The Spectator

Which ministers have complained publicly about their own poverty?

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On their uppers

The former science minister George Freeman claimed that he resigned from the government last year because he couldn’t afford his mortgage repayments – which had risen from £800 to £2,000 a month – on his ministerial salary of £118,000.

– There is a precedent for a minister complaining publicly about his own poverty. In September 1985 the arts minister Grey Gowrie (who was a member of the cabinet under the auspices of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster) resigned from the job complaining that his £33,000 salary was ‘not what people need for living in central London’. He was subsequently appointed chairman of Sotheby’s on a salary reputed to be £150,000. As a member of the House of Lords, however, he did not have an MP’s salary to fall back on.

Paris blockade

French farmers blockaded motorways and threatened to starve Paris into submission. How much do French farmers receive in subsidy under the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)? Share of the total of €54.7bn paid out in 2020:

France €9.45bn

Germany €6.28bn

Italy €5.78bn

Poland €4.62bn

Romania €3.12bn

Greece €2.74bn

Hungary €1.79bn

European Commission

Greatly indebted

A Hong Kong court ordered the Chinese property developer Evergrande to liquidate itself, the company having built up $328bn of debt. What are the world’s other most indebted companies?

Toyota $217bn

Volkswagen $166bn

Verizon Communications $151bn

Deutsche Bank $150bn

Ford $139bn

Softbank $138bn

AT&T $136bn

Fuel for thought

The government has been attacked for granting licences for new oil and gas, but has fossil fuel production in Britain risen or fallen since Rishi Sunak made his announcement? Production in third quarter of 2023 compared with a year earlier

Coal +8%

Primary oil -10%

Oil products (from refineries) -4%

Gas -13%

Electricity +5.4%

Dept for Energy Security and Climate Change

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