Wanted: a £30k-a-year butler for Downing Street

January 12th, 2009 - 11:48 am ICT by IANS  

Gordon BrownLondon, Jan 12 (IANS) Prime Minister Gordon Brown is looking for a new butler at 10, Downing Street and angry Conservatives say advertising the £30,000 per year job is hardly a crunch-time activity.The main task of the new recruit is to serve drinks to cabinet ministers and VIPs at Downing Street. Applications must be submitted to the Cabinet Office by Friday.

The advertisement for the Prime Minister’s butler is on a publicly available online list called the “Civil Service Recruitment Gateway”. Officially, the position is called “front of house assistant”.

The salary includes a “duty roster allowance” of £6,609. The advertisement, placed by the Cabinet Office, avoids any direct reference to the prime minister’s residence. Instead, the job is discreetly said to be based at “a prestigious Grade I listed building in Whitehall”.

The advertisement says the successful applicant will be required to “carry out personal attendance on senior officials whilst they are working or entertaining in the office . . .” and “this will involve duties at luncheons, dinners and receptions including the preparation of refreshments”.

Also being recruited are a Whitehall “chief psychologist”, a team of Inland Revenue snoopers to spy on revenue staff suspected of fraud, and a new £185,000-a-year expert to “support” business secretary Peter Mandelson.

The Conservatives say most of these jobs, the butler in particular, have little or nothing to do with improving services for taxpayers.

Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude told Daily Mail: “A million people face losing their private-sector jobs this year thanks to Gordon Brown’s recession, yet his top priority seems to be hiring a new butler to tend on him and his flunkies at Downing Street luncheons, dinners and receptions.”

The Cabinet Office said the butler’s job was not a new post and that it had been advertised as the current butler had quit the post before Christmas.

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