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Sadiq Khan awards himself virtual pay rise after taking 10% cut

·3-min read
Sadiq Khan (PA)
Sadiq Khan (PA)

Sadiq Khan has given himself a virtual “pay rise” after winning a second term of office, the Standard can reveal.

The Mayor has decided to accept his full salary of £152,734 after voluntarily taking a 10 per cent cut last June in recognition of the impact the pandemic was having on the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) finances.

A mayoral spokesman confirmed Mr Khan, 50, had chosen to revert back to his full pay entitlement after being re-elected on May 6 for a further three years.

His decision not to draw his full salary for 11 months will have saved the GLA about £14,000.

Mr Khan’s spokesman said: “The Mayor has always prioritised protecting frontline services during this pandemic and in June 2020 he volunteered to take a temporary 10 per cent salary cut for an initial six months after it became clear that the Greater London Authority would need to make significant savings.

“The Mayor also froze the pay of his mayoral appointees during this period.”

Mr Khan is due to attend the England v Scotland game at Wembley tonight but has faced criticism after initially encouraging Scottish fans to travel to London – then changing his advice and urging them “not to travel” without a match ticket.

Mr Khan told Sky Sports last month: “We don’t want Scotland fans coming here without a ticket expecting to watch the game in the stadium, but we do want Scottish people to come to London to enjoy the great things about our city.... do come to London, because I’m keen to encourage people from across the country to enjoy our great city.”

On June 10, Met police deputy commissioner Sir Stephen House raised concerns about 20,000 members of the Tartan Army heading south in an appearance before the London Assembly.

City Hall says Covid restrictions have prevented it laying on giant screens for ticketless Scotland fans.

Emma Best, GLA Conservatives health spokesman, said Mr Khan was guilty of “mixed messages”.

She said: “By failing to provide the Tartan Army with somewhere safe to go, Khan has created the exact problem we wanted to avoid and risks accelerating the virus in London.”

At least 17 members of Mr Khan’s top team at City Hall earn more than £100,000, including all 10 deputy mayors – the majority of whom earn £132,664 – and his new deputy chief of staff Richard Watts, the former Labour leader of Islington council, who has been given a £136,326 salary.

Mr Khan, who was re-elected after receiving more than 1.2m votes, decided to take the pay cut at a time he said the GLA was facing cuts and savings of £493m over two years, largely due to an anticipated fall in business rates income and fewer Londoners being able to pay their council tax bills.

The scale of the savings has now been recalculated to be about £186m this year, with a similar amount needed next year.

Susan Hall, leader of the GLA Conservatives, said: “When so many Londoners are out of work and worried about their livelihoods, the Mayor’s secretive post-election pay rise will come as a slap in the face. By abandoning his pledge to cut his salary by 10 per cent, Khan’s in effect giving himself a £15,300 pay rise.

“Let’s not forget that Sadiq Khan hiked his share of Londoners’ council tax bill by 9.5 per cent because of the pandemic costs.”

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