Spad numbers on the rise

The number of special advisers in government has increased from 93 to 103, according to the Cabinet Office

By Sarah.Aston

19 Dec 2014

The number of special advisers in government has risen by over 10% in the last year, the Cabinet Office has revealed. 

New figures, which were released by the Cabinet Office yesterday, show an increase in spad numbers from 93 to 103. Perhaps unsurprisingly, David Cameron has the most spads with 26, while Nick Clegg has 20.

The statistics also show that the wage bill for the advisers has risen by £1.2m to £8.4m.

Labour has said the figures show the government has failed to deliver on its pledge to introduce a cap on spad numbers, which was included in the 2010 Coalition Agreement.

Shadow leader of the House Angela Eagle said: “David Cameron promised to get the cost of politics down but under him the number of special advisers spirals ever upwards – the public are now picking up a bill of over £8m to pay for his appointees.”

Earlier this month, however, former spads Giles Wilkes and Nick Hillman argued that there are not enough special advisers in government

Speaking at an IfG event, Giles Wilkes said: "There need to be fewer ministers and more special advisers, in my view.”  

The Cabinet Office told CSW that the increase in spad numbers is the result of coalition working and the "24/7 demands placed on ministers​". 

A spokesperson said: As part of this government's long term economic plan we are making efficiencies from the civil service which is now 21% smaller than it was at the time of the 2010 general election. Workforce reductions and pension reforms saved £4.7bn last year, compared to a 2009/10 baseline," a Cabinet Office spokesperson said. 

He added: "Special advisers perform an important function and their average salary cost is 8% lower now than under the previous government.”


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