Oct 2007 25

The TPA’s analysis of today’s expense claim figures for MPs ranks the main Parties by the average amount claimed per MP in expenses. Travel expenses are excluded given the different geographic spread of the Parties.

Expensespartytable

Matthew Elliott, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“Conservative MPs should be proud that their average expenses are lower than the other political parties.  However, their expense claims have still gone up by around 7 per cent, far more than inflation, so there is still room for improvement.  Plaid Cymru MPs should go to the back of the class.”

Oct 2007 25

Money_2Have a read of this non-job an activist alerted us to:

Young Mayor Co-ordinator
£27,800 – £34,100 pa inc.

In October 2007, the young people of Newham have voted for their first ever Young Mayor. You will provide principal support to the Young Mayor, working with him to deliver his programme and effectively represent Newham’s young people both within and outside the borough. You will manage all communications with the Young Mayor, organise events and manage projects to support the Young Mayor and Young Council. You will deliver annual Young Mayor Elections and events for Local Democracy Week, working with Councillors, Officers and schools to ensure effective delivery.

You will have experience of working with young people, hopefully in youth representation. You will be an excellent communicator, highly organised and effective in project management, and used to working for politicians, whether in local government, Whitehall or Parliament.

As the Council has a normal retirement age of 65, the maximum age for recruiting new employees will usually be 64 1/2.

The London Borough of Newham recognises that everyone in Newham has the right to play a full part in the life of the borough. This means that everyone should have equal access to council services, job opportunities and to having their voices heard.

It is the council’s position that everyone should be treated fairly, without discrimination and with respect of their human rights, regardless of their gender, race, age, disability, sexual orientation, HIV status, religion, national or social origin or class.“

Horrified?  Then join up and get involved.  This is the reality of the battle we face, a mountainous bureaucracy creating non-jobs like this, this and the one above.  We need to expose more of this waste and hold them all to account.  Write to the Young Mayor of Newham asking him why he needs someone earning £34,000+ of taxpayers’ money to do the things his deputy mayor and the hundreds of other officers seemingly can’t.  Write to:

Zuhayb Ahmed
Young Mayor of Newham
Newham Town Hall
Barking Road
East Ham
E6 2RP
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 020 8430 2013

If you get any response, let us know.  Ask him of his opinions on waste, spending and tax.  Get his take on Council Tax.  If we can’t get through to the current generation of politicians, then we may as well start debating and discussing with the very people who will pay the price for this government’s over-spending, waste and mismanagement.

Oct 2007 25

In the wake of the TaxPayers’ Alliance inadvertently attracting media attention for their “non-job” of the week – as advertised by Sandwell Council – another job of ambiguous merit has surfaced on the Coventry City Council website…

Community Lifestyle Coach0110fat20belly
£22,293 – £27,492pa

A physical activity professional, you will work on the successful ‘One Body One Life’ programme. You will work with families to provide individualised physical activity support and deliver safe physical activity programmes within communities. Excellent communication, negotiation and motivation skills together with a sport or health degree will be essential.

The ‘One Body One Life’ programme is a taxpayer funded to drive to provide an ‘obesity and sedentary behaviour programme for Coventry children, young people and families’ – i.e. those who cannot be trusted must be supervised by the state.

On this programme the rest of us get to pay for ‘intervention’:

…an intensive 12 week course for families where one or more members are obese. An individualized health plan will be produced with the family to encourage ongoing small changes to improve healthy eating and physical activity levels. This will be supported by a weekly group healthy eating workshop and a weekly group physical activity session.

The intervention is also flanked by ‘prevention’ and ‘activities’ (only open to those who tip the scales of course) all in aid of keeping people in Coventry slimmer and, of course, over-taxed.

The taxpayer already shells out huge amounts of money for the NHS to treat obese people and now some are paying out for these ‘intervention’ courses at a local government level too – and if the salary of this lifestyle coach is anything to go by this stuff doesn’t come cheap!

It is not Coventry City Council’s job to make sure the citizens of Coventry aren’t obese and it isn’t the taxpayers’ responsibility to fund the salaries of ‘lifestyle coaches’. Those who have weight problems are free to join a gym or consult their doctors, and if the council cut-out programmes like this and lowered council taxes then more might be able to afford to take their own action.

Oct 2007 25

ClownsCan’t council bureaucrats find anything better to do than discourage social, voluntary activity helping the local community?  If you’ve read the Telegraph this morning you’ll see the disappointing story involving Broxbourne Council asking Stan and Jean Chatterton to stop cleaning a grass verge near their house.

In a letter to the couple, the council said their generous acts were getting in the way of the Council’s ability to “monitor the frequency we need to cut the area”. 

Therefore the council want to stop the Chatterton’s from cleaning, cutting and taking care of a grass verge because they want to do it themselves, using money from the taxpayer that could be put to other services because voluntary activity was taking care of the public area.

This yet more is proof of local government trying to carve out a role for itself where it simply has no role to play.  You, truly, couldn’t make it up.

Oct 2007 25

The Telegraph reports statistics from the ONS showing that middle class professionals are outliving builders and cleaners by as much as eight years:

Nlives125_2

One of the factors that the report cited as possibly affecting a person’s life expectancy was interesting:

"But the nature of people’s jobs also has an effect. If you have autonomy and control over what you do, you tend to be in better health."

This logic implies that reforms that give public sector employees more autonomy and control over how they provide services, with accountability for outcomes to the public instead of to politicians, are very much in the professionals’ interests.  This is possible within public services.  A study, Good people, good systems (PDF), by the Serco Institute found that when public services were managed by the private sector the staff found they had much greater freedom to act on their own initiative.  Here are some quotes from professionals who had moved from the public to the private sector (still working for public services):

‘Implementing change is much quicker.  In the private sector, you have the capacity to change quickly and to react almost instantaneously.  But it is left to individual [contract units] to react to the changing pace of the [customer] – head office is behind on these development most of the time.’

‘I am free to manage with greater autonomy, most certainly.  But that freedom comes with a price.  If you get it wrong – I’ve always accepted that if I’ve made a mess of my job I will be called to account at some stage.  It doesn’t have to be a nasty falling out; it’s just that if I run this contract and it doesn’t go well – either because we lose a lot of money, or the client is permanently unhappy with us, or we have a terrible safety record – it’s quite right that I should be called to account.’

Another factor contributing to poor healthcare outcomes among the poorest is that they tend to get let down most by the poor quality of British healthcare.  Dr. Thomas Stuttaford writes for the Times:

"In many deprived areas high blood pressure is still grossly underdiagnosed and treated poorly. Hyperlipidaemia – raised cholesterol levels – is ignored and few NHS patients know that their low-density lipoprotein levels are an essential indicator of possible trouble ahead. Breast screening, when compared with that of the rich, is too infrequent, discontinued too early and can even be desultory.

The average NHS practice still does not carry out or organise worthwhile cardiovascular assessment. It doesn’t measure blood sugar levels and renal function routinely, or determine the PSA levels of men so that it can diagnose prostate cancer in time for worthwhile intervention, or even understand the cardiac implications of progressive impotence.

Once a potentially lethal disease has been discovered, the quality of care that money can buy either in this country or abroad when compared with the standard NHS treatment is deeply worrying."

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