uprate Lord Gowrie’s 1985 salary with the Retail Prices Index (which the government now regards as overstating inflation), it would be worth £85,000, less than the sum earned by Simmonds.However, Lord Gowrie’s was a cabinet post and would now carry a salary of £134,565.

— Only when it comes to buying a home are MPs (like everyone else) less well off now than in 1985. While a cabinet minister’s salary has increased by a little over four times, average London property prices (as measured by the Nationwide) have increased by 7.65 times.

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