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UK Politics

Whitehall sees 50 per cent rise in spin doctors under Coalition


The number of spin doctors in Whitehall has risen by more than 50 per cent since the Coalition Government was formed three years ago, it has been revealed.

Ministers can now call on 97 special advisers - a record total - who earn more than £7m between them.

The figures, which contradict David Cameron's promise in opposition to cut numbers, were released by the Cabinet Office without any warning.

Mr Cameron is helped by 23 advisers, including Craig Oliver, his director of communications, and Ed Llewelyn, his chief of staff, who are each on a salary of £140,000.

The Liberal Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has 19 special advisers. The highest-paid is his director of strategy, Ryan Coetzee, who receives a salary of £110,000.

The Coalition's first list of spin doctors contained 63 names and the total had grown to 85 by October 2012.

Phil Wilson, the Labour MP for Sedgefield, said: “David Cameron's promise to put a limit on Special Advisers is in tatters, with both the number and the cost reaching a record high.

”While he tells the rest of the country to accept cuts, he is happy to spend more and more on his own spin doctors. It is more evidence of how out of touch he is that he thinks the rules don't apply to him.“

The figures showed the pay bill for advisers in 2012-13 was £7.2m, an increase of £1m over the previous 12 months.