Cameron hiked political friends’ pay 25%... while public servants scraped by on 1% rise

David Cameron © Toby Melville
Former prime minister David Cameron offered inexplicable pay rises to his special advisers mere months before they were given post-Brexit ‘golden handshakes.’

According to figures from Civil Service World, Cameron lifted seven of his staff’s incomes by as much as £18,000 (US$23,600) – a 24 percent rise.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said the ex-PM should be “ashamed” of hiking the pay of his workers, also known as ‘Spads,’ when public sector pay increases have been capped at 1 percent.

“Cameron talked a lot about cutting the cost of politics over the last few years. This shows how utter empty this rhetoric was,” Farron told the press.

“This is triple whammy – honors to cronies and a whacking great pay rise and then a bumped up severance package. Compare this massive rise in a select few’s pay to a 1 percent pay rise given to nurses, teachers and public sector workers and the 2 percent average pay award across the private sector in 2015.

“This is frankly utterly shameless and the former PM should be ashamed.”

The newly exposed taxpayer bill comes barely a month since it emerged Cameron had willingly ignored a senior civil servant’s advice and waved his special advisers goodbye with a £282,000 severance package after his resignation.

Special adviser to Number 10 Adam Atashzai was one of Cameron’s staffers brought back into service after the 2015 election. Alongside his enhanced redundancy pay, Atashzai saw his salary grow from under £58,200 in 2014 to £72,000 in 2015.

Atashzai was also among Cameron’s resignation honors list and was awarded an MBE for his services. Fellow awardees Laura Trott, Nick Seddon, Martha Varney and Kate Shouesmith were also among the spads and speechwriters handed a pay boost.

Former director of strategy Ameet Gill and former head of operations at Downing Street Liz Sugg reportedly received a 23 percent pay rise each, with their paychecks swelling from £80,000 to £98,000 between 2014 and 2015. Sugg was also honored with a life peerage when her boss left Number 10.

“It would seem hypocrisy knows no bounds from a prime minister who preached pay restraint and austerity to public servants and the public, whilst at the same time awarding double-digit pay rises to his special advisers,” said senior civil servants union FDA general secretary Dave Penman.

His Public and Commercial Services Union colleague Mark Serwotka said decent pay rises should apply to all civil servants, not just “to [Cameron’s] close circle of political friends.”

A Downing Street spokesman said decisions were made “by the previous regime” and that Prime Minister Theresa May had no further comment to make on them.

But the one-time premier was not spared by Labour deputy leader Tom Watson, who accused Cameron of “cronyism” and “insulting” the civil workforce enduring pay freezes under his premiership.

“It’s uber-cronyism, it’s totally unacceptable and Theresa May should claw the money back,” he said.