DIARY: Hard times force PROs to stay home

With the size of mooted council tax rises troubling London's less affluent citizens, it's reassuring to know that a former Tory press chief is willing to show solidarity by airing his financial concerns in the national media.

Alex Aiken, Westminster City Council head of comms, told last weekend's Cash supplement of The Observer that he and wife Nickie (also a PRO - at Bradford & Bingley) have cancelled their holiday after two interest rate rises in four months.

Aiken, formerly head of news for the Tories, was quoted as saying: 'We have a £320,000 mortgage and if predictions of more rises are correct, they'll cost us at least £1,000 this year. So the holiday has gone.'

He added that the costs likely to accompany the arrival of a forthcoming baby would also add up to a 'major headache'.

Aiken says Westminster head of HR Jonathan Evans 'took pity' on him the day after the article's publication, depositing 20p on his desk.

Solidarity is thriving in true-blue Westminster then.

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