On a number of occasions I have written here about comments by members of this Government regarding the pay packages of senior workers in charities. All too often they focus their ire on those earning sums in excess of £100,000 working for charities that operate delivering overseas aid. Another touchstone is the sum earned by the Prime Minister which is seen to be a level beyond which it is reasonable to go. The Prime Minister currently earns £150,000 although the benefit of her grace and favour residences must add quite a bit to that if equated to income. Most people will never earn as much as an MP, let alone a Cabinet Minister or the Prime Minister. This concern must not be a matter of envy, however it is perfectly appropriate for our legislators to be alert to the way in which public funds including the tax relief given to charities is used. If they are alert to this then they should focus on all charities not just they have a bias against. If they are unfairly focusing on certain types of charities then we need to not only challenge them, but question their motives. Priti Patel is the Minister for Foreign Aid and she has spoken out on many occasions about what she considers to be such abuses, she has done so since before she was a member of the Cabinet.
In the light of this it seems concerning that the news contained in this link appears to have gone into the public domain nearly a fortnight ago without a murmur from anyone in the House of Commons or Lords. A quick search of Hansard reveals no reference to comments made about the Nuffield Trust that in any way relate to the pay of their senior staff going back over many years. The idea that a CEO of a charity would have earned a staggering £1.2m in one year, albeit not all in annual salary is shocking. Although David Mobbs who left the Trust at the end of 2015 having earned £1.2m was succeeded by Steve Gray on a much lower base salary, that much lower sum was £400,000 but that is before any bonuses or other emoluments were added to his package. Is it possible that we could have some form of level playing field or consistency on this matter. After all it was only a few weeks ago that Priti Patel and Pauline Latham MP were criticising charities that paid a senior member of staff sums such as £267,000 and £500,000. These are very high salaries indeed but in both cases the charities paid these sums to either an ex labour MP or the wife of a Labour MP.
If Conservative MPs have a view regarding what is appropriate for charities to pay their staff, this needs to be applied to all charities and not just those who are run by people connected to the Labour Party, or which operate in certain areas. Equally any bias in favour of healthcare charities such as Nuffield by Conservatives must also be challenged.