It has been disclosed that Justice Lowell Goddard, the New Zealand high court judge appointed to chair the UK’s historic child sex abuse inquiry, will receive a pay package worth £500,000 a year. With the inquiry predicted to last at least five years she stands to make more than £2.5 million.
The package, which the Home Office says reflects her high level of experience, breaks down as £360,000 salary, £110,000 a year rent and £12,000 a year for utilities including broadband internet. In addition she will have a car with driver for official business and four return flights to New Zealand for her and her husband plus two economy return flights for her family.
Sun Nation reports Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance chief executive, queried the high cost saying:
“This child abuse inquiry is absolutely vital and we must have the right people in charge. However, eyebrows will be raised that on top of her high salary, taxpayers are coughing up for flights back to New Zealand for her and her family on top. Taxpayers should never pay over the odds for staff.”
Breitbart London previously reported fears the inquiry could become a “gravy train for lawyers” and the budgeted cost to taxpayers of £17.9 million a year – £7.3 million for staff alone such as the four panel members who will receive £565 a day – will do little to allay that.
The figures have been approved by Home Secretary Theresa May. Justice Goddard conceded the £17.9 million is a “large sum” but one that has been “carefully costed” and is “essential to meet the inquiry’s core operational requirements”.
The Telegraph reports Justice Goddard earned about £180,000-a-year in her previous job in New Zealand but her new salary is two and a half times that of the Prime Minister; he earns £142,500. The sum also outstrips the Lord Chief Justice’s salary, that of the highest-paid judge in England and Wales; he receives £244,665.
By way of comparison to other inquiry heads, The Telegraph noted Sir John Chilcot of Iraq War inquiry fame was paid a day rate of £790 or £205,400 a year, while Sir Brian Leveson of the Press standards and ethics inquiry just took his normal £197,000 annual salary as a judge.
The Daily Mail reports the strong reaction of Andi Lavery, a 43-year-old who says he was molested at Catholic boarding school in the mid-1980s. He said:
“This is a kick in the teeth. Me and thousands of other abuse survivors have never received a penny in compensation despite our lives being torn apart when we were young. It is disgusting that so much money is being spent paying the judge. It is nice work if you can get it. I am having to fight the Home Office to pay my a few hundred pounds to cover my expenses when I travelled to London for meetings before the inquiry was set up.”
Labour MP John Mann said: “It is ridiculous amount of money and disproportionate to the role. It is a different world. The judges are so cossetted. She will have to prove her worth very, very quickly.”