The Sunday appeal

Today I would like you to spare a thought and a few billion for the public sector fat cats. They have been going through a miserable time lately.

Fred Goodwin has been pilloried for his noble action in creating the largest loss making bank in UK financial history and for delivering it safely into the public sector.

Chief Executives the length and breadth of local government and quango land have been subject to abusive intrusions in to the privacy of their rewards by the Taxpayers Alliance, the Redwood website and others. They should be supported for increasing the costs of public services year after year, for keeping productivity down, and for tirelessly recruiting so many extra administrators, spin doctors, regulators and management consultants to help them. We need all the jobs we can get in a recession. One man’s productivity gain can be another man’s job loss.

Senior Regulators have been criticised for failing to stop abuses like sub prime mortgages, food poisoning and hospital infections. We need to stop these unrealistic expectations of these dedicated workers who have done so much to spread the box ticking passport carrying culture into every business and home.

All the public sector fat cats have been subject to criticism by the Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition.

Never a day goes by without some further assault on the rewards and further questioning of the work and performance of these important people. Worse still, Ministers who struggle to stay on the public fat cat list because their pay is so low, are assaulted for daring to fill in expense claims to keep them up there with the people they appoint and fail to supervise.

So today, I ask you to be generous. The fat cats need your tax contributions, and they need your sympathy. Never have so few been attacked so much by so many. So spare a few more billion. Your public sector banks need your help. Your public sector Chief Executives need their mega packages and their ample support staffs. Your Ministers need their housing allowances.

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25 Comments

  1. Waramess
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Asolutely right, Gordon wants us to spend and what better way than to enlist the help of David Cameron with a proposed 45 percent tax rate.

    We certainly don’t want to slim down the civil service and cause redundancies during a recession and offend Yvette, better that we increase the public sector wage costs until all of us are in the employ of HMG.

    We will then all have jobs that are free from the fear of redundancy and rightful dismissal; we will all have inflation proof pensions and we can all retire knowing that it will be our final salary that determines the pension and not the size of the pension pot.

    How will we pay? We will all continnue to pay our taxes as usual.

    Seriously, with David Camerons latest missive on tax it looks as if the slide to the left is getting a bit out of hand. Frankly if I am to be invited to vote for either Labour or one of the two other soft left parties I will not vote.

    If Gordon were to get in again it would at least force him to clear up his own mess.

    Cameron should take this seriously and look again at whether he would be beter placed to drastically cut government, even though it would mean taking the argument to Ms Cooper.

  2. Demetrius
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Were you at the Global Witness session hosted by Vince Cable and Denis McShane at the Palace of Westminster last Wednesday? If not, take a look at the report on Undue Diligence published by Global Witness. It makes very uncomfortable reading indeed.

    Another collection of documents has just been issued by the OECD. Last October it issued a discussion paper on High Net Worth Individuals, and on February 9th conferred on the subject. The discussion papers were published online on Wednesday 18 March, amongst them are one or two ripe ones that relate to Global Witness findings.

    No wonder there is some serious posturing going on by the Government about tax havens.

  3. Jim Pearson
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Nice sentiments! Shame that we can’t do anything really. I have come to the conclusion that the government will do what ever it likes, regardless of cost, or effectiveness to stay in power. My prediction is that they use Anti-terrorism Legislation to postpone the next election. I mean they’ve used it for just about everything else. Keep us going JR, cos I’m flagging…

    • mikestallard
      Posted March 22, 2009 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      They won’t need the anti-terrorist legislation.
      The electoral boundaries are unfair to the Conservatives; there are postal votes which usually bring in a Labour Majority; then there are the BBC and most newspapers, including the Murdoch Press; on top of that, there is the North South divide – especially in Scotland; finally, votes can be counted behind the rostrum where nobody can see them, as in Glenrothes. To top it all off, we have the enormous State Payroll which stretches from Fat Cats at the top, right down to Dole Recipients at the bottom.
      So, don’t count on a Conservative victory.

      • alan jutson
        Posted March 22, 2009 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

        Agreed, do not take a Conservative victory for granted.

        They do not look like a Government in waiting to me yet, or to most other people, which is really unbelievable when you think about it given the state and mess Labour has got us in.

        The situation says much about what still has to be done by the Conservatives to convince the majority that they are fit for Government.

        A sensible and understandable message/Policy seems to be sadly lacking at the moment.

  4. alan jutson
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Yes how interesting, clearly you have read the story of Mr McNulty in the Mail on Sunday today.

    It seems that he has been claiming many thousands of pounds of expenses for his Parents house in Harrow, which is further away from Westminster than his own home, which is only 3 miles from the House of Democracy.

    Sorry John, but this snouts in the trough attitude of “its still within the rules” does not wash any more, and tarnishes all MPs with the same brush, guilty or not.

    It is about time that MPs were built a secure block of flats (simple but comfortable 2 bedrooms is enough) at the public expense, within very easy commuter distance from Westminster, and then all of the tax free allowances, John Lewis lists, travel expenses and the like, were stopped completely.

    Yes of course we have to have MPs residing within a short distance from Westminster for late night all day sittings and votes, but many ordinary workers also have unsocial hours which they have to cope with every day, without any recompense at all.

    As for all of the other organisations you mention, it goes as read that we have too many, earning too much, contributing little other than chaos and confusion to those who are paying for them (The Taxpayer)

    • philip riley
      Posted March 22, 2009 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      We are already building an Olympic village, why couldn’t we use that for MP’s accomodation after the Games.

  5. Stuart Fairney
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    According to the BBC News website

    “Mr McNulty stopped claiming the allowance in January because interest rates had fallen so much that he could afford to pay the mortgage from his MP’s salary”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7957555.stm

    Well that’s me wholly placated. I regard this as entirely sincere and completely true and wholly unrelated to the furore this issue was generating in January.

  6. Jonathan
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    A comment on the 45p tax row. While over the long term I believe lower taxes lead to a more productive economy, I think there is a case for DC and GO’s current tactics.

    If a timeline is put on when the tax rise will reverse (eg 4 years), then those who are wealth creators in the private sector will be able to juggle their tax affairs so that they do not pay the extra tax (eg take bonuses as shares, into pension, capital gains etc.). End result, wealth creators are not put off their hard work.

    In the public sector, those fat cats whose wages might prove politically difficult to reduce, will instead have their tax increased.

    • Steven_L
      Posted March 23, 2009 at 12:22 am | Permalink

      There’s only a handful of public sector ‘fatcats’ that earn over £150k a year. Five per cent over that amount will make diddly squat difference.

      I don’t see why it is politically difficult to reduce the wages of council chief execs and quangocrats either.

      It might be legally difficult, but when you’re the government and you can make new legislation that shouldn’t be too much of a problem.

      What really needs to happen though is for someone to go through every ‘public service’ with a fine-toothed comb, identify areas that can become self-funding and force through the necessary changes no matter how much the bureaucrats and civil servants throw their toys out of the pram.

  7. Ian Jones
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    The 45% tax thing is a non starter, those who earn 150K and above will simply get pay rises to take it into account. Dont get so hung up on a Labour trap, it wont affect anyone including the fat cat public sector workers who will also get more (i.e Local council Chief Execs).

    Lets see what goodies Gordon tries to give away at the budget, his mate Obama just chucked another trillion in the ring so its his turn.

    I do hope Mervyn King has the balls to put up interest rates to offset it.

  8. Martin
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    On the subject of big government does Jackboot Jacquie store all comments on blogs someplace? She is already storing all our airline reservations.
    Train spotting is now illegal as this function has been taken over by the surveillance state.

    So keep flying and don’t look at the trains as we have a database state to keep going. (We make East Germany look like amateurs!)

    • Stuart Fairney
      Posted March 22, 2009 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      Looking at a news report today, I tick three boxes for being a terrorist, namely, I have a foreign wife, I like to sit close to the exit on a plane and shock, horror, I have been to Iran with aforesaid foreign wife to meet her wider family.

      With the database culture being what it is, can I expect rendition to be tortured abroad somewhere and subsequently confessing that I in fact shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand thus triggering WW1?

      Or maybe they will just deny me the chance to get on the plane to go skiing in Austria on grounds which won’t be disclosed for “security” reasons. (25,000 names a month are added to the American no-fly list for example).

      As a middle-aged, football-watching, wine-drinking pretty ordinary Brit, I really do have nothing to hide, but with an Iranian visa in my passport, a foreign wife and an internet record of mocking the government, I am not loving this development at all. That and the fact I just saw “Rendition” on DVD.

  9. Derek W. Buxton
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Bottom line, (disapproves in strong language of McNulty’s housing claims-ed). why does everyone think the government has money, it does not have any at all. It takes it from us the taxpayers and should have to account for every penny.

    Derek

  10. Simon D
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Journalists, academics and other commentators should promote more public debate about the client state [CS]. New Labour’s genius has been not just to expand the CS but also bring about a revolution in the way it is remunerated. The pay-back will be in New Labour votes at the next election. Change? Who wants it if you work for the CS.

    If you live out of London and the South East and the two of you are working in middle management CS jobs you are both in clover and can live a good lifestyle.

    Until about 2000 CS jobs were pretty well second division in terms of pay and perks but New Labour has now succeeded in introducing a fat cat element. Six figure and near six figure salaries are becoming more and more common. My advice to the young would be to seriously consider a CS job. The pay is good, there are spurious “performance” bonuses, rock solid pensions and you can’t be sacked. The main downside is the atmosphere of uber-political correctness in the work place.

    It is all very well for the Tories to talk of cutting back on the public sector but if I and my wife had a cushy CS job I would think twice before I voted for them.

    The tragedy for MPs is that they can’t participate in the game and, on a miserable basic salary of £62,000 must resort to fiddling their expenses.

  11. Neil Craig
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    With Ernst & Young forecasting a £180 billion deficit this year (12.5% of a GNP of which under 50% is the productive private sector) I am sure we will be sparing them many billions.

  12. oldrightie
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    A brilliant understanding of public finances now equalled by a solid grasp of irony!

  13. adam
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    and Wossy, Paxman and co. need their tribute

  14. david
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Well at least they’ll be paying a little more tax, even if it’s only symbolic.

    Tory plans on inheritance tax kicked into the long grass, hints Clarke
    12:18 | 22/03/2009
    Ken Clarke, Shadow Business Secretary
    The Politics Show, BBC 1

    Mr Clarke said Tory plans to raise the inheritance tax threshold would not be a priority if they win the next election.

    Hinting plans had been kicked into the long grass, he called inheritance tax reform “an aspiration” but not something they would do “the moment we take power”.

    Asked if inheritance tax was ‘off the shelf’, he said: “We’ll have to consider when we get in when we can afford to do that… I really don’t think Labour’s going to leave us in a position where we can make that our highest priority.”

    He also defended his party’s decision over the 45p top rate of tax but admitted the move would not raise much money.

    “We couldn’t possibly expect people on ordinary incomes to understand why you would be easing that in a time of…enormous public debt.

    “We have to make sure the rich pay their fair share” alongside the generality, he said.

    But, he added: “It’s a symbolic tax increase. It isn’t going to raise much money.”

    What it will raise “will help”, he claimed, but he would prefer to tackle the Government’s proposals to raise National Insurance contributions.

    “If you’re facing huge problems of unemployment…and do what the government is doing by making it more expensive to employ people…you’re going to slow down the recovery,” he said.

    Hmmm thought Osborne was the Shadow Chancellor, obviously I was mistaken, looks like Ken has taken over.

  15. mikestallard
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Love the irony!
    All pretence that the Labour Party is the party of the working class is now gone. All those faux working class accents under Tony, yer know, Blair and his cohorts are now passe. All the pretence that the working class is now the party of government is gone. “The People’s Party” is now a joke.
    What we have instead is a group of professionals determined to keep their salaries and to award their friends and clients taxpayers’ money.
    Personally, I hope that the affaire Brown will spell the end of the Socialist dram in Britain for ever just as the other PM who sold honours – Lloyd George – spelled the end of the Liberal Party.

  16. Bazman
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    I have always supported the fact that their is fun and sunshine, enough for everyone. Let sunshine rule the day. As Cameron says.

  17. no one
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    plenty of regulation in the nhs

    still providing poor excuse for care and making so many mistakes

  18. Disillusioned
    Posted March 22, 2009 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    That’s a bit rich when I see that you’ve claimed close to £85k in second home allowance according to the Daily Mail. Would you like to justify that to people who are earning £25K to £35k a year and living in London?

    131. Wokingham: John Redwood (Tory), £84,521

    Reply: I have sent details to all my electors of what I claim. I do claim for a bedsit flat in Westminster as my main home is in Wokingham. I am pleased to say I am one of the lowest cost MPs, as the figures reveal.

    • alan jutson
      Posted March 23, 2009 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      John I agree with your answer.
      As one of your constituants, I am as you advise, fully aware of your expenses/allowances record over the years.

      Think you are about 535 on the list at the moment, so 534 are claiming more than you.
      Source independent figures.

      Having said that, I think this whole allowance thing is now well past its sell by date, it has to be reformed, there is just too much incentive for some, for maximising income the way it is at present..

  19. Victor, NW Kent
    Posted March 23, 2009 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    C. Day Lewis – 1943
    From “You That Love England”

    You above all who have come to the far end, victims
    Of a run-down machine, who can bear it no longer;
    Whether in easy chairs chafing at impotence
    Or against hunger, bullies and spies preserving
    The nerve for action, the spark of indignation-
    Need fight in the dark no more, you know your enemies.
    You shall be leaders when zero hour is signalled,
    Wielders of power and welders of a new world.

    Prophetic.

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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