Tag Archives: salary

New council chief gets £55 for UNCONTESTED elections – and there’s no money for services

Powys County Hall.

What a barmy contradiction!

Powys is, geographically, the largest county in Wales – with the smallest population. It habitually receives the least extra cash in the annual settlement from the Welsh Assembly.

As a result, it struggles to provide services – partly because private companies that carry out many of those services assume local authorities have money to burn and charge accordingly (I had that from a council officer).

It must be true, the reasoning runs, because just look at the salaries paid to the council’s chief officers.

And salaries paid to chief officers are high because if they weren’t on a par with richer councils, nobody would even offer to do the job.

So everyone with a chance to demand more is on the take – and who can blame them in these uncertain times?

And public services suffer.

But the only reason we pay our taxes – council tax, income tax, and any other tax that feeds into local authority budgets – is to receive public services.

But (again) we can’t withhold our tax money on the grounds that these services are being withheld from us, because that is a crime and we would be fined at the very least (thereby giving more money into the pot).

Whatever happens, we lose. And this will continue as long as public servants are paid £55 for doing nothing at all.

Incoming Powys chief executive Dr Caroline Turner, has been given a cash boost worth more than £25,000 by Powys councillors.

This will be on top of her salary of £138,000 a year.

At the Full PCC meeting on Thursday, January 24, councillors had to appoint Dr Turner to … statutory roles [including] election returning officer.

There are five sets of fees, some of which are set by external bodies:

Parliamentary elections fees which are set at Westminster – £2,685 for Brecon and Radnorshire and £2,500 for Montgomeryshire.

Welsh Assembly election fees of £4,730 for Brecon and Radnorshire and for Montgomeryshire it’s £4,730.

Elections for Police and Crime Commissioner (set by the Police and Crime Commissioner Board) – £2,870 for Brecon and Radnorshire and £2,574 for Montgomeryshire.

European Elections (which may not happen again) – £5,952.

Local Government elections £110 per contested ward and £55 per uncontested ward.

Source: POWYS: New Chief Executive gets over 25k payment boost | County Times

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Here’s why people in the UK have really strange ideas about wealth

Laura Pidcock MP.

Isn’t it odd that people think if you’re wealthy, you can’t sympathise with or support people who aren’t as fortunate?

Labour MP Laura Pidcock had a taste of that attitude, as the record on Twitter showed:

The critic was a chap called Bryon Backhouse who appears to have deleted his Twitter history/account and started again after this embarrassing incident.

His comment, “Nice boots Laura, but at £380 a pair my wife will have to make do with slippers from M&S,” indicates a suggestion that her socialism is fake – that she’s in Parliament for the large MP salary that allows her to afford a pair of pricey boots.

Ms Pidcock swiftly put him straight: “LOL they were about £40”.

You have to laugh yourself, don’t you?

And John Scratcher’s response, “He’s probably trying the old fallacy that someone on £75k isn’t allowed to care about poor people,” seems right on the button.

Of course it isn’t true.

The measure of a citizen in today’s United Kingdom isn’t the amount they earn; it’s whether they are willing to pay their way – to give up a proportionate amount of their income for the state to use, investing in the economy or providing social security.

Sadly, too many Conservatives seem determined to avoid this responsibility – hiding their wealth in tax havens or pursuing other ways of avoiding paying their fair share.

If anybody thinks it is a coincidence that the UK is due to leave the European Union a matter of days before new EU laws come into force, forbidding tax avoidance, they need to think again.

So, for me, a person who takes home a huge amount of money is entitled to every penny – apart from the amount that is levied by the state.

As that person has benefited from economic conditions created by the state, it seems only right that they should contribute as well.

It seems clear that Ms Pidcock does indeed contribute in that way. I wonder if her critic does?

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Here’s how much NHS pay has fallen due to the Conservative public sector pay cap


For information. This is highly topical in the light of recent comments by Tory MP Eddie Hughes.

The damage inflicted on the living standards of NHS staff by the Government’s pay freezes and caps has been underlined by new figures, which show the average health worker enduring a real terms cut of almost £2,000 over the past seven years.

The figure, highlighted by the GMB union, will intensify the pressure on the Government to lift the 1 per cent public sector pay cap, for all public sector workers.

The median average salary of all NHS staff in June 2017 was £31,526 a year, according to data from the health service released on Thursday.

That compares with a like-for-like figure of £29,132 in August 2010.

Consumer price inflation has risen by 15 per cent over that period, translating into a real terms cut for these workers of £1,985 a year.

Yet the average conceals that some NHS workers have suffered still bigger real terms reductions in pay.

The pay of ambulance staff is down £5,286 in real terms and for midwives it is £3,504 lower.

Read more: Public sector pay cap: NHS staff real income cut by almost £2,000 over seven years of wage squeeze


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Tory MPs should consider their own privileged position before lecturing others on how lucky they are

Nurses were angered at Tory MP Eddie Hughes’ suggestion they have a good deal compared to other workers [Image: Getty]


Eddie Hughes has demonstrated that he is living proof of the inverse ration between the amount of intelligence a Conservative MP has and the amount of time they spend flapping their lips in public.

Before he criticised nurses, he should have considered the fact that, as a Tory MP, he is also paid more than hairdressers, plumbers or carpenters – and much more than nurses.

And all he does for a living is flap his lips!

He should also have considered that, as an MP, he is ultimately responsible for deciding the amount that nurses are paid. Sure, a statutory organisation is said to set the figure, but it can only do this within limits set by MPs – people like Mr Hughes.

And he should have considered the fact that hairdressers, plumbers or carpenters, if they are self-employed, determine their own rate of pay according to the state of their business’s finances. As an MP, he can benefit from inflation-busting pay rises, no matter how badly his party has mismanaged the country, because he can always rely on nurses, hairdressers, plumbers or carpenters to pay their taxes.

And, as far as This Writer can tell, hairdressers, plumbers and carpenters haven’t complained about nurses’ pay.

If he had considered these elements, perhaps Mr Hughes would have said something different or – preferably – held his tongue.

But then, that’s the problem with Tory MPs like Mr Hughes: No consideration.

Nurses have been told by a Tory MP they get paid more than “hairdressers, plumbers or carpenters”.

Eddie Hughes MP has sparked anger by claiming junior nurses already have a good deal compared to other workers.

His intervention during a Parliamentary debate has caused anger among campaigners calling for a lifting of the 1% below- inflation pay cap which has left nurses £3,000 worse off.

The NHS faces an unprecedented staffing crisis with 40,000 nurse jobs unfilled.

Mr Hughes, Conservative MP for Walsall North, said: “Many workers in my constituency are employed as hairdressers, plumbers or carpenters, and what pay rise do they get?”

Read more: Tory MP sparks fury after claiming junior nurses are paid more than “hairdressers, plumbers or carpenters”


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Bosses have already made more money this year than you will by the end of December

A protester in a fat cat suit stands outside RBS in London in 2012 [Image: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP].

This is another perennial story, like the annual protest against rail fare increases.

As far as This Writer can tell, it is taking company executives less time to reach the national average every year – and let’s not forget that, if you take the top 10 per cent of salaries out of that average, you get an average of round £12-13,000, which is much closer to what most people are likely to get.

So company executives probably made (we can’t say “earned”) more than you and me by lunchtime on January 3, bearing in mind that January 1 was a bank holiday (and a Sunday).

We know that executive pay is not linked to company performance – bosses have awarded themselves 30 per cent rises while at firms whose profits have increased by only one per cent or thereabouts.

One argument is that they reward themselves according to their company’s share price on the stock market – but of course they never take an equivalent pay cut when those prices fall.

And employees never see such extravagant increases – they only do the work.

Theresa May promised to “reform capitalism” with an idea to bring employees onto the remuneration committees of these big firms – but backed down after she became prime minister; she didn’t need to keep her promises now that she had what she wanted.

So the outlook for the rest of us is bleak while the so-called “fat cats” have all the fun.

That’s our medicine for the sickness a quarter of us suffered at the ballot box in May 2015: You vote Conservative, you get shafted.

The UK’s top bosses will have made more money by lunchtime on Wednesday than the typical UK worker will earn all year, according to an analysis that exposes the gulf between executives and the rest of the workforce.

On “Fat Cat Wednesday” campaigners say that public anger with elites will intensify unless action is taken to tackle excess among executives at a time when pressures on household budgets are rising.

The High Pay Centre calculated that the average FTSE 100 boss now earns more than £1,000 an hour, meaning they will pass the UK average salary of £28,200 by around midday on Wednesday. The thinktank said that after enjoying rapid earnings growth in recent years, leading bosses now typically earn 129 times more than their employees.

Source: UK bosses make more in two and a half days than workers earn all year | Money | The Guardian

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Would MPs defend their pay rise if we all demanded the same working rights?

Median average earnings for the bottom 90 per cent of people in the UK amount to around 12,000 or £13,000, so the pay rise over the last six years – for the lowest-earning MPs – is around three-quarters of that.

This year’s rise is equivalent to one-third of my Carer’s Allowance. I know I’m allowed to earn money on top of that – but then, so are they.

And this is just the base rate for MPs. Those with special responsibilities – the Speaker and his assistants, committee chairs, cabinet and shadow cabinet members – all earn more. Some of them earn much, much more.

We can only come to one conclusion:

These people are ripping us off. And IPSA has to go.

But, you know what? Perhaps we should play them at their own game.

Clearly, they would like us to believe that they are held to very high standards.

So let us demand equality – that those standards are applied equally to everybody. The same rules on working hours. The same workers’ rights. The same rules on expenses claims…

Would that work?

MPs are expected to receive a 1.4% pay rise worth more than £1,000 in April next year, taking their salaries to £76,011.

Increases are based on the annual change in average weekly earnings across the public sector, which the Office for National Statistics calculated on Thursday at 1.4%.

The increase amount will be confirmed in February but is unlikely to change much by then, sources said. It follows a 1.3% rise this year, which followed a big increase from £67,000 to £74,000.

The rise is much greater than that received by most public sector workers, who have been subject to austerity restrictions since 2010.

Responsibility for setting MPs’ pay was handed to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) in an effort to defuse controversy. The watchdog recommended a significant increase despite the coalition government cutting spending and imposing austerity on the public sector.

Source: MPs expected to receive pay rise of more than £1,000 | Money | The Guardian

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How many MPs really stuck to their pay rise charity pledge?

[Image: The Sun (and I never thought I’d be typing that into a Vox Political caption!)]

Pro-SNP commenters to Vox Political have queried the claim that only 26 out of the UK’s 650 MPs have donated their £7,000 pay rise to charity, after 69 promised to do so.

They have claimed that all 56 SNP MPs have handed over the difference between MPs’ pay before the pay rise and the current rate to charity.

So let’s try to straighten the record. The report in The Sun states the following:

According to campaign website Donate My Pay Rise, 20 Tories, 30 Labour members, three Lib Dems, 15 from the SNP and one Green had all pledged to help good causes.

But only 25 confirmed to us they had donated or were currently preparing to do so.

However, one MP who had not made the pledge, confirmed he had donated his pay rise.

Dozens on both sides of the House refused to say if they had given it away or pocketed it themselves.

Not a single SNP MP who publicly pledged to donate the money to worthy local causes responded to questions from The Sun.

Source: MPs go back on pay rise charity pledge | The Sun |News|Politics

Now, it’s possible that the SNP’s Westminster contingent have refused to discuss the matter with The Sun on principle, as it is a right-wing, Tory-loving excuse for a newspaper that wasn’t worth wrapping around your chips when you were still allowed to do that.

But the fact that only 15 SNP MPs appear to have made the pledge, according to the campaigning site Donate My Pay Rise, plays very poorly for the Party.

News reports do state that the Party’s leadership ordered SNP MPs to donate the pay increase to charity. But Donate My Pay Rise, which quotes Angus Robertson from the article to which I’ve linked, only attributes the comment to him personally and not the Parliamentary Party as a whole. It is, in fairness, a comment that could be interpreted either way.

For the sake of fairness, This Blog will have to side with the evidence available. For now, that means The Sun and Donate My Pay Rise.

However:

If all 56 SNP MPs really have passed this money on to charity, perhaps the best way to demonstrate this is to contact Donate My Pay Rise, explain that Mr Robertson’s comment extended to the entire Parliamentary Party, and provide proof that the money has indeed been passed to charity at some point prior to the publication of the Sun article on October 31.

That seems the most reasonable solution to this question.

However (again): Even with all 56 SNP MPs contributing their shares of the pay rise to charity, that makes a total of just 81 MPs contributing out of 650, leaving a “silent majority” (Tory Tobias Ellwood’s words, not mine) of 569 pocketing the cash.

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Threat to automatic union fee payments is petulant obstruction

Conservative ministers know that the automatic payment of trade union subscriptions from salaries is achieved by a simple keystroke these days – it is absolutely no burden on employers.

Their plan to stop public sector workers from paying in this manner should therefore be seen as what it is – a sulky, ill-tempered attack on the workforce for daring to belong to a workers’ representative organisation.

The process is not outdated – it’s bang-up-to-date.

Ending it would not give workers more control – they have control now, simply by saying that they are union members and they want their subscriptions taken from their salaries.

Ending it would increase the burden on workers’ already-limited personal time – they would have to go through the time-consuming process of creating direct debits from their bank accounts.

This is a waste of time for everybody involved.

The purpose is obvious – reduce union funding, making it more difficult for them to take industrial action, as the Conservative Government’s unnecessary attack on workers intensifies over the next few years.

The philosophy is that workers are lazy, and won’t be bothered to create the direct debits necessary to keep the funds flowing to the unions.

It seems unlikely that the plan will be hard-fought in Parliament. Let’s face it, New Labour was hardly union-friendly, despite receiving a great deal of funding from them.

If this proposal is enacted, then it will be up to the unions to make sure members can make the change quickly and easily – most probably by drawing up the direct debit agreement for them, so all they have to do is check it, sign and deliver it.

Clever union leaders will also use this as a springboard for a membership drive, pointing out that it can only be a prelude to further attacks on the UK’s workforce.

Are you going to fight this erosion of your rights – or are you just going to bend over for the Conservatives and let them do whatever they want to you?

Plans to stop public sector workers automatically paying subscriptions to trade unions through their salaries have been unveiled by the government.

Ministers say the process is “outdated” and ending it would give workers more control and save more than £6m a year by cutting employers’ administration.

But unions could lose funds and say it is a “vindictive political attack” that will “poison industrial relations”.

It follows plans for reforms of union laws, including tighter strike rules.

Civil servants, teachers and nurses are among the union members who will have to arrange for the fees to be collected from their bank accounts by direct debit, under the proposals to update legislation in the Trade Union Bill.

 The government says the so-called check-off system of taking union dues through wages was introduced at a time when many workers did not have bank accounts.

It said it was now a “taxpayer-funded administrative burden” on employers.

Source: Automatic union fee payments ‘to end in public sector’ – BBC News

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Tory economic policy has cost every household at least £4,000 – and aims to take more

Bottom of the class: George Osborne based his 'Long-Term Economic Plan' on a spreadsheet error by American economists. [Image: Gaianeconomics]

Bottom of the class: George Osborne based his ‘Long-Term Economic Plan’ on a spreadsheet error by American economists. [Image: Gaianeconomics]

If you’re thinking, “That headline isn’t news”, you’re right.

It is, however, the main point troubling Professor Simon Wren-Lewis in his latest Mainly Macro blog article. He states that Tory chancellor George Osborne started out in a similar position and with a relatively similar policy to Labour’s Gordon Brown, but caused huge damage to household finances, whereas Brown did not.

“The answer, of course, is that the … contexts were different,” writes the learned professor. “Osborne’s austerity happened when the economy was just starting a recovery from a deep recession, and interest rates were at their then Zero Lower Bound (ZLB) of 0.5%… When interest rates are at the ZLB, monetary policy cannot counteract the negative impact of fiscal austerity on output.”

In other words, with austerity shrinking the economy, nothing else Osborne did would have stopped your wages from shrinking too. It is entirely possible that Osborne was perfectly aware of this.

This is how George Osborne probably looked after the fire in his pants caused by his incessant lying about the EU’s £1.7bn bill burned away the rest of his suit. Note that his briefcase is still empty of policies and all he has to offer us is the carrot of false promises [Image: Kaya Mar www.kayamarart.com].

George Osborne: His briefcase is still empty of policies and all he has to offer us is the carrot of false promises [Image: Kaya Mar www.kayamarart.com].

Yet he is planning an even bigger austerity squeeze on your incomes if the Conservatives form a government after this year’s election.

Professor Wren-Lewis dismisses the possibility that Osborne does not understand what he has been doing: “A much more plausible explanation for his actions were that the macroeconomic risks were understood, but were put to one side for political and ideological reasons.

“First the possibility of hitting Labour with a populist concern about the deficit was too great a temptation to resist for a Chancellor for whom political tactics are everything. Second, austerity was a means of implementing an unpopular policy of reducing the size of the state by the back door.”

He adds: “Now you may cynically say that in a contest between economics and politics/ideology, politicians will always choose the latter. However much that is true or false, when that choice costs each household at least £4,000, it would be very strange if that politician survived the judgement of the electorate.”

Perhaps so – but he and his party are banking on the electorate being too ignorant of the facts to realise this. That’s why I put it in the headline.

Campaigning in the centre of a small Mid Wales town yesterday, This Writer asked one group of young people (in their twenties or thereabouts), who quite clearly had limited means, which way they were going to vote. They ignored the question and walked on for several paces, then one turned around and, raising his fist to the air, yelled, “Conservative all the way!”

George Osborne is relying on people like this for his party’s survival.

We have to foil him by educating them.

It is a task that won’t end after the election; in fact, it is a task that may not end in our lifetimes.

But it is the only way to protect ourselves from continual exploitation by an entitled class of layabouts who expect us to do all the work while they have all the privileges handed to them on a plate.

Please share this article if you agree.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Is Farage more out-of-touch than the Tories?

Hooray Henry? Nigel Farage sends himself up - or perhaps he really is like this [Image: Independent].

Hooray Henry? Nigel Farage sends himself up – or perhaps he really is like this [Image: Independent].

Politics must be completely corrupt if Nigel Farage is accurate in his claim that he doesn’t know anybody in politics as poor as himself and his wife.

Don’t sharpen the knives yet – it doesn’t seem likely.

He makes his claim during a new Channel 4 documentary, Steph and Dom Meet Nigel Farage, in which the UKIP leader – who will contest the South Thanet seat in Kent next May – chats over drinks with the ‘posh’ couple from Gogglebox.

It’s an extraordinary remark, considering he once claimed his salary and expenses as an MEP were worth £250,000 a year (£3.75 million so far), while his wife – also on the EU payroll – makes £30,000 per annum.

His current official salary is £79,000, plus office allowances of £42,600 a year. His wife’s salary brings the total up to £109,000 per year, according to The Independent.

According to that paper, “The UKIP leader says he only has one ‘small semi-detached house in the country’, that he does not drive a ‘flash car’, and that he and Kirsten Farage ‘don’t have expensive holidays, we haven’t done for 10 years’.”

He should tell that to people living in fear of eviction from their flats because of the bedroom tax, who have never had a car of any kind and must rely on sketchy public transport services instead, and who have not had a holiday of any kind since before the Coalition came into office.

What response do you think he’d get?

His household earnings of £2,096 per week are more than four times as much as those of the average UK full-time employee (£517pw) and that house of his is said to be worth £540,000 alone.

He doesn’t understand poverty. In the documentary he falls down steps and smashes a glass of champagne. Champagne!

In a Radio Times interview about the show, Farage says he had drunk two-and-a-half pints in the pub with the couple, and then enjoyed a “steady consumption” of five or six glasses of wine and champagne. He goes on to blame the smashed glass on his injuries from the plane crash in which he was involved on the day of the 2010 general election (which itself tells you a great deal about his lifestyle).

It’s a good story because – like David Cameron’s use of his late son in defending the Coalition’s cuts to the NHS – it stops others from questioning him as that would suggest a lack of respect for what he went through.

However, Vox Political doesn’t believe it’s true for a moment – unless Farage is blaming his incessant (in the media) alcohol consumption on the crash.

Isn’t it more likely to have been because his lifestyle owes more to the Hooray Henries of the 1980s than the White Van Man of today?