Yesterday, the BBC reported that according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), public sector workers are paid on average 7.8% more than their private sector counterparts. This is an increase of 2.5% in the last three years. When you factor in generous pension entitlements, the gap will be wider. Faced with tough spending choices, and a need to bring down the public sector wage and pension bill, why is Waltham Forest Council employing a Laughter Yoga Teacher? Here's what Liza Moon, the aforementioned teacher has to say about her job:
“It can help with depression and reduces pain and stress. At a time when people are going to be affected because they are losing their jobs, this is something that can help with depression and lift up people's mindsets. It is such a simple thing but it can do so much for a person's health.
Laughing can be contagious and when people are watching other people laugh, they will start laughing as well. When a person starts to laugh, the brain tells the mind that a person is happy, thereby releasing those chemicals.”
I enjoy a laugh, although I am told my jokes are hopeless! There are many classes you can attend to make you feel better, and support groups run by charities to help people with depression. During times of reining in spending, this is not a justifiable expense. As someone said on the local newspaper's website:
Laughter is the best medicine, they say, but when the medicine being handed out to the public services at present is so bitter I think strories like these, which in the past would be seen as 'silly season' fillers, are, like the medicine itself, increasingly hard to swallow.
Three months ago, I highlighted Morgan Hunt were advertising for a Programme Manager for a healthcare provider in the South West, paying £200-£300 a day. The same company are now advertising for a Programme Manager in the South West, but this time for a local government client. Once again this is a temporary position, and once again we don't know who the local government client is. What we do know is the job pays between £550-£750 a day - or £2750-£3750 a week!
To give this some perspective, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is looking to recruit a Counter Terrorism Senior Research Analyst. The successful candidate 'will advise senior officials and ministers helping to inform and influence overseas Counter Terrorism strategy'. Helping to protect the nation from terrorist threats is a very important role, and whoever gets this job will receive a salary of £35K a year. Yet a Programme Manager for an unnamed local government client in the South West is set to pocket more per day than a Counter Terrorism Senior Research Analyst will earn in a week. They will (on a temporary basis) earn more than cabinet ministers, the prime minister and some of the permanent secretaries of many government departments.
This 'local government client' must have money to burn - our money, yet the council taxpayers in this unknown part of the South West will have to pay for it out of their taxes. If anyone knows who this council is, please get in touch. Any information you give us will be treated in the strictest confidence.