Boris Johnson is hiring a £100k 'spokesperson' – here's how many key workers that could fund instead

Joanna Taylor
Wednesday 29 July 2020 07:00
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(Jack Taylor / Christopher Furlong / Getty Images)

Boris Johnson is hiring a spokesperson to front new televised government press conferences, with a reported salary of £100,000.

The chosen candidate will "communicate with the nation" directly from Downing Street on the prime minister's behalf in the style of White House press briefings.

They will field questions from political reporters, as ministers did during the coronavirus crisis, a process which formerly took place place behind closed doors.

A job advert seen by The Telegraph reportedly states:

You will represent the Government and the Prime Minister to an audience of millions on a daily basis, across the main broadcast channels and social media, and have the chance to influence and shape public opinion.

There are concerns that the spokesperson, who will not be an elected official, will be well placed to impart government messaging with a reduced level of scrutiny.

The hefty salary that will reportedly accompany the role has also raised eyebrows, particularly at a time when the government is floating a future wage squeeze and a salary of £100,000 puts someone in the top 5 per cent of earners. Not only this, but a recent pay rise for public sector workers like teachers and police officers excluded some key workers like nurses and social workers.

So here's how many key worker's salaries could be paid for with £100k...

4 nurses

£100k could pay the starting salaries of four NHS nurses.

Nurses were recently excluded from a recent pay rise for public sector workers because they are already in the process of receiving a 6.5 per cent rise over three years.

This will culminate with a starting salary of £25,000 from next year.

The most a nurse can expect to make during their career falls under £40,000.

8 care workers

Care workers are paid between £12,500 and £25,000 per year to look after vulnerable people.

The Resolution Foundation estimated that over half of British care workers who risked their lives during the coronavirus pandemic to look after people in care homes were paid below the real cost of living.

2 NHS doctors (almost!)

The starting salary for a GP is £58,808 after a decade of training.

GPs complete a five year degree, a two year foundation course and a three year specialist course before earning half of what Boris Johnson's new spokesperson will reportedly make in a year.

4 primary school teachers

Teachers in Wales are set to receive a pay rise which would put the starting salary at £27,000.

But for teachers elsewhere in the UK, whether they are teaching primary or secondary school children, the starting salary remains at £24,373.

8 support workers

The starting salary for community support workers, home care officers and social services assistants is just £12,500.

4 social workers

Full time social workers make a starting salary of £24,000, four times less than the reported salary of Johnson's shiny new spokesperson.

Boris Johnson might be focused on transforming his government's relationship with the press into a more American-style system.

But perhaps the government's money could be better spent?

As the economy reacts to the devastating effects of the coronavirus pandemic, is now really the time to hire a decidedly non-essential worker for a reported £100,000?

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