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Osborne's 'austerity' under fire over high salaries

CHANCELLOR George Osborne, the architect of the Government's austerity strategy, has come under fire for not practising at the Treasury what he is preaching to others after it emerged the number of his departmental staff on six-figure salaries has doubled in less than three years, according to official figures.

And they also show other Whitehall departments have seen an increase in those earning top salaries.

In 2011/12, there were 39 people at the Treasury earning more than £100,000; up from 2009/10, when there were just 20.

The figures also reveal the Home Office, the Department for Energy and the Equalities Office also employ more staff on salaries that amount to four times the national average wage.

Matthew Sinclair from the TaxPayers' Alliance said: "George Osborne and his ministers have rightly been demanding public sector pay restraint in order to tackle the eye-watering deficit. So taxpayers will be appalled to learn he has singularly failed to practise what he has been preaching in his own department."

The figures came in parliamentary answers to Tory backbencher Dominic Raab, who said: "Given the urgent need to pay off our national debt, the astonishing number of bureaucrats on six-figures salaries should be going down, not up."

The statistics also show the number of Treasury staff on more than £80,000 rose from 47 before the election to 75 last year.

A departmental spokesman explained that the large rise was the result of its incorporation of an organisation called Infrastructure UK, which is made up of former business leaders, who advise the Government on long-term infrastructure priorities and who help bring in private sector investment.

The spokesman said staff numbers at the Treasury had fallen from 1386 before the 2010 election to 1187 last year and the amount spent on salaries had been cut, from £70 million to £59m.

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