The Government has been accused of not taking steps to tackle the gender pay gap after it emerged the new male Director of Communications is paid £15,000 more than his female predecessor.
Katie Perrior was paid £125,000, while her replacement Robbie Gibb is being paid £140,000, according to a Cabinet Office list of salaries for special advisers and other senior government staff.
Ms Perrior quit her job when the snap election was called, she then launched a number of sustained attacks on Theresa May’s former chiefs of staff Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill, calling them “rude, abusive and childish”.
The other two people to hold the position of Director of Communications since 2010, Andy Coulson and Craig Oliver, were also paid £140,000, earlier records of pay for political appointees show.
Andy Coulson took the job after David Cameron became prime minister, but quit in 2011 when he became embroiled in the legal fallout of phone-hacking cases at the News of the World, which he had previously edited.
For the rest of Cameron’s time in No 10, the role, which is primarily strategic and involves less day-to-day contact with reporters, was held by another former BBC employee, Craig Oliver.
In October, May launched a fresh push to tackle the gender pay gap, saying more companies should publish details of the differentials in pay between male and female staff, including smaller businesses.
May also obliged the BBC to reveal the salaries of top earners, which showed significant discrepancies between male and female employees.
Sophie Walker, the leader of the Women’s Equality party, said the lower pay awarded to Perrior for doing the same job was “proof that the government is not serious about tackling the gender pay gap and the imbalance of power between men and women”.
“You couldn’t make it up. Having pressed the BBC to publish its own pay gap, Theresa May has now imported that inequality into Downing Street,”
“The prioritisation of men at the cost of women is mirrored in the prime minister’s ongoing support for Damian Green, who continues to be at her right hand despite being investigated for sexual harassment.
“Companies told that they must publish their own pay gap before April will be looking at the government today and think ‘why bother?’”
“We strive to set pay at appropriate levels and it is based on a range of factors, including the recipients’ previous salary.”
Across all current political appointees, women were paid on average 1.6% more than men overall, he said.