No 10 defends £45,000 pay rise for ‘most important’ adviser Dominic Cummings

Downing Street has defended Dominic Cummings' pay rise of around £45,000 as taking him to the "correct level of salary" for his role as a "most important" special adviser.

The salary raise to up to £144,999 provoked anger for rewarding an individual whose trip to Barnard Castle during the first lockdown has been cited as undermining public confidence in the Government.

Mr Cummings is in the process of leaving his role as Boris Johnson's chief adviser after a bitter public power struggle gripped Number 10.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves 10 Downing Street, London, with a box, following reports that he is set to leave his position by the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves 10 Downing Street, London, with a box, following reports that he is set to leave his position by the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves 10 Downing Street, London, with a box, following reports that he is set to leave his position by the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves 10 Downing Street, London, with a box, following reports that he is set to leave his position by the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves 10 Downing Street, London, with a box, following reports that he is set to leave his position by the end of the year.
Number 10 special advisor Dominic Cummings leaves his residence in London on November 13, 2020. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief adviser Dominic Cummings is set to leave his position by early 2021, as a power struggle at the heart of government became public this week. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Number 10 special advisor Dominic Cummings leaves his residence in London on November 13, 2020. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief adviser Dominic Cummings is set to leave his position by early 2021, as a power struggle at the heart of government became public this week. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves his home in north London following reports that he is set to leave his Downing Street position by the end of the year. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves his home in north London following reports that he is set to leave his Downing Street position by the end of the year. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves his home in north London following reports that he is set to leave his Downing Street position by the end of the year. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Number 10 special advisor Dominic Cummings leaves his residence in London on November 13, 2020. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief adviser Dominic Cummings is set to leave his position by early 2021, as a power struggle at the heart of government became public this week. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings arrives in Downing Street, London, following reports that he is set to leave his Downing Street position by the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves his home in north London following reports that he is set to leave his Downing Street position by the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings arrives in Downing Street, London, the morning after Lee Cain announced he is resigning as Downing Street's director of communications and will leave the post at the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves his home in north London the morning after the announcement that Lee Cain is resigning as Downing Street's director of communications and will leave the post at the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves his home in north London the morning after the announcement that Lee Cain is resigning as Downing Street's director of communications and will leave the post at the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves his home in north London for a second time the morning after the announcement that Lee Cain is resigning as Downing Street's director of communications and will leave the post at the end of the year.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's top aide Dominic Cummings leaves his home in north London following reports that he is set to leave his Downing Street position by the end of the year.
Number 10 special advisor Dominic Cummings (R) and government advisor Cleo Watson arrive in Downing street in London on November 13, 2020. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's chief adviser Dominic Cummings is set to leave his position by early 2021, as a power struggle at the heart of government became public this week. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP) (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Dominic Cummings is portrayed as a scheming villain by 'Spitting Image' puppet creators. (Avalon/BritBox)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 01: Senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings arrives in Downing Street ahead of a cabinet meeting on September 1, 2020 in London, England. MPs returned to Westminster today following the summer recess. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Dominic Cummings, the chief advisor to Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, chats to a police officer after moving his car in Downing Street, London, Wednesday, July 1, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 18: Dominic Cummings, adviser to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, leaves his London home on July 18, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Luke Dray/Getty Images)
Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts as he arrives at his house in London following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, May 25, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, makes a statement at 10 Downing Street, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, May 25, 2020. Jonathan Brady/Pool via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves his house in London, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), London, Britain, May 24, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Senior aide to the prime minister Dominic Cummings leaves following a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street, London.
Dominic Cummings, Chief Adviser to the Prime Minister, arrives in Downing Street, London.
Chief Adviser to the Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings, arrives in Downing Street, London.
Number 10 special advisor Dominic Cummings arrives at 10 Downing Street in central London on December 16, 2019. - Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed Saturday to repay the trust of former opposition voters who gave his Conservatives a mandate to take Britain out of the European Union next month. Johnson toured a leftist bastion once represented by former Labour leader Tony Blair in a bid to show his intent to unite the country after years of divisions over Brexit. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson's key adviser Dominic Cummings leaving his north London home following yesterday's Cabinet reshuffle. (Photo by David Mirzoeff/PA Images via Getty Images)
Dominic Cummings says cartoon superheroes PJ Masks could do better job than current cabinet
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his advisor Dominic Cummings, left, leave 10 Downing Street in London, and get in a car together to go to the Houses of Parliament, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says it's Parliament's fault, not his, that Britain will not be leaving the European Union as scheduled on Oct. 31. The EU has agreed to postpone Brexit until Jan. 31, 2020, after Johnson failed to get British lawmakers to ratify his divorce deal with the bloc in time to leave this week. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
Dominic Cummings, a senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, attends the book launch of Winning Against the Odds: My Life in Gambling and Politics by Stuart Wheeler at Carlton House Terrace, London.
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Dominic Cummings, a senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, attends the book launch of Winning Against the Odds: My Life in Gambling and Politics by Stuart Wheeler at Carlton House Terrace, London.
Senior political aide Dominic Cummings speaks to Stuart Wheeler, at his book launch for Winning Against the Odds: My Life in Gambling and Politics, at Carlton House Terrace, London.
Dominic Cummings, a senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, attends the book launch of Winning Against the Odds: My Life in Gambling and Politics by Stuart Wheeler at Carlton House Terrace, London.
Stuart Wheeler (left) with Dominic Cummings at the book launch of Winning Against the Odds: My Life in Gambling and Politics by Stuart Wheeler at Carlton House Terrace, London.
Pro remain campaigner Steve Bray interviews Dominic Cummings as he arrives at the Cabinet office in London,United Kingdom on 22nd August 2019. (photo by Claire Doherty/In Pictures via Getty Images)
Dominic Cummings arrives in Downing Street, London.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson with his senior aid Dominic Cummings as they leave Downing Street, central London.
Senior aide to the prime minister Dominic Cummings, in Downing Street in Westminster, London.
Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, leaves his home in London, Britain, September 2, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, leaves his home in London, Britain, September 2, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Dominic Cummings, special advisor for Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, leaves his home in London, Britain, August 20, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 7: Dominic Cummings, special advisor to Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives at 10 Downing Street on August 7, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Number 10 Chief of Staff Dominic Cummings arrives at Downing Street in central London on August 2, 2019. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP) (Photo credit should read TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)
EMBARGOED TO 2330 THURSDAY AUGUST 6 File photo dated 21/07/20 of senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Dominic Cummings, whose trip to Durham at the height of lockdown while suffering from Covid-19 drastically undermined public trust in the Government�s handling of the pandemic, according to new research.
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Labour said the "bumper bonus" was an insult to public sector workers receiving a pay freeze after a Cabinet Office report showed Mr Cummings was paid the equivalent of £140,000-£144,999, up from £95,000-£99,999 last year.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister's press secretary Allegra Stratton said: "It's the case that Dominic Cummings' revised salary reflected the fact that up until his departure he was one of if not the most important special adviser.

"And the new salary he received was in line with the salary chiefs of staff and people of that rank receive. It was not that his new salary took him over and above what you would expect for the kind of role he performed."

Lee Cain resigns
Lee Cain was paid the equivalent of £140,000-£144,999 last year (Victoria Jones/PA)

Ms Stratton, who earns between £125,000 and £129,999, added: "It's the correct level of salary for the role that Dominic Cummings performed."

The overall cost of special advisers, known in Westminster as Spads, was £9.6 million in the year up to April 2020, the same as in the previous period.

Former communications chief Lee Cain, who left Downing Street last month along with his Vote Leave ally Mr Cummings, was paid between £140,000 and £144,999, the same as the previous year.

Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner said: "Boris Johnson defended Dominic Cummings when he broke lockdown rules – then awarded him a £50,000 pay rise. Yet he's freezing pay for key workers and refusing to give our care workers a pay rise to the living wage.

"Cummings' bumper bonus is an insult to key workers denied the pay rise they deserve. It's another example of how under this Government, it is one rule for the Tory Party and their friends and another for the rest of us."

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