Fury as Bank of England boss admits he 'can't remember' his £575,000 salary

23 February 2022, 14:12 | Updated: 23 February 2022, 14:30

Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey has sparked anger after he couldn't remember his £575,000 salary.
Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey has sparked anger after he couldn't remember his £575,000 salary. Picture: Alamy

By Sophie Barnett

Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey, who came under fire for suggesting people shouldn't ask for pay rises in the cost of living crisis, has again sparked anger when he "couldn't remember" his £575,000 salary.

Listen to this article

Loading audio...

Mr Bailey was trying to justify his calls for introducing pay restraint to curb inflation during a Treasury committee of MPs on Wednesday, when he fumbled over his sky-high salary.

He was grilled by Dame Angela Eagle MP, who asked: "Can you tell me what the median care worker wage was? It's £9.01 an hour and 77% care workers paid below Living Wage Foundation rate. What was your pay over the same period?"

"Substantially higher," Mr Bailey replied.

"What was it, governor?"

"Um, its somewhere over £500,000 - I can't tell you exactly what it was, I don't carry that around in my head."

The Labour MP hit back that he was paid £575,538 in the year from March 2020, including his pension.

She argued that workers had suffered the longest pay squeeze in 200 years, and asked when they could catch up if not now. 

Read more: 'Don't ask for a big pay rise': Fury at message from 500k Bank boss to struggling Brits

Read more: Masks off: TfL announces end of face coverings on Tube from Thursday

'Let them live for one day with a person that's trying to feed their kids!'

People have erupted into anger over his comments, which have been slammed as being "out of touch".

Positive Money UK, a not-for-profit advocacy group, said he earns "almost £300 an hour" while care workers earn just £9, asking "is this why the Bank of England is out of touch?"

Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite the Union, also criticised the governor, saying he "blew a hole" in the bank's pretence to be neutral when he "targeted workers' pay packets instead of company bosses and inflated profits".

"Workers didn’t cause galloping inflation or the energy crisis so why should they pay for it?" she asked.

She wrote on Twitter: "Unite will always seek pay deals that reflect the true cost of living because anything else is a wage cut."

The governor then sought to defend controversial comments he made earlier this month urging workers not to ask for big pay rises to counter soaring inflation, saying that companies also need to think twice about raising prices significantly to help cool inflation pressures.

Earlier this month he said the UK needed to see "some moderation of wage rises" - something he conceded was "painful" - in order to prevent inflation from "spreading".

"What we can do is try to prevent inflation spreading and becoming more engrained in the system," Mr Bailey told the BBC.

When asked if he was telling people not to ask for "too high" a pay rise, he said: "Broadly, yes."

Read more: Heavy snow and wind to batter UK as weather warnings issued days after storm chaos

Mr Bailey has been criticised for his comments, that come at a time when the UK is suffering a growing cost of living crisis.

He told the Treasury committee that the so-called second round effects of the energy-led rise in living costs were his "biggest concern" and, if realised, would hurt the least well-off the most and could lead to even higher interest rates.

Ms Eagle called on Mr Bailey to visit a care home, with workers in the sector being paid £9.01 an hour on average.

UK's soaring inflation caused by 'perfect storm' of conditions

She asked what his view was on bank bonuses, adding: "We're in the middle of a huge bonanza for banker bonus payouts."

He said: "The same point holds about restraint for everybody."

On executive pay and bonuses more widely in the UK, he added: "When you're thinking about it, please reflect on the economic situation we're in with this very big economic shock coming in from outside.

"My big concern is that the least well off will come off worse in this process if we don't have some process of thought and restraint."

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Israel Palestinians

Israeli jets hit Gaza targets after week-long truce expires

Snow has blanketed parts of the UK and more is set to fall today

UK snow latest: Cold health alerts issued as snow blankets parts of UK

Snow has fallen in areas around the UK after one of the coldest Novembers in years. Credit: Alamy

Health alerts issued and elderly people told to 'wear more layers' as South-east England sees earliest winter snow in 15 years

Safina Namukwaya has given birth to twins aged 70

Seventy-year-old woman gives birth to twins, but says the father has abandoned her

Israel Palestinians

Israel resumes strikes in Gaza Strip as truce with Hamas expires

Jeremy Clarkson has broken his silence after it emerged that he, James May and Richard Hammond were set to leave the Grand Tour

Jeremy Clarkson breaks silence with good news despite leaving Grand Tour alongside Richard Hammond and James May

Police clashed with Legia Warsaw fans on Thursday night

Police officer set on fire and three more hurt after Polish football fans unleash 'planned violence' at Aston Villa game

King Charles in Dubai

Charles to tell world leaders 'the Earth does not belong to us' at Cop28 as he 'prays for action on climate'

Parts of the UK are set to see 5cm of snow on Friday

Brits to get 5cm of snow as temperatures plummet to -10C, as warning issued for drivers amid freezing conditions

The IDF said fighting had resumed

Israel-Hamas war restarts as truce deadline expires, as both sides blame each other for breaching ceasefire terms

Released prisoner

Israeli military confirms release of six more hostages in Gaza Strip

Rishi Sunak will call for an "era of action" on the climate

Sunak to call for 'era of action' on climate at Cop28 - despite watering down green measures at home

Omid Scobie has insisted he never sent out a book including two royals' names amid racism allegations

Dutch translator on Omid Scobie's Endgame insists she was sent manuscript with two royals' names in race row

Lloyds banking group is closing more branches in 2024.

Lloyds group to close 45 branches as Labour pledges to keep banks back on the high street - is your local affected?

Hall and Oates

Hall and Oates row: Judge extends pause on Oates’ sale of stake in business

Hamas has claimed Israel is refusing to take back the bodies of the Bibas family

Hamas releases propaganda video of father of 10-month-old Kfir Bibas saying Israel refuses to take his family's bodies