Friday, 12 April 2013

The £60 million Cabinet.

Back in May 2010 the new coalition government cabinet posed for a picture. Smirks all around as their pay as an MP gets a top up for being appointed as a minister. There is one big change in the line-up I wonder if you can spot-the-change?

David Cameron’s coalition Government may have adopted ‘fairness’ as one of its defining slogans, but his team of Ministers has been drawn almost exclusively from the ranks of the financial elite – leading to accusations that politics is once again becoming the preserve of the wealthy. Of the 29 Ministers entitled to attend Cabinet meetings, 23 have assets and investments estimated to be worth more than £1million.


1. Lord Strathclyde £10m - Leader of the House of Lords, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. The 2nd Baron Strathclyde, more normally addressed as Tom, is wealthy even by the aristocratic standards of the Lords. The half-Belgian peer owns a lucrative slice of his family’s estate management company, Auchendrane Estates, has numerous private directorships and a £2.3million house in Westminster.

2. Philip Hammond £7.5m - Secretary of State for Transport. Hammond had been expected to take the No2 position at the Treasury until the coalition agreement was struck, but there is little need for him to make personal economies. His stake in property company Castlemead has been estimated to be worth up to £6million in shares and dividends. He also co-owns a £1million house in Westminster and a £400,000 home in Woking, Surrey.

3. George Osborne £4.6m - Chancellor of the Exchequer. The youngest Chancellor for more than a century holds a £2million stake in his father’s luxury wallpaper company, Osborne & Little, and lives in a £2million family home in London’s Notting Hill. His constituency property in Tatton adds another £600,000.

4. Jeremy Hunt £4.5m - Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport. Hunt, a lambada-dancing party high-flier, owns a stake in the educational publisher Hotcourses estimated at nearly £3million. He also owns a property in Surrey, a house in Hammersmith, West London, and a half-share of a holiday home in Italy.

5. David Cameron £4m - Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury and Minister for the Civil Service. The PM and his wife both come from wealthy backgrounds and enjoy substantial property assets of their own: their London home has been valued at £2.7million and their constituency house at £1million. Mrs Cameron’s work as the creative director of Smythson, the upmarket stationers, earned her a £300,000 bonus. Both are in line to inherit fortunes from their parents: the combined wealth of the Camerons’ parents has been put as high as £30million. 

6. Chris (done the crime now doing the time) Huhne £3.5m - Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. The former journalist and City economist was known as ‘nine homes Huhne’ now known as ten homes as his list now includes a prison cell. Huhne has five buy-to-lets in London and Oxford, a family home in the capital and a house in his Eastleigh constituency. He also has a share of a holiday home in France, while his ex-wife and another inmate Vicky Pryce, a senior civil servant, owns property in Greece.

7. Dominic Grieve £3m - Attorney General. Dry-as-dust barrister Grieve has built up shareholdings in companies including Royal Bank of Scotland which are thought to be worth nearly £1million. He also owns a £1.3million home in Hammersmith and Fulham, and a rental property in the capital.

8. Francis Maude £3m -Minister for the Cabinet Office, Paymaster General. Party grandee Maude owns two buy-to-let nest-egg properties in London and France, and a valuable family home in Sussex. Until David Cameron’s crackdown on his team’s second jobs last year, he was a member of Barclays Bank’s Asia-Pacific Advisory Committee. He also has a number of shareholdings.

9. William Hague £2.5m - Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. Canny Hague’s property interests in London and his Yorkshire constituency are worth at least £1million, while his earnings from the after-dinner circuit – at up to £25,000 a speech – private directorships and book contracts add at least another £1.5million.

10. Andrew Mitchell £2m - Secretary of State for International Development. Former merchant banker Mitchell retains lucrative interests from his time in the City, including various property shareholdings. He also owns a home in London worth £1.6million.

11. David Laws £1m-2m estimate - Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Laws is said to have made so much money in the City that he was able to retire at the age of 28, after betting $1billion of his company’s money on the value of the dollar – and guessing the right way. He displays few public signs of this reputed wealth, apart from a house in France and a £400,000 cottage in his Somerset constituency. He keeps any shareholdings well-concealed.

12. Nick Clegg £1.9m - Deputy Prime Minister. Like his coalition partner Cameron, Clegg’s father made millions in the City. While Clegg senior has an impressive international property portfolio worth several million pounds, the Lib Dem leader’s own wealth comes from a £1.5million property in Putney and a constituency house in Sheffield.

13. David Willetts £1.9m - Minister of State (Universities and Science) Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Willetts, who is married to the successful professional artist Sarah Butterfield, derived a useful income from private directorships until the Cameron crackdown. He owns a London house worth £1.3million, a property in Hampshire worth £300,000 and a rental property.

14. Theresa May £1.6m - Secretary of State for the Home Department and Minister for Women and Equality. Vicar’s daughter May owns a £1million home in London with her husband Philip, and a home in Berkshire worth an estimated £600,000.

15. Oliver Letwin £1.6m - Minister of State, Cabinet Office. Former Rothschild banker Letwin, the Old Etonian son of academics, holds numerous investments from his time in the City. He also owns a £700,000 constituency home in Somerset and an £800,000 home in London.

16. Caroline Spelman £1.5m - Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Spelman, a former sugar beet commodity secretary for the National Farmers Union, co-owns a biotechnology business with her husband, has a constituency home in Dorridge, West Midlands, and a property near Westminster.

17. Owen Paterson £1.5m - Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Paterson, who is married to Rose Ridley, daughter of the 4th Viscount Ridley, has a second life as the owner of a large country estate on which he lets buildings and agricultural land.

18. Cheryl Gillan £1.5m - Secretary of State for Wales. Gillan, the privately-educated daughter of an Army officer, owes her fortune to the three homes she owns in the Home Counties.

19. Kenneth Clarke £1m+ - Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State for Justice. Cigar-smoking Government veteran Clarke has accumulated shareholdings in companies such as BP, BAT and Diageo which were recently valued at more than £600,000. He owns a £500,000 house in his Nottinghamshire constituency.

20. Sir George Young £1m - Leader of the House of Commons, Lord Privy Seal. Aristocratic Sir George, known as the ‘bicycling baronet’, owns a £650,000 family home in Penton Mewsey, Hampshire, and a £500,000 flat in London.

21. Iain Duncan Smith £1m - Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. Former Tory leader Duncan Smith owes his apparent wealth to his wife, Betsy. He lives in a £1million house provided by her father, the 5th Baron Cottesloe, which appears to be tied up in a series of complex family trusts.

22. Michael Gove £1m - Secretary of State for Education. Close Cameron aide Gove owns two properties – a London house and a home in his Surrey constituency – together worth over £1million. Until entering Government, he also earned at least £70,000 a year on top of his MP’s salary from journalism and book-writing.

23. Dr Liam Fox £1m - Secretary of State for Defence. Dr Fox is another Cabinet Minister who has benefited from the two-home life lived by many MPs, owning a Central London property and a large house in Somerset which combined are worth £1million.


Just six Cabinet Ministers are believed to be worth less than £1 million. They are: 

24. Business Secretary Vince Cable.

25. Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.

26. Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles.

27. Minister Without Portfolio Baroness Warsi.

28. Chief Whip Patrick McLoughlin.

29. Scottish Secretary Danny Alexander.


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