Spin Doctors' Pay: Campbell's salary rises to pounds 91,000

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The Independent Online
ALASTAIR CAMPBELL, the Prime Minister's press secretary, is to receive a 2 per cent rise to pounds 91,014 a year as part of the annual uprating of pay for spin doctors across Whitehall.

Jonathan Powell, the Prime Minister's chief of staff, will get the same amount from 1 December.

Keith Hellawell, the former chief constable who became the country's first "drugs tsar", is the highest-paid Whitehall adviser, and will earn pounds 106,057 a year.

Mr Campbell joked about his forthcoming pay rise. "I don't know how much I get paid. I hand it over to Fiona (Millar, his partner)."

The Cabinet Office sought to play down the size of the awards to other spin doctors in ministerial offices, insisting that they were in line with the 2.5 per cent inflation target, which the Chancellor has urged the public-sector pay review bodies to meet in the winter awards.

But restructuring of the pay scales for the spin doctors shows that ministerial special advisers earning pounds 24,349 a year will see their pay rise by 6.7 per cent, with 3.5 per cent for those earning more than pounds 73,484 a year.

That raised the prospects of inflation-busting pay rises for doctors and nurses from next April.

The Treasury is anticipating that the nurses will be awarded more than 5 per cent extra in the new year, which will be paid in full, without staging, and officials expect the doctors to get a similar rise.

"They can't give the nurses and doctors less than the spin doctors," said one senior Whitehall source.

Mr Campbell, a former tabloid journalist, and Mr Powell, a former diplomat, received pay rises of 2 per cent in April "in line with other senior civil servants", Jack Cunningham, the Minister for the Cabinet Office, said. Their salaries are above the standard salary structure for special advisers, ministers' assistants who are appointed from outside the traditional Civil Service and are allowed to be politically partial in dispensing their advice.

A new salary structure has been brought in for these Whitehall bag-carriers - who can expect to lose their jobs when their ministers do - giving them three salary bands ranging from pounds 26,000 to pounds 76,056.

The average pay for the 70 special advisers in Whitehall is pounds 45,378, Mr Cunningham added.

This compared with an average of pounds 46,421 under the previous government, but the average has been lowered because the number of special advisers has been increased.

The total pay bill for special advisers is expected to be pounds 3.6m during the 1998-99 financial year, Mr Cunningham said.