Hunt Doubles Down On Claim £100k Is 'Not A Huge Salary' In Tense Sky News Interview

Trevor Phillips skewered Jeremy Hunt over his tweet about salaries.
Trevor Phillips skewered Jeremy Hunt over his tweet about salaries. Sky News

Jeremy Hunt stood by his claim that £100,000 is “not a huge salary” in an awkward Sky News interview on Sunday.

The chancellor wrote on X – formerly Twitter – on Friday to say he had spoken to someone in his constituency who was not eligible for the government’s childcare offer, because one parent is earning over £100,000.

Hunt added in his post: “That is an issue I would really like to sort out after the next election as I am aware that it is not a huge salary in our area if you have a mortgage to pay.”

During their interview on Sunday morning, host Trevor Phillips asked: “I assume you mean given the high cost of living in your Surrey constituency, parents who might not qualify for the new childcare support now should.

“Whatever the truth of it – and you and I can talk about the numbers and so on –do you regret tweeting that?

“It doesn’t sound right does it, saying £100,000 is not a huge salary?”

According to the Office for National Statistics, the median gross annual earnings for full-time workers last year was £34,963.

As a cabinet minister and MP, Hunt’s combined salary is upwards of £150,000.

The chancellor told Phillips said he was talking to a constituent who said that what sounds like a large salary “doesn’t go as far as you might think”.

He said house prices in his constituency of South West Surrey are averaging around £670,000 – so, between mortgage costs and childcare, he thinks his constituent “is right”.

“That’s why I want to give help to families,” he said.

Labour said on Friday that the tweet showed “how desperately out of touch the Tories are”.

Labour’s shadow paymaster general Jonathan Ashworth said: “The overwhelming majority of working people in this country would dream of earning that, yet they are all being made to pay the price of 14 years of Tory failure.”

Phillips also skewered Hunt over the government’s repeated claims that their plan to improve the cost of living in the UK right now is working.

The host said: “Chancellor, were still in recession, inflation nowhere near target, you’re nowhere near building the number of homes that would make an impact on property prices, council taxes are rising as high as councils get legally get away with, hospital waiting lists near the highest ever, and you’ve had to cancel your big infrastructure project – HS2 – or most of it.

“In what world is that showing the plan is working?”

Hunt pointed out that inflation falling lowing than expected, and claiming living standards have increased since he became chancellor 18 months ago.

But Phillips said: “I don’t want to blame you personally, chancellor, but can we agree over the period of this parliament, a conservative led government has presided over a fall in our living standards - that is very, very unusual.”

Hunt agreed this was true – but blamed the Covid pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine which triggered a huge energy crisis.