The Nanny State Rich List 2020


The publication of our Nanny State Rich List in 2018 showed that the size and excess of public health organisations throughout the UK is increasing. Not merely content with implementing a punitive sugar tax on the population in 2018[1], there have been calls by the former England chief medical officer, Prof. Dame Sally Davies, to consider expanding this to unhealthy food in general.[2] This all comes at a time when taxes are already at a 50 year high.[3]

This research outlines the total remuneration in excess of £100,000 received by senior staff working within public health in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It shows that public health groups remain influential within government, at an ever greater cost to the taxpayer.

Click here to read the research paper


Key findings

Overall findings

The highest remunerated public health employee in the country was Adrian Mairs, the acting director of public health at Public Health Agency (Northern Ireland). His total remuneration was £311,500 in 2018-19. This included a salary between £155,000 and £160,000 and an employer pension contribution of £154,000.

  • 21 public health employees received a higher salary than the prime minister’s current salary of £154,908 in 2018-19.
  • Britain’s 10 top paid public health employees earn an average of £242,650, with two individuals receiving over £250,000, including one individual receiving over £300,000.

  • UK local authorities’ directors of public health receiving over £150,000 have increased from 17 in 2017-18 to 22 in 2018-19, an increase of over 29 per cent.

  • The public health director for NHS Forth Valley, Graham Foster, has seen his total remuneration rise in 2018-19 by a huge £98,000 – over 62 per cent – to £255,500 from the previous year, for the same position.

Click here to read the research paper


[1] HM Treasury, Soft Drinks Industry Levy comes into effect, 5 April 2018,, (accessed 29th November 2019).

[2] BBC, Chief medical officer considers recommending tax on unhealthy food, 30 May 2019, https:/, (accessed 29th November 2019).

[3] Taxpayers’ Alliance, Post-war tax burdens by prime minister, December 2019, (accessed 19th December 2019)

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