New chair of child sexual abuse inquiry to earn £185,000 a year

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The new chairwoman of the national inquiry into child sexual abuse will earn £185,000 a year.

Professor Alexis Jay, who was named as the fourth head of the probe last month after Dame Lowell Goddard resigned, will also be given a London accommodation allowance of £35,000.

Prof Jay's salary is substantially lower than that given to her predecessor, who was paid £355,000 in the last financial year.

Releasing details of the new chair's remuneration package, the inquiry said: "Professor Jay specifically requested this salary and furthermore did not require the use of a car and driver as provided to the previous Chair."

The inquiry also published its financial report for 2015/16, including details of spending amounting to more than half a million pounds in relation to Dame Lowell's terms.

This included £355,000 in annual salary and £119,000 on rental and utilities allowance

The inquiry incurred costs of £67,319 during the last financial year on travel included in the New Zealand high court judge's terms of appointment. 

"This included travel to and from New Zealand for her and her family," the report said.

Dame Lowell's terms stated that the Home Office would cover the cost of four return flights from the UK to New Zealand per year for her and her husband and a further two return flights from New Zealand to the UK for other immediate family members.

Reports emerged shortly before her resignation was announced that Dame Lowell had spent more than 70 days working abroad or on holiday during her time in charge.

At the time the inquiry said she had spent 44 days in New Zealand and Australia on inquiry business and was entitled to 30 days of annual leave.

Meanwhile, the financial report also showed that the inquiry spent £14.7 million out of a £17.9 million budget in 2015/16, with the unspent funds returned to the Home Office.

Earlier this month Prof Jay defended the inquiry and insisted it will not be scaled back.

It came after Dame Lowell said there was an "inherent problem" in its "sheer scale and size" and called for a "complete review".

The sweeping probe has been described as the most ambitious public inquiry ever in England and Wales. It was earmarked to take five years, but there have been suggestions it could run for as long as a decade.