Energy minister disputes Jeremy Hunt’s £100K is ‘not a huge salary’ comments

“I think £100,000 is a very good salary.”

The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt sparked criticism for comments he made on social media last week that £100,000 salaries don’t “go as far as you might think.”

In the post, Hunt had said: “I spoke to a lady from Godalming about eligibility for the government’s childcare offer which is not available if one parent is earning over £100k. That is an issue I would really like to sort out after the next election as I am aware that it is not [a] huge salary in our area if you have a mortgage to pay.”

Doubling down on his comments, the Chancellor, who is also MP for Godalming, said that the average cost of property in his constituency is over £670,000 and “if you’ve got a mortgage and you’ve got childcare costs, It doesn’t go as far as you think.”

With £100,000 being almost three times the national average salary in Britain, which is £34,963, the remarks drew a barrage of criticism.

Shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth said that the comments once again reveal how “desperately out of touch the Tories are with working people.”

“The overwhelming majority of working people in this country would dream of earning that, yet they are all being made to pay the price of 14 years of Tory failure.

“It is staggering for the Chancellor to complain about mortgage costs when it was the Conservatives who crashed the economy with their kamikaze budget and sent mortgage costs through the roof.”

Paul Follows, Surrey county councillor, who is set to stand as the Liberal Democrat candidate against Hunt in the Godalming and Ash seat at the general election, said:

“Perhaps this is the case when you are a multi-millionaire who can funnel £100,000-plus into his own campaign without breaking a sweat – but it’s a great deal more than the national or local average and a massive indicator as to why the cost-of-living crisis impacting residents across the country seems to have missed him totally.”

Today – March 25 – energy minister Andrew Bowie admitted to disagreeing with Hunt’s view that the six-figure salary is not a huge amount. In an interview with Sky News, Bowie was asked about train drivers potentially being paid almost £100,000 after a deal was agreed to end a long-running dispute at one of the biggest rail franchises. When Kay Burley asked the Tory MP about Hunt not thinking £100K is a big salary, he answered:

“I think £100,000 is a very good salary.”

When later pressed about the Chancellor’s comments, the energy minister confirmed:

“I think it’s a very good wage and what we need to see now is these drivers accept that and get back to work so people can get on with their daily lives.”

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

Image credit: Twitter screen grab

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