It seems our new health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has been moonlighting – and in a very lucrative way – pocketing £366,000 from his Hotcourses publishing firm, and a further £3,000 for lessons in Mandarin Chinese.
That’s more than 12 times the salary of the average nurse, at a time when millions of healthcare professionals are seeing their pay cut in real terms.
Let me make myself clear: I’m not opposed to people having secondary or tertiary streams of income. In these straitened times, I think many people need the extra money just to make ends meet.
Jeremy Hunt does not fall into that category.
He is now a senior government minister, who takes home an extremely large taxpayer-funded salary for that job. Anyone in his position should be devoting all of their working time to public service, and none of it to their own personal concerns.
Hotcourses tells us that Mr Hunt’s earnings with it are entirely from shares and from taking back and then renting out a building previously owned by the company. In other words, for no work at all.
I don’t care. This is still business that must take his attention away from the Department of Health. He should have left it behind.
It is obscene that a Cabinet minister is banking so much money when the people his department employs – people who work long hours under extremely difficult conditions – are taking a real-terms pay cut.
And it illustrates the contrast between pay for the highest-earning in society and the lowest. Recently we all learned that, if the minimum wage had increased in line with that of company directors, it would be nearly £19 by now.
I wonder how much a nurse’s pay would have increased, if it had been allowed to do so at the same rate?