Bank of England press chief? Not a bad job if you can get it
Jim Armitage is the City editor of The Independent and London Evening Standard group of newspapers. He has been a reporter and editor for more than 20 years and was recently shortlisted for the Press Gazette financial journalist of the year and The Society of Editors financial journalist of the year awards. He contributes news, investigative reports and comment to the Independent titles plus a daily column in the Evening Standard.
Tuesday 17 June 2014
Outlook Those in the City tell me there’s nothing new in the fact that the Bank of England’s top press officer was paid £168,000 last year. Move along now.
It may not be “new” news – he was paid similarly in previous years – but it seems worthy of note that the man (who’s about to be replaced by a woman) paid to polish the reputation of Threadneedle Street gets nearly as much as those superbrains setting interest rates on the Monetary Policy Committee. Andy Haldane, one of the nine economists in the world deemed clever enough for an MPC post, gets only £20,000 more.
That nugget in today’s Bank of England annual report prompted a call to press officer chums in Whitehall for a scout around what other public sector PR mandarins charge us taxpayers. For “spokesmen”, they seemed less than communicative at first – no surprise when a journalist comes sniffing around your department’s wages, I suppose. But how their responses changed when I mentioned Nils Blythe’s wedge at the Bank of England.
“How much?!” blurted one. I was quickly, and rather angrily, urged to compare the former BBC man’s wages with those on an internal website used to advertise similar jobs in civil service departments.
Here are some: Head of News at the Department of Work and Pensions, “c£82,000”; Director of Communications at Environment Food and Rural Affairs’, “£84,000 to £110,000”; Defra Head of News, “up to £85,000”.
The DWP has a workforce of 45,600 and more news crises to manage than most, what with the seemingly unending appetite for welfare scrounger stories in certain parts of the press. Defra employs fewer – 10,500 – but its media team has its fair share of daily news stories to cope with too – the winter floods and slaughterhouse rules to choose just two at random from today.
The Bank of England has just 3,625 workers on the payroll. I’m not saying it doesn’t have its share of busy news days too, but does its PR chief really merit twice the pay of his counterparts in other government departments? Particularly when he also has a “head of media” and “personal press officer to Governor Mark Carney” below him to share the burden. Come to think of it, does he need to be an executive director – with the salary such a status commands – at all?
Then again, they say spin doctors are paid as much for what they keep out of the news as for what they get in. As far as I’m aware, Mr Blythe’s wages have barely registered on Fleet Street’s radar over the years. They must be worth every penny.
- 1 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
Germanwings plane crash: Andreas Lubitz 'had eyesight problems' and woke from nightmares 'screaming we’re going down'
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...
£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...