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PM’s chief aide Dominic Cummings paid three times average UK salary

The Cabinet Office has published how much each of the 108 special advisers working in Government earn per year.

Dominic Cummings (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
Dominic Cummings (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

By Patrick Daly, PA Political Correspondent

Boris Johnson’s chief aide in Downing Street, Dominic Cummings, is paid three times the average UK salary, a Government report has revealed.

Mr Cummings, the brains behind the Vote Leave campaign who was brought into Number 10 when Mr Johnson became Prime Minister in July, is paid between £95,000 and £99,999 for his role as chief special adviser.

The average UK salary is £29,500, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The 48-year-old’s pay was revealed in the annual report on special advisers published this week by the Cabinet Office.

Special advisers, known in Westminster as spads, offer senior ministers political advice away from the impartiality of the civil service.

Other salaries declared in the report included Downing Street communications director Lee Cain, chief strategic adviser Sir Ed Lister and director of legislative affairs Nikki Da Costa.

All three earn between £140,000 and £145,000 – not far off the PM’s £150,000-a-year salary.

Ms da Costa, who is on maternity leave, is said to have advised Mr Johnson over his decision to prorogue Parliament, a move the Supreme Court later deemed to be unlawful.

Sir Ed, a former chairman of Homes England, previously worked with Mr Johnson when he was London mayor, while Mr Cain is an ex-Daily Mirror journalist who also worked for the Vote Leave campaign that was spearheaded by Mr Johnson and Mr Cummings.

Robert Oxley, the PM’s press secretary – and another ex-Vote Leave staffer – makes between £85,000 and £89,999 before tax, according to the report.

He was caught saying “for f***’s sake” at a journalist live on ITV’s Good Morning Britain during the General Election campaign as the broadcaster tried to interview Mr Johnson.

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Press secretary Robert Oxley, pictured to the Prime Minister’s right (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The Cabinet Office document says: “Special advisers are temporary civil servants appointed to add a political dimension to the advice and assistance available to ministers.

“In doing so they reinforce the political impartiality of the permanent civil service by distinguishing the source of political advice and support.”

As of November 5, there were 108 full-time equivalent spads working across Government, costing the taxpayer £9.6 million once pension and national insurance contributions are factored in.

The cost is £700,000 higher than the 2018 total.

The number of full-time equivalents is also up by nine under Mr Johnson compared with his predecessor Theresa May, while the Conservative leader’s personal advisory team has expanded to 44, from 37 during Mrs May’s tenure.

PA

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