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18 July 2012

Even with 14 special advisers, Clegg is still struggling

Clegg's small army of political advisers has failed to halt the slide in his poll ratings.

By George Eaton

As the Cabinet Office revealed yesterday, Nick Clegg now employs 14 special advisers at a cost of nearly £900,000 a year. (George Osborne, conversely, gets by with just four). The list below names them and their salaries, where they exceed £58,200.

There are good arguments for increasing the number of spads, as the coalition has done. In a misguided attempt to display its thriftiness, the government initially employed just 69. It now employs a far more sensible 81. Clegg, in particular, had a strong case for more support. As the Institute for Government noted back in September 2010, his office was under-resourced compared with those of other cabinet ministers and threatened to be overwhelmed by government business.

But it would be remiss not to note that Clegg’s spads, employed to give political advice on policies and media, have failed to halt the slide in his approval ratings. The most recent YouGov/Sunday Times poll found that net approval with Clegg had reached a new low of -59, down from a heady +53 in the halcyon days of May 2010.

Clegg now employs 14 special advisers at a cost of nearly £900,000. Source: Cabinet Office.

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