And this from The Times:
And this from The Times:
If you're not enraged by this there is something seriously wrong with you......Huge pay rise for Blair crony provokes fury
By Rosemary Bennett, Deputy Political Editor
Lord Irvine gets £22,000 extra but soldiers gain only £500
PUBLIC sector workers erupted with fury last night after the Lord Chancellor was given a £22,000-a-year pay rise while troops preparing for war received less than £500.
Lord Irvine of Lairg, who lives rent-free in a 15-room grace-and-favour apartment in Westminster and has a £2 million pension deal, was awarded a 12.6 per cent increase that takes his salary to £202,736.
This was in contrast to the 3.2 per cent increase for the Armed Forces that will lift the pay of the most junior private from £12,578 to £13,045. Only 80,000 of the lowest-paid privates and lance corporals and their equivalents in the other two Services will do better with 3.7 per cent.
Thousands of soldiers preparing to leave Germany for war were also shocked to discover that they are to lose part of their special overseas allowance while they are engaged in combat.
Gulf War veterans described the pay rise as derisory and criticised the decision to cut the overseas allowance. There are also fears that morale will be badly damaged, especially among lower ranks who had leave cancelled so that they could cover for better-paid striking firemen. James Moore, treasurer of the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association, said: An extra £9 a week is derisory when you think that firemen have been going on strike for a 40 per cent rise and their jobs have had to be filled in by soldiers.
Downing Street described the awards as firm but fair, while Gordon Brown said that it was essential to keep a lid on public sector pay to prevent inflation taking off.
The Conservatives called Lord Irvines pay rise outrageous and accused the Government of double standards. There is clearly one rule for hard-working public servants and another for new Labour cronies, Michael Howard, the Shadow Chancellor, said. Some private soldiers on the way to the Gulf have been told they will receive less than an extra £500 a year. Yet Derry Irvine gets a whopping £22,000-a-year increase. The need to tighten belts has clearly not been extended to the Lord Chancellor.
The Lord Chancellor, former pupil-master to Tony and Cherie Blair, regularly embarrasses the Government with his expensive taste and high living. He first hit the headlines with the £300-a-roll wallpaper he used to redecorate his apartment. Then last December, it emerged he would receive a pension of £90,000 a year plus a lump sum of £180,000 when he stands down just as the Government was telling middle-income families they would have to work beyond 65 to stand any chance of a comfortable retirement. After yesterdays pay rise, Lord Irvines pension goes up to £101,000 year.
Defending the latest increase, a Downing Street spokesman said that it was the result of a formula drawn up by the last Conservative Government, which lays down that the Lord Chancellors salary must be £2,500 higher than that of the Lord Chief Justice.
Since the Lord Chief Justice himself received an extra £10,000 on top of the general 4.4 per cent rise for judges to put him on a par with the Cabinet Secretary as required by another formula Lord Irvine was a double beneficiary.