After Boris was elected as leader of his party by 93,000 party members and appointed Prime Minister by the Queen two weeks ago, he began the process of putting together a Cabinet to run our nation. However he also had to end his role as a Daily Telegraph, weekly columnist which paid him £275,000 a year or £5,300 per column. One of the MPs who he appointed to a very senior role, Priti Patel was also obliged to give up a very well paid side role as she was previously earning £1,000 per hour, working for an organisation seeking to win contracts with the Ministry of Defence. The two of them have failed to submit these matters for approval in the way most ex-Ministers are supposed to do so and indeed Priti failed to submit her request at all but perhaps such matters are relatively minor as both Boris and Priti have paid a high personal price to serve our nation as PM and Home Secretary. Nevertheless according to the Government website “The basic annual salary for an MP from 1 April 2019 is £79,468. MPs also receive expenses to cover the costs of running an office, employing staff, having somewhere to live in London or their constituency, and travelling between Parliament and their constituency.” The payments for the Prime Minister is £149,440 and for Cabinet Ministers £141,505 according to the Daily Mail.
So in the context of such a set of arrangements the demand above expressed by Priti Patel may not seem so concerning. However the rest of society includes many businesses and organisations for whom £36,000 a year or around £17 an hour is more than any or most of their workers earn. Indeed some businesses are paying around half of that sum to most of their staff as it is the minimum wage. One of the arguments by eurosceptics is that immigrants should not come into our nation and drive down wages. However the reverse logic applied to the majority of people that immigrants will earn twice as much as most people will also raise concerns. The big challenge is how will the existing workers from many nations be able to remain in our nation and continue to work in many of our vital settings if they are being recruited for roles that earn less than £36,000 a year. It seems inevitable that this will be a poor decision if it is adopted as we will be left without the provision for workers from abroad to fill our gaps. Just last week I was rung by the Government to ask how many overseas workers we have appointed or we need to recruit. We are not a company that does this, but many of our public sector agencies spend millions of pounds attracting workers from other nations to fill the gaps left by our lack of internal skills and trained people. Most of these recruited positions are lower down the income steps than £36,000.