Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wonks Take Axe to Clegg’s Magic Money Tree

Nick Clegg’s big conference giveaway managed to last a few hours before it was comprehensively taken apart by policy wonks.

  • Centre for Policy Studies – free school meals for under 8s is yet another “universal benefit… a middle-class welfare gimmick”. Costing £600 million it is “not free at all. The money comes from somewhere. It comes from us.”
  • Taxpayers Alliance“This is a conference gimmick that is a misleading, but all too typical, attempt from politicians to wade in and pretend they are doing something about the pressure on the finances of struggling families by promising subsidies paid for with other people’s money.”
  • Institute of Economic Affairs - “This is an enormously bad use of public money. Not unreasonably, the government already ensures that those in need have access to free school meals, so it beggars belief that we are now going to see a policy instated which will subsidise the children of affluent families.
”
  • Adam Smith Institute - “Like so many of the Lib Dems’ policies (for instance, their supposed commitment to free university tuition) this is middle class welfare dressed up as help for the poor. It stinks about as much as the school dinners we’re all about to start paying for.”

Labour of course love it, despite even Ed Balls ditching their commitment to universal benefits. No prizes for guessing how the LibDems are framing this:

Conveniently forgetting that Maggie successfully fought the Treasury to keep free milk for under 7s and that the LibDems have now ensured minimum wage shelf stackers are paying for the lunches of millionaires’ kids. The deal is the Tories can now offer a £500 million tax break for married couples. That is over a billion a year of extra spending. The deficit is targeted at £120 billion this year. What austerity?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Simon Hughes Duck Donor Not All They’re Quacked Up to Be

As Simon Hughes was swanning around the stage at LibDem conference, Guido was peking into the LibDem Deputy Leader’s latest donations. He can reveal that London Duck Tours have been footing the bill for Hughes’ office upkeep to the tune of £4,950. Incidentally the business requires access to the Thames, and Hughes’ seat is in Southwark. The Liverpool branch of the company hit the news earlier this year when one of their amphibious bus boats sank with 31 people on board. No fowl play, however. Owner John Bigos winged it at the time, claiming that the fact he had fired half of his staff was not to blame for the poultry service. One donor who’s not contributing to the LibDems’ Million Jobs campaign then…

Monday, September 16, 2013

Pickles Pilgrim Reforms Will Save £400,000-a-Year

Militant PCS union getting off from their court battle with Eric Pickles hit DCLG in the pocket to the tune of £90,000. Good news then that the department’s union reforms are saving that figure several times over. New stats show cutting back on trade union facility time will save £400,000-a-year of taxpayers’ money. They have already cut back on the bonkers £245,644-a-year the department was spending under the Prime Mentalist in 2008/9, though £40,000-a-year is still far too high. An encouraging start but still a long way to go…

UPDATE: DCLG get in touch to stress that PCS now owe them money rather than the other way round.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Jacqui Smith Back on Public Teat from December

It wouldn’t be an expenses themed day without mentioning Jacqui Smith, and guess what?

The former Home Secretary will soon be back on the public teat. Smith is set to become Chairman University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Trust.

Kerching!

Mr and Mrs Bone’s £100,000 Taxpayer Bonanza

Peter Bone manages to shoehorn his wife “Mrs Bone” into almost every speech or question in the House. “Mrs Bone” has almost become a PMQs institution. What you might not know is you are paying for that dubious pleasure. New IPSA data reveals that Mrs Bone was paid between £45,000 and £49,999 last year. Meaning that between them the Bones are pocketing more than £100,000 from the taxpayer. Not so funny now, is it?

Monday, September 9, 2013

Rory Stewart’s Latest Trek

Despite advising the Prime Minister on international affairs, Tory MP Rory Stewart missed the crucial Commons vote over bombing Syria. His sheepish explanation is that he was at his sister’s wedding. As Guido revealed in the Sun yesterday, Rory almost made it back though he got stuck in traffic in Chiswick on the outskirts of London. Given he took a taxi from the West Country at a cost of £360 it was an expensive cock-up. Cameron sacked Jesse Norman for missing the vote so this might cost him yet. He certainly can’t justify making an expense claim if he didn’t vote. Guido understands he only missed the train by three minutes…

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Where Does “Most of the Money” for Labour Come From?

Yesterday the Labour press team were very insistent that Guido got his a story wrong when he claimed that Rachel Reeves was being less than honest when she said: “most of the money that the Labour Party receives comes from small donations and members”. When Guido pointed them to the last quarter’s donation figures, they split hairs:

They have subsequently refused to give any breakdown of the percentage of their income that comes from  donations and membership contributions, so Guido has crunched the numbers from their 2012 accounts. Last year Labour’s income was £33,024,000. That includes £8.8 million from the Trade Unions and £7.2 million from the taxpayer through opposition Short Money. When you add to that company donations above £7,000, plus the income from LLPs, trusts and Friendly Societies you get £17,023,243.79. This leaves, at most, £16,000,756.21 to come from individual donations, CLP contributions and membership fees – 48% of Labour’s income. This is likely a generous figure as it includes smaller donations from companies below the threshold for Electoral Commission registration.

As a self-proclaimed economist, Reeves will know 48% does not equal “most of the money that the Labour Party receives.”

UPDATE: Labour General Secretary has admitted “28% of party income is from membership subscriptions and small donations, 30% from commercial and fund-raising activities, 18% from grants and 23% from affiliated unions” according to Minutes of an NEC meeting.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Bercow Rents Out London Home Thanks to Taxpayer

One of the many perks of grace and favour pads is the additional chance to trough that they give those in high office through rental income. Despite being a record expense claimer in his days on the backbenches, John Bercow promised to clean up the system when he was appointed Speaker. Four years later Guido can reveal that he has cheekily rented out his London home, earning cash purely from the fact that the taxpayer houses him in Parliament. Is John all in it together?

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Loony Express

Hats off to the People’s Assembly for their money making wheeze. Organising a protest at Tory conference the left-field rainbow group of moaners and communists are selling train tickets from London Euston to Manchester on the opening Sunday of conference for £43.70. Which is odd given that Guido just went online and found a ticket for the same morning and return that evening for £32.50.

Canny little earner, that.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tories: Jean Edwards’ Cash Will Go to Debt Reduction

The Tories have announced that the £520,000 donation from Jean Edwards “will be used to reduce the national debt.”

Given that we owe more than £1,390,000,000,000 and rising, Tory MP Douglas Carswell points out:

“We’d need over 200,000 bequests like Ms Edwards’ this year just to stop national debt from continuing to rise.”

What a mess.


Seen Elsewhere

Boris is Right About Grammar Schools | Conservative Women
‘Obsolete’ Cable | Speccie
Why are Tories so Upbeat? | Alex Wickham
Clear Public Interest in Newmark Sting | Mirror
Boris Invites Farage to Join Tories | Guardian
RAF Too Run Down to Fight Islamic State | Con Coughlin
Osborne’s Personal Cuts Regime | Quentin Letts
Whoever Wins is Cursed | Janan Ganesh
Dave Will Never Be Forgiven if Ed Becomes PM | Trevor Kavanagh
What is Dave’s Big Message? | Tim Montgomerie
Voting UKIP Only Helps Ed | Boris


VOTER-RECALL
Find out more about PLMR


Mark Reckless told UKIP…

“We are more than a star on someone else’s flag.”



cynic says:

Can anyone help me? I went on holiday a week ago and returned to find someone has pulled out the stake and Gordon Brown is back and acting as Prime Minister. What did I miss? Has there been a snap election?


Tip off Guido
Web Guido's Archives

Subscribe me to:






RSS


AddThis Feed Button
Archive


Labels
Guido Reads
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,477 other followers