“only 21 ministers can receive salaries”

In the Irish Times, Gerry Moriarty helpfully explains the circumstances [subs req] in which our new Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward, will not be in receipt of his ministerial salary.. as noted yesterday.

Mr Woodward is forgoing his ministerial salary because the new British prime minister Gordon Brown has 22 ministers in his government and according to cabinet rules only 21 ministers can receive salaries.

He will hold on to his MP’s salary of £60,000 (€89,000) but must forgo £76,000 per annum. Multi-millionaire Mr Woodward, married to the Sainbsury supermarket heiress Camilla Sainsbury, with family residences also in the Hamptons in New York and on the Caribbean island of Mustique, should manage to endure this hardship.

[Do you think that was taken into consideration when his name came up? – Ed] Update A slight corrective. Malcolm points out in the comments zone that the Ministerial and other Salaries Act of 1975, although it doesn’t seem to be available online, restricts the number of paid Cabinet positions to 22 – that appears to be confirmed on Wikipedia’s UK Cabinet page. The issue is still applicable however, as the actual UK Cabinet page notes – “The present cabinet has 23 members (21 MPs and two peers), but a further three ministers attend the meetings, two peers and one MP.” Although it’s worth noting that on Ruth Kelly’s website[scroll down] the phrasing used is – “There is no limit on the size of the Cabinet but the number of salaried Secretaries of State is limited to 21 by the Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975. ” And Finally, that would fit with an analysis where only 21 Cabinet Ministers could be paid.. not counting the Prime Minister Updated The relevant Schedule of the Act and the salary, for a Secretary of State, appears to be £77,963. [Thanks to Mishinish]


  • middle-class taig

    do ministers really get £76k ON TOP of £60k?

    what do our lot get?

  • joeCanuck

    I didn’t know there was such a limit.
    I guess it makes sense though to prevent an unscrupulous government from enriching all their MPs.
    Maybe in Woodward’s case there is some sort of “back of beyond” allowance from colonial days which will allow him to “top up”.

  • inuit

    Oh I think our lot are quite well looked after especially the ones who are multijobbing – i.e. minister plus councillor plus assemblyman plus mp…

    They dont get the sum total of all those salaries but it still amounts to a very tidy sum indeed. I think one of the local rags did a feature on it back when the govt was being set up…

    We could do just about fine with half the ministers and half the MLAs – yes it would cut the gravy train in half but don’t forget that now that we have devolution its the likes of you and me who are paying for the gravy!

  • Cruimh

    If Gerry and Martin can manage on £350 pw….

  • McGrath

    Did he get the job because he was the only one who could afford it?

  • BOM

    If Gerry and Martin can manage on £350 per week???

    Dont make me laugh!!

    Sure if they take home £350 per week then they arent doing too badly anyway are they?

    Does anyone know what SF Councillors give out of their salaries now that they get the £9,500?

    For any of them who work full time as well – they are receiving a tidy enough sum per month – plus mileage.

  • Cruimh

    “Dont make me laugh!!”

    It was meant to make you smile 😉

    I was wondering about the tax thing – I presume Shinners pay full tax on their salary – if they choose to donate most of it to the party afterwards it’s their business.

  • Aw, come on!

    [1] Check it out. The number of paid Cabinet Ministers is limited to 22 by the Ministerial and other Salaries Act of 1975.

    [2] Let’s admit that being Sec for State for NI is not — exactly — the most important job in the Administration.

    [3] On the other hand, if the job is excluded from the Cabinet, all Norn Ironers scream blue murder.

    [4] It’s not exactly a job that too many ambitious Labour MPs are fighting for.

    [5] In addition, it’s a gesture to Gordon Brown’s claim to be all-inclusive.

    [6] If Woodward doesn’t know which knife and fork to use, his butler will help him. Great for wining and dining all those would-be investors.

    [7] Short of a Waitrose, a Sainsbury’s (i.e. Mrs Woodward) would do marvels for the province’s dinner parties.

    All in all, a fine appointment.

  • Pete Baker

    Presumably, Malcolm, the difference – between “21 ministers” and the number in the Act – relates to the inclusion of the Prime Minister in the figure of 22.

  • Pete Baker @ 10:34 PM:

    Probably so. Quite frankly, I hadn’t done that count. All I was doing was reporting the facts, only the facts, ma’am. Anyway, I thought your original post covered the basics quite nicely.

    And what about the rest of my points? I mean, don’t you think the divine Shaun and his Lady will grace the Imperial apartments soooo nicely [especially since he’ll have bugger all to do, except grease the wheels]? And won’t the other Tory gentry, whom Shaun deserted so tragically, grind their molars in grief?

  • Pete Baker

    2 – sure.

    3 and 4 – probably correct.

    5 – Woodward’s a paid up member of the Labour Party.. his past is gone.

    6 and 7 – well, it’s easy to laugh at those attributes.. but they’re irrelevant.

    “a fine appointment”?

    See update

  • Pete Baker @ 10:56 PM

    [5] Apologies. It’s supposed to take at least three generations to pronounce “girl” as “gel” sufficiently well to convince them what know. Similarly, those of us who’ve been round the block feel our Shaun’s socialist cred is, well — , a bit dubious.

    [6] and [7]: I’ll take your word for it. Don’t smooze much in those circles myself, just trying to be helpful. Merely wondering what else the job involves.

    And as for “A fine appointment”, well, sorry for the Dublin-learned sense of irony.

  • Mishinish

    The text of the can be found here – http://preview.tinyurl.com/3ba8qg

  • Mishinish

    Sorry – the text of the Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975 can be found here – http://preview.tinyurl.com/3ba8qg