Alun Cairns starts second job as an adviser to firm working on a home Covid-19 test

Alun Cairns. Picture by Cabinet Office (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Vale of Glamorgan MP Alun Cairns will make over £200 an hour in a new second job as an adviser to a firm working on a home Covid-19 test.

The register of MPs’ interests reveals the former secretary of state for Wales became a senior adviser to the BBI Group at the beginning of July.

“Until further notice I receive £15,000 a year, paid monthly, for providing strategy advice to the board,” reads the entry on his new role, adding it will involve up to 70 hours of work a year.

The former Secretary of State for Wales’ monthly earnings from his second job (£1,250) will be around the amount the average Welsh worker earns in two weeks (£1,070).

Coming on top of his MPs salary, the new role means Cairns will take home £96,932 a year. He is the only Welsh MP with permanent employment outside the Commons.

His successor as secretary of state for Wales, Simon Hart, made £30,000 a year as a “high net worth consultant” to the Countryside Alliance but left the role after almost 4 years in July 2019.

 

Advice

Cairns’ new employer, the Crumlin based BBI Group, is part of the UK-RTC consortium developing a Covid-19 home test to help the UK Government hit its target of 100,000 tests a day.

“The UK-RTC is continuing to work with the regulatory authorities to ensure approval of the test as quickly as possible,” the company said in its latest statement.

Cairns’ latest intervention on the crisis, at health questions in the Commons on July 7, was to call for Wales to follow the “English model” over pub reopening.

“The welcome opening of pubs in England has made a major difference to the morale of a nation,” he said. “In Wales, pubs will not be able to open until next Monday, and then only outside.”

Addressing English Health Secretary Matt Hancock, he asked: “Will my right hon. Friend share the best practice of one-way systems and appropriate screening to ensure that landlords, pubs and breweries do not go out of business needlessly, if only Wales follows the English model?”

Ministers are banned from lobbying the UK government for two years after leaving office and must seek permission from the government’s anti-corruption watchdog, ACoBA, to accept a job during this time.

Cairns says he has consulted ACoBA about the appointment, although its advice has not yet been published.

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