Jeremy Hunt inadvertently admits Tories caused wage stagnation

  • Post last modified:March 24, 2024
  • Reading time:10 mins read

On 22 March, Jeremy Hunt accidentally agreed that more Britons than ever are underpaid in Tory Britain. On Sunday 24 March, he went on a media blitz to confirm this.

Guess how well that went down?

Jeremy Hunt’s cost of living

The following is what Jeremy Hunt originally said:

Finally I spoke to a lady from Godalming about eligibility for the government’s childcare offer which is not available if one parent is earning over £100k. That is an issue I would really like to sort out after the next election as I am aware that it is not huge salary in our area if you have a mortgage to pay.

‘£100k’ is a noteworthy figure right now, as it was reported on 15 March that MPs are set to get a 5.5% raise which will take their salaries up to £91k.

According to The Salary Calculator, a salary of £100k will net you about £5.7k a month after deductions. When Hunt first made his comments, Sky News reported:

According to the Office for National Statistics, the average salary for someone in full-time work was £34,963 in April 2023.

Mr Hunt is standing for the Godalming and Ash constituency, having represented the Farnham and Haslemere constituency.

According to Rightmove, the property marketplace website, the average price of a house in Godalming has been £683,463 in the past year.

Looking on RightMove, if you bought a house that cost that much right now, you’d be looking at monthly mortgage repayments of £3.5k a month with a 10% deposit.

Notably, mortgages are much higher than they’ve been in years, so the majority of Godalming homeowners will not be paying that much, but even if you’re paying £2.5k, the cost-of-living in that area (including childcare) will definitely mean that many are feeling the pinch for the first time.

So, going through the figures, the man has something of a point. There are certainly areas of the country in which you can be earning three times the national average and yet still be affected by the cost-of-living crisis.

Before you raise an eyebrow, we’re not pointing this out because we think people are being unfair to Hunt; we’re pointing it out because it highlights the absolute state of this country under the Tories.

After all, this is a party which runs on a platform of hounding and impoverishing benefit claimants. Now, with the cost-of-living crisis becoming the cost-of-living reality, the chancellor can think of no solution other than to extend benefits to cover Middle England’s middle-class middle managers.

In other words, if you live in Tory Britain and you’re not in a position to pay yourself, you’re probably underpaid.

A Hunt’s trick

All that aside, it’s staggering that Jeremy Hunt didn’t realise how bad it would sound to suggest £100k is a benefits-worthy income. Most people don’t live in areas in which you need to win the lottery to buy a bungalow. It’s even more staggering that he’s now gone on the Sunday politics shows to smirk and repeat this statement:


Several tweets demonstrated that many can’t actually fathom £100k being a low wage:


People are right to feel like this.

How can you operate a functioning country in which cost-of-living varies so wildly from place to place? Because let’s not forget – even in areas like Godalming, many people will still be earning the minimum wage.

What happens to them when £200k becomes the benchmark? Things will spiral even further, of course, as the managerial classes have to choose between paying their cleaners £80k a year or bussing them in from several counties over.

Some pointed out why the gap between the rich and the poor is increasingly widening in Toy Britain – namely because the Tories have pushed the two realities apart with a crowbar:

The above tweet references a story in the Mirror from 2018 which reads:

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt saved almost £100,000 in stamp duty on his purchase of seven flats after exploiting a Tory loophole.

Stamp duty rules changed in 2016 so anyone buying a second home or buy-to-let property pays a 3% surcharge.

But bulk purchases of six properties or more are exempt, meaning Mr Hunt will have saved at least £94,500 by buying the seven homes at once .

Properties in the Southampton development are on the market for between £450,000 and £1million.

He already faces a parliamentary sleaze probe into his alleged failure to register an interest in the company he used to purchase the flats in Ocean Village.

Britain is increasingly a country in which hard work – or indeed any work – doesn’t pay.

What does pay is having the cash to buy into an economic system which prints off free money for those without need.

Greed eats itself

Runaway greed is increasingly a problem for the Tories.

It’s getting harder and harder to squeeze the poor, so the system has no option but to squeeze the middle class.

Tories like Jeremy Hunt tend to sit in affluent constituencies, and now – when they make their once-an-election-cycle appearance at the village fetes – they’re having to say: ‘I’m sorry, Mr and Mrs Miggins, but it turns out you’re poor now. Don’t worry, though, because we’re lining up a spiffing benefits package for you to sign on to’.

Given this situation, it’s clear to see why the Tories are losing support all over. And while Labour and the Liberal Democrats don’t have a plan beyond ‘more of the same’, they probably won’t get found out until five years from now when they’re on the telly telling us £500k is the new Universal Credit threshold, and Channel 4 films season 16 of Benefits Street on Park Lane and Mayfair.

Featured image via Sky News

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