Lord Goldsmith has hit back at Angela Rayner over her allegations that his brother is paid £1,000 per day by the Government.
The deputy Labour leader claimed that Ben Goldsmith, a non-executive director at the Department for Environmental and Rural Affairs (Defra), assesses the work of his sibling, who is the Minister for the Pacific and the Environment.
Mr Goldsmith, a financier and environmentalist, was appointed as a non-executive director in 2018 by Michael Gove, the then environment secretary.
“The Tories have taken over £1,000 out of the pockets of nurses, care workers and low-income families who rely on Universal Credit,” Ms Rayner alleged on social media. “Meanwhile Ben Goldsmith is being paid £1,000 a day to ‘scrutinise’ his own brother – Lord Goldsmith. What a racket.”
But Lord Goldsmith hit back: “He’s not paid anything and he’s not there to scrutinise me. He … has been – as I think any conservation NGO that’s worked with him would testify – a major force for good and ambition.”
This is confirmed by Defra’s 2019-20 annual report and accounts, which show that Mr Goldsmith waived his fee entitlement of £15,000 for 15 days work a year in both the 2018-19 and 2019-20 financial years.
Describing his role in the department, the report states: “Ben Goldsmith has provided advice and insight on the implementation of a wide range of environmental policies.”
Mr Goldsmith insisted that he was paid “nothing – not even expenses” for his role, which he has described as being a “nature champion”.
“There is also no crossover between my brother’s work internationally and the things I work on, which are entirely domestic,” he wrote on Twitter.
In addition to his work with Defra, Mr Goldsmith is the chief executive of Menhaden Capital Management, which oversees energy-efficient investment firms.
He also chairs the philanthropic foundation run by the Goldsmith family, and has a farm in south Somerset.
Defra was contacted for comment, and pointed to publicly available accounts showing Mr Goldsmith does not take a fee for his role as a non-executive director.