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Crawley MP Henry Smith defends pay rise for his wife
A Sussex MP gave his wife a pay rise last year.
Henry Smith, MP for Crawley, is one of 28 MPs revealed to have given their employee relatives a pay rise in 2012 to 2013.
Mr Smith’s wife Jennifer Millar- Smith left her housing post at Crawley Borough Council in 2010 to become his full-time secretary and, according to parliamentary figures, is paid between £20,000 to £25,000 a year.
The previous year’s figures showed she was paid £15,000 to £19,999 a year.
But Mr Smith has defended the pay rise, citing Mrs Smith’s increased workload as a reason for the increase.
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He said: “The data is published in blocks of £5,000, so £15,000 to £19,999 and then £20,000 to £25,000 and so on.
“She earns £20,400 a year, so she’s just fallen into the £25,000 pay bracket. She’s had a pay increase of around £600 – purely because she has increased her hours.
“It’s up to individuals to judge whether they feel people who are related to MPs should be employed by them. Many companies employ people who are relatives and who work together.
“Jennifer’s experience is that she was a manger of cancer services in the NHS and worked at Crawley Borough Council too. She knows the public sector very well and is organised.”
Mr Smith joins a list populated by Westminster colleagues, including Nadine Dorris MP, who gave her daughter Phillipa a pay rise of at least £15,000 a year while she worked for her as her senior secretary.
Mr Smith added: “My wife works many more hours than she’s contracted to, including weekends and well into the evenings as well.
“I’d make an argument that if I employed someone on the hours she worked unpaid, the taxpayer would be spending a lot more on wages.”
MatthewSinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said MPs should carefully account for any payments to relatives working for them.
He added: “What are they being paid?What are they doing? Howmany hours are they working?”
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