On the face of it, the idea that a prime minister cannot afford to do the job on a salary of £157,372 is ridiculous.
Cannot is ridiculous of course.
Johnson has told friends that he needs to earn about £300,000 a year — twice his salary — to keep his head above water. A former No 10 insider said it was “received wisdom” that he is permanently broke.
“Head above water” isn’t quite the right phrase either.
However, it’s a hell of a lot easier to allow expenditure to expand to rising income than it is to compress it to match a falling one. Someone who’s been earning £300 to £400k for a couple of decades would indeed find it difficult to compress down to £150k. That just is difficult, whatever the number of zeroes there, 40k to 15k is difficult too.
Add in a divorce, the ex-wife used to make a lot more than Carrie does and so on and one can see the problem.
On his own head and all that but the base contention isn’t unfair. It’s not that he can’t live on it, it’s that he’s not used to doing so.