This week, the government quietly slipped out the “severance” payments made to ministers who departed government after Theresa May took over as PM in July 2016. And while The Mirror and The Daily Mail reported George Osborne and Michael Gove’s windfalls, they missed out payments to 18 other Tory ministers and MPs.
Not what the mainstream media told you
When May became PM on 13 July 2016, she reshuffled many Cabinet positions. And numerous Tory ministers unceremoniously got the boot or quit. But now government departments have released their final accounts for 2016/17. And they reveal the full extent of the ‘golden handshakes’ Tory ministers and MPs were given by the PM.
George Osborne – £15-£20k [pdf p69].
Mark Harper – £5-£10k [pdf p 69].
Department of Justice
Michael Gove – £16,877 [pdf p55].
Dominic Raab – £5,594 [pdf p55].
Shailesh Vara – £5,594 [pdf p55].
Department for Education
Nicky Morgan – £16,877 [pdf p62].
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Anna Soubry – £7,920 [pdf p88/89 note 9].
Nick Boles – £7,920 [pdf p88/89, note 10].
George Freeman – £5,594 [pdf p88/89 note 17].
Department for Communities and Local Government
Unnamed minister – £5-10k [pdf p52].
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
John Whittingdale – £16,887 [pdf p110].
Ed Vaizey – £7,920 [pdf p110].
Department for Work and Pensions
Stephen Crabb – £16,877 [pdf p104].
Baroness Altmann – £19,723 [pdf p104].
Justin Tomlinson – £5,594 [pdf p104].
Department of Health
Alistair Burt – £7,920 [pdf p78].
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Hugo Swire – £7,920 [pdf p67].
James Duddridge – £5,594 [pdf p67].
Ministry of Defence
Julian Brazier – £5,594 [pdf p105].
Northern Ireland Office
Andrew Murrison – £5,594 [pdf p54].
The total paid out to specific ministers was around £200,000.
Eye-watering amounts of money
Separately, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) paid out [pdf p31] £2,079,000 in severance payments in 2016-17. DEFRA reported [pdf p23] severance payments of £2m. The Department for Transport (DfT) reported [pdf p119] severance payments of £1, 219,772, specifically related to HS2. The Home Office reported [pdf p69] £4,394,000 in “exit packages”. The Department for International Development reported [pdf p77] £458,000 in “exit” packages.
So, in total, May’s government paid out millions in severance in 2016/17.
In any other job, you may get redundancy money if you have to leave involuntarily. But the majority of these former government ministers kept their jobs as MPs. And Osborne, for example, now has six other jobs: Editor of The Evening Standard; six-figure speaking engagements; advising vulture capitalists Blackrock; a gig at thinktank the McCain Institute; chairing of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, and an Honorary Professor of Economics at the University of Manchester.
While the rest of us suffer because of years of crippling austerity, and other public sector workers are stuck with a 1% pay rise cap, May’s ‘golden handshakes’ once again show it really is one rule for the ruling class, and another for everyone else.