Advisers' salaries criticised

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Indy Politics
THE Liberal Democrats last night attacked the special adviser system as a 'cushy career for former Central Office hacks' after John Major revealed in a Commons answer that advisers often earn more than MPs, writes Patricia Wynn Davies.

In contrast to the civil service, special adviser appointments are party political.

The Prime Minister's answer to Matthew Taylor, head of Liberal Democrat campaigns and communications, shows that 10 of the 35 current appointees earn between pounds 10,000 and pounds 20,000. Five earn pounds 30,000 to pounds 40,000, eight pounds 40,000 to pounds 50,000 and six pounds 50,000 to pounds 60,000. A backbench MP gets pounds 30,854.

Three advisers earn between pounds 80,000 and pounds 100,000, outstripping a Cabinet minister ( pounds 63,047) and even the Prime Minister ( pounds 76,234). An earlier answer from Mr Major showed about a quarter of the 41 advisers had been recruited from Conservative Central Office.