Liam Fox set for £17,207 pay off

It’s official. Liam Fox is set to receive a severance payout of £17,207 for quitting his post as Defence Secretary, and that hefty wedge is due to drop into his bank account on 30 November. That’s not idle speculation or even what I picked up after reading some newspaper report or other. It’s what a Ministry of Defence official personally confirmed to me yesterday.

I asked a Freedom of Information Act request about it only last Monday, and the answer appeared in my inbox only six working days after it was asked, which is record quick time in my experience. What I asked was:

I would like to know, please, if a severance payment has been or will be made to the outgoing Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, under the Ministerial and other Pensions and Salaries Act 1991. I believe this entitles him to a payment equal to a quarter of his ministerial salary. If a severance payment has been made or it has been confirmed that it will be made, please tell me how much was/will be paid, and on what date.

The answer that came back remarkably quickly read:

I can confirm that in accordance with the Ministerial and other Pensions and Salaries Act 1991, Dr Fox is entitled to a severance payment of £17,207, equivalent to one quarter of his annual ministerial salary and which is payable on 30 November 2011.

That, by my calculation, is what a person working full-time on the National Minimum Wage would earn in over 18 months, and he gets it for resigning in the wake of a scandal.

Given that he returns to the backbenches, continuing to draw an MP’s salary of £65,738, one wonders exactly why he needs to be paid a further £17,207 in taxpayers’ money for having broken the Ministerial Code. I am sure that the Fox household will now have a bountiful Christmas, but I am not sure that’s what hard-pressed families pay their taxes to ensure.

This payout is in my opinion wrong and Liam Fox should reject it. In the long term, this whole system should be abolished. I suggested getting rid of it during last year’s spending review, but my submission suggesting that disappeared without trace. If you agree with me that Liam Fox shouldn’t get £17,207 on 30 November and indeed that all these payouts for failure should be abolished then sign my epetition.

At the very least I believe that the Lib Dem ministerial team should, en masse, commit not to accept them when (eventually) they all become entitled.

Stuart Bonar blogs at my dog-eared notepad 

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  • Considering the immense contribution he made to the Defence Reforms, including a structure that will provide sovereign and strategic power-projection even in these constrained times, i’d say he was worth every penny and the sooner he can rejoin the Defence debate as an MP the better.
    Yes – aircraft carriers without any aircraft were a masterstroke! Why didn’t anyone think of this before? As far as I’m concerned Fox can have the 17K just as soon as the backers of his adviser have been revealed, and if he won’t come clean about himself the costs of he cabinet office investigating this should be deducted from his payoff.

  • So Mr Fox is receiving £17k – Mmmmm, yet the MOD are quick enough to deduct 9 days pay from one our service personnel killed in action: – Nice to know they have their priorities right!!!!!

  • Tony Dawson 26th Oct '11 - 5:30pm

    I’m very pleased that jedibeeftrix has expounded on Liam Fox’s role in bunging up this ‘collossal hole’.

    My conclusion is that the wages of sin is £17,207 – and the rest!

  • IMHO the best thing that Fox achieved was to set out how we are finally going to pull our troops out of Germany.

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