Wigan Euro-peer’s ‘wage for nothing’

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A WIGAN-born Euro leader is to be paid £400,000 “to do nothing” once she leaves her Brussels job next year.

Labour peer Baroness Ashton of Up Holland will pocket £133,500 a year until the end of 2017 as part of her terms of employment as a senior EU official, the European Commission has confirmed this week.

She will also be able to pick up a £300-a-day attendance allowance from the House of Lords.

The cash windfall is described as a “transitional allowance” by the EU and will be paid at a lower rate of tax than the standard British rates. It revealed that the money is intended to compensate senior officials such as Baroness Ashton, the High Representative of Foreign Affairs, for restrictions they face in the months leaving office.

He contractual obligations mean that in the first 18 months after leaving her office Baroness Ashton won’t be allowed to take any post that does not meet with EU approval. The extended pay-out, which amounts to over half of her salary, is also designed to ensure that she is able to work constructively right up to the time when her job finishes and doesn’t spend time in her last months of office looking for a new post.

A spokesman for the European Commission said: “The terms and conditions for European Commissioners aren’t decided by the Commission but are fixed by agreement of member states.”

Catherine Ashton, Baroness Ashton of Up Holland, was created a Life Peer by the Labour Government to became the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Education and Skills.