Senior civil servants given pay rises of up to 30 per cent during Covid crisis
Six of the top nine officials who were in post over the past two years received pay rises in 2020.
Treasury civil servants were given pay increases of up to 30 per cent and £15,000 bonuses in the middle of the Covid crisis, at the same time as rows raged over police and nurses' pay and the Chancellor insisted there was no more money for more public sector workers.
The department's accounts show that six of the top nine officials who were in post over the past two years received pay rises last year, while five received a bonus.
The Telegraph reports that Rishi Sunak's chief economist, Clare Lombardelli, received an increase of at least £30,000, which took her salary to around £150,000. Meanwhile, the top two officials in the Treasury both received bonuses of £15,000 and £20,000 on top of their salary, along with the Treasury's head of tax and welfare Beth Russell.
Tory MPs have labelled the pay increases as "totally unacceptable" in a year in which the majority of the country has struggled and public sector pay was frozen.
At the Budget earlier this year, Sunak announced a pay freeze for police officers and teachers. NHS nurses and paramedics will be receiving a 3% increase but unions have described this as being nowhere near what's needed.
In March the Chancellor said: "Given the very obviously difficult fiscal situation that we face [...] to try to protect those public sector jobs, it was reasonable to take a more targeted approach to public sector pay this year."
But it turns out that officials around him in his own department were pocketing pay increases and bonuses of up to 9% of their salaries.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith described the pay increases as "bizarre," saying: "I would have thought that they would show a bit of sympathy and that even if you were to pay them bonuses, they weren't paid until everyone was back to work properly.
"I am surprised at the lack of judgment. Everyone had a tough time last year, and I just find it bizarre that anyone would be paid a pay rise at that time. I think it's very poor timing and we should use a bit of political nous on this one."
Meanwhile, Tory MP Andrew Percy said: ""If pay had to be frozen for a front line police officer, then it absolutely should be frozen for senior civil servants too. It's completely unacceptable. These people should be following the lead of MPs and ministers and others in the public sector who are taking a pay freeze this year."