£700 A DAY – is this the best paid PR job in Yorkshire?

A spin doctor has been employed by Sheffield City Region – at a cost of £700 PER DAY.

By Lucy Ashton
Tuesday, 21 May, 2019, 10:51
Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis chairs a combined authority meeting

A new interim head of communications at the South Yorkshire combined authority is earning in one day almost double the weekly average wage in Doncaster.

The day rate is equivalent to £182,000 a year – some £32,000 more than the Prime Minister Theresa May, who earns £150,402.

It would be only slightly less than John Mothersole, Sheffield Council’s chief executive and best paid official, who earns £188,298.

Sheffield City Region (SCR) said it was “committed to ensuring best value for money” but Lord Paul Scriven said the organisation had lost all perspective with such a “lavish salary”.

The head of communications will report directly to SCR Mayor Dan Jarvis and managing director Dave Smith.

It means Mr Jarvis now has an adviser who earns more than he does, as there is currently no salary attached to the position of Mayor.

In a statement, SCR said: “We are committed to ensuring best value for money.

“Indeed, a recent survey found that the Sheffield City Region has the lowest staffing budget of all the combined authorities in the UK, despite serving a significantly larger population than regions such as the West of England, Tees Valley, and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

“But we also have a duty to best serve the people of the Sheffield City Region. Therefore, on occasion, it is necessary to recruit experts in the field to support the organisation.

“This is why we have recruited a head of communications, on an interim basis, to support our own staff in engaging with communities within our region and beyond.”

But Lord Scriven said it was “totally unacceptable”.

He said: “This is not some corporate, high-flying organisation, this is taxpayers’ money being spent on a lavish salary for a temporary person.

“Some people who pay their taxes are going out to work in low-paid jobs every day and they don’t expect then to fund some highly-paid spin doctor whose only role is to be a PR consultant for a public body.

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“It is totally unacceptable and shows Sheffield City Region is out of touch with ordinary people in South Yorkshire. There is no way they can justify this salary. This organisation has lost all perspective of who it’s there to serve.”

The average weekly wage in Barnsley is £453 and just £447 in Doncaster, according to Centre for Cities data.

Average salaries in numbers

MP – £79,468

Headteacher – £52,657

GP – £50,929

Solicitor – £35,837

Town Planner – £27,702

Staff nurse – £23,707

Coffee shop manager – £8.55 per hour

Factory worker – £7.92 per hour

*Data from PayScale