Social Mobility Commission chair gets new £350-a-day pay deal

Dame Martina Milburn will be paid £350-a-day for her work as the chair of the Social Mobility Commission after taking on “more responsibilities” in the role, the government has announced.

The chief executive of the Prince’s Trust was appointed last year to head up the relaunched commission. The role was initially unpaid.

However, education secretary Damian Hinds has now decided the role should be paid, after the Department for Education awarded the commission a new research and evidence fund.

Milburn, who according to charity records earns a salary of between £150,000 and £160,000 a year at the Prince’s Trust, can claim the £350 day rate for up to five days a month, meaning she could earn £21,000-a-year from the government. The payments will be backdated to cover work undertaken since December.

“In December 2018, Dame Martina Milburn took on more responsibilities in her role as chair of the Social Mobility Commission,” said the DfE in a statement.

“The commission was awarded a new research and evidence fund and because of this the secretary of state decided to remunerate the role.”

Milburn’s role and the work of the commission more widely have been under heavy scrutiny since the relaunch last year.

Alan Milburn, the commission’s former chair, resigned in late December 2017 alongside the rest of its commissioners, taking aim at a “lack of political leadership” on social mobility issues.

Already disappointed at the government’s decision not to heed its calls to rebrand the group as the Social Justice Commission and appoint a minister for the area, the parliamentary education committee has been highly critical of the organisation since its relaunch.

In June, MPs questioned the diversity of commissioners, and urged the body to act, rather than just research problems. It also emerged last month that Martina Milburn has only met with Damian Hinds once.

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