The Mail reports today that MPs are struggling to find employment on leaving work:
"The study said employers have little use for former MPs – and some take more than a year to find a job. Those who do manage to find work often complain that they do not earn as much as they did in Westminster.
A careers advice company cited in the report warned that a high percentage of former MPs ‘were commercially unemployable at senior management level’.
A high proportion of those who do find work get places on quangos."
It is pretty clear that in the private sector MPs, with little management experience or really detailed knowledge of a subject, cannot find senior management level employment. They tend to find jobs by staying in the, less discriminating, public sector.
The top tiers of management in public services are taken up by politicians. They don’t have the right skills and experience for senior management in the private sector, is it any wonder they fail in the public sector?
Yesterday we noted how Renfrewshire Council was spending £100,000 on desks. Today we learn that the government has been spending £57,000+ on ministerial red boxes in the past 5 years. A series of questions and freedom of information requests from Lib Dem MP John Hemming showed that the Department for Communities and Local Government topped the list, spending £7,420 for only 8 ministerial red boxes, almost £1,000 a box.
It’s important to note that these boxes are built to withstand most accidents owing to the confidential nature of ministerial papers, that’s completely understandable. Yet the prices of these boxes ranged from £385 to £750 per box and indicating by the following breakdowns, it seems like most departments went for the most expensive option:
Transport – £8,853
Work and Pensions – £6,588
Defra – £1,500
Communities and Local Government – £7,420
Scotland – £1,620
Culture Media Sport – £1,598
DTI – £13,337.50
Innovation – none
Foreign Office – £6,990
Wales – none
Treasury – £1,899
Defence – £6,108
International Dev – £1,346.55
This is yet again another example of waste we have to watch, highlight and campaign on. By a simple freedom of information request you can find out where your money is being spent and how much they’re wasting. To make it easy for our supporters and activists to hold politicians and government to account we have a template freedom of information letter. Email me at [email protected] requesting the letter and I will send it to you. All you need to do is fill in the blanks and send it off to any public body. What is essential, however, is that the more we bring these instances of waste and mismanagement the public’s attention, the more politicians will think before they waste our money.
The Telegraph reports that the official estimate of unfunded public sector pension liabilities has risen to £620 billion, up from the previous official estimate of £530 billion. This works out at around £30,000 per household over the next four decades.
Of course, the official projection is at the low end of the range of estimates that have been produced. Watson Wyatt puts the figure at £960 billion, while former Bank of England economist Neil Record, in a recent paper for the Institute of Economic Affairs, estimates the total liability to be £1,025 billion – around 80 per cent of national income.
Whatever the true figure, you can be confident of two things:
1. It’s going to be closer to the IEA and Watson Wyatt’s estimates than the Government’s.
2. There will be no escaping from the bill to taxpayers.
This needn’t be the case if our politicians were slightly more imaginative. Here are two suggestions:
1. Raise the public sector retirement age to the state pension age for existing public sector workers as soon as possible. This is completely fair, given that public sector workers no longer earn less than their private sector counterparts. It is not, as the unions claim, a breach of contract, any more than the decisions to raise the state pension age are a breach of the national insurance contract. Let’s have equal treatment for public and private sector workers. This should reduce the unfunded liability considerably.
2. Get serious on restraining public spending. This means abolishing individual agencies and programmes that are unnecessary, rather than merely shuffling the deckchairs (as in the Gershon process), and in the case of the re-named DTI abolishing whole departments. This will allow taxes to be reduced and the deficit to be eliminated. Part of future budget surpluses can then be put into a special "Future Fund" to pay off part of the remainder of the currently unfunded liabilities, as Australia is doing at the moment.
If these two suggestions are enacted, the amount left over will be drastically reduced, making life easier for taxpayers. So which Party will get serious about public sector pensions? The problem is not going to go away.
The first comes from Thurrock Council where we have bad news for the Bus service, but good news for the Mayor. They’re looking for a chauffeur service to ferry the Mayor around the borough…nice work if you can get it.
Secondly, Renfrewshire Council is refurbishing its chambers at a tender (and cost to the taxpayer) of £100,000. But it’s not a warts-and-all-change, it’s £100,000 for new desks or as they put it “bespoke panel-ended furniture and arched desking”.
Finally, the Ministry of Defence are looking to spend £25,000 on a trip to Greenland…just in time for Christmas too.
You can find that and more here.
If you know of anything your local authority does to waste your money then email me at [email protected] to expose councils squandering your money. Wouldn’t it be great if local government had to think twice before wasting our money because they know we are there, ready to hold them to account?
Tax-news.com reports that Canadian Liberals, who reduced the federal corporation tax rate from 28 per cent to 19 per cent when in office, are now proposing to reduce the rate even more, and by more than the 0.5 per cent reduction proposed by the incumbent Conservative Party:
Liberal Leader Stephane Dion has pledged to further reduce the Canadian federal corporate tax rate to better compete with other countries and strengthen Canada’s economic sovereignty. …Dion told the Economic Club of Toronto…"A lower corporate tax rate is a powerful weapon in the federal government’s arsenal to generate more investment, higher living standards and better jobs." …The previous Liberal government reduced the federal corporate tax rate to 19% from 28%. Dion said he would go deeper than the Conservatives have done with their reduction to 18.5% in 2011. …"If you lower the corporate tax rate, you lower the cost of capital for Canadian companies. Therefore, these companies are induced to spend more on capital equipment. As for foreign investment, we need a big hook to snare investment, including Canadian investment, that might otherwise go south of the border. Finally, it would strengthen Canadian companies against foreign takeover," Dion concluded.
It’s great news for taxpayers when politicians are competing with each other to reduce taxes. The same argument for corporation tax reduction applies in Britain too…