Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Wages of Spin Must be Slashed

In 1997 John Major's government employed 38 Special Advisors at a cost of £1.8 million (average salary £38,000). In 2006 Tony Blair's administration employs 84 SPADs at a cost of £5.8 million - an average salary of £69,000. Who said inflation had disappeared under Labour? I trust it will remain a Conservative commitment to slash their numbers to 1997 levels.

10 comments:

harry Basset said...

Even worse than the expense is the direct political clout these advisers have. They are unelected and should not be able to give orders to civil servants.

Slim Jim said...

What about all the billions that have been spent on private consultants employed to look at ways of saving money? I've got some free advice for HMG - stop using them and you'll save loads...

David Boothroyd said...

Even with 84 special advisers, the UK has a tiny number of political appointments heading the government compared to almost any other country you care to mention. In the USA there isn't even the same concept of a neutral civil service that we have had since Northcote-Trevelyan.

The idea that millions of civil servants are quaking in their boots corraled by 84 special advisers only has to be stated to be shown to be ludicrous.

Anonymous said...

Conservatives slash?

You must be taking the p@@@!

pmd said...

I always understood that the SpAds included some political spinners, but also a high number of people appointed for the expertise in the ministerial portfolio in question. These are not political positions. Anyone have any idea how many of these there are?

Iain Dale said...

pmd, you're right that there are a few, but that was the same under the Major Government too.

Anonymous said...

As a civil servant, I have no problem with the number of spads (normally two per cabinet minister). They allow us to keep our hands clean: we do the impartial policy work, and if there's any political spin that Ministers want applied, the spads can take care of it. I've generally found that the higher up the civil service you look, the more the role of the spads is accepted and appreciated.

strapworld said...

Iain, No doubt when funding of political parties is paid for out of general taxation, the same will apply to 'advisers' after all we will have to ensure equality of the two and a half three main parties!

But please enlighten me how they will exclude the BNP and the Green Party from receiving funding please.

Will ALL parties have the same 'war chest' for elections? Or will the party closest to Rupert Murdoch always win? Twas the SUN that did it!

C4' said...

I would not get your hopes up that Cameron will slash the number of special advisers consider how Cameron is so very keen to continue his retro-Blair tribute act.

Anonymous said...

The best solution would be to have a supply of SPADs who knew enough about the real world to make up for the narrow focus of the politicos themselves. That might improve policy development! Reverting to few SPADs simply risks returning to well intentioned but even more impractical policies being forced on us all.