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Just who is going to do all these jobs then, Boris?




Washed Up column, by Sarah Juggins

What do the following have in common? A position as a PE teacher in a private school; my first two years [2014-16] as a freelance writer; the top salary earned by a care worker?

The answer is that all three earned salaries well below the amount set by the current Government when it comes to judging whether someone from another country is allowed to come and live and work in the UK.

Boris Johnson famously used to earn £250,000 per column. Washed Up, by Sarah Juggins. Picture: Alastair Grant/PA Wire
Boris Johnson famously used to earn £250,000 per column. Washed Up, by Sarah Juggins. Picture: Alastair Grant/PA Wire

Which makes me question how the government views people’s worth to society. Not many would consider a writer particularly worthy but a teacher, or care worker?

I was a head of department at a very good school in Cambridge. It was the sort of place that, as a teacher, you can usually only dream of: polite children who are keen to learn, a supportive senior management team, decent parents who supported rather than vilified staff.

The school advertised for a PE teacher to cover a maternity leave and four people applied. Two were from Australia, one was from Poland, the fourth was English. When the applicants were told the job involved working some weekends, the English applicant dropped out.

We appointed one of the Australians. The salary was below the £26,500 the government considers appropriate for people to make a life in the UK.

My gran spent her final years in a care home in Swaffham. She was a proud lady who liked to always look neat and tidy even as her body gave up on her.

The Eastern European nurses - from Romania, Poland, Lithuania - gave my gran her dignity until the end. It is commonly known there is no way those workers are paid more than £26,500.

The fields near my house had carrots growing last year. The workers turned up at 6.30am. They worked under a tarpaulin covered trailer picking, washing and packing as the temperatures soared.

On several occasions they knocked on my door to refill their water bottles.

They spoke very little English but we could communicate perfectly anyway. When they left 12 hours later they cheerily waved goodbye each evening.

Under the Conservative government, the fact they spoke little English and earned well below the threshold means they won’t be back.

Our Prime Minister famously used to earn £250,000 per column.

The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, was paid £1,000 per hour for advising a global communications company that sells systems to clients including military organisations.

I wonder how they came up with such a negligible amount and how they determined the worth and value of our workforce?


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