What the Helic? SpAd Bill Soars to £8.4 Million
+ + + No. 10 Stuffed with 27 Special Advisers to the PM + + +

£8.4 million of taxpayer cash was spent on 103 SpAds in the last year, a 17% rise on the year before.

Chasing headlines in 2010, Cameron made a big deal of cutting the number of SpAds from 82 to 61. He now personally has 27. Twenty-f**king-seven spin doctors, bag carriers and wonky strategists. No. 10 now has almost half the number of SpAds as served the entire government just five years ago.

Nick Clegg now has twenty special advisers. Nearly double the amount that Jesus got by with.

Why does Esther McVey need a Special Adviser beyond a reshuffle consolation prize, and why is she paid more than dozens of others on the list who report to real cabinet ministers?

Why does the Chief Whip have three advisers at a cost of around £150,000? What are they doing – because there’s no real legislation going through the House?

And finally, Guido cannot fathom why, in his new role as Leader of the House, William Hague still needs three SpAds costing us almost £200,000. Bizarrely Arminka Helic is retained as his adviser on £70,000-a-year, despite recently being ennobled and therefore allowed to claim a £300-a-day allowance in the House of Lords.

What a bloody racket.

UPDATE: Hard to disagree with Angela Eagle:

“Another day, another broken promise from David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

“David Cameron promised to get the cost of politics down but under him the number of Special Advisers spirals ever upwards – the public are now picking up bill of over £8m to pay for his appointees.

“This also shows how you can’t trust a word Nick Clegg says. The Lib Dems used to say that Special Advisers shouldn’t be paid for by the public but as soon as he got his feet under the Cabinet table he broke his word. The cost to the public of Lib Dem Special Advisers is over £1.7million – Nick Clegg alone has more advisers working for him than he has female MPs.”

UPDATE II:

Going, Going… Wrong

“Good evening everybody and welcome to Sotheby’s,” said Tory co-chairman Lord Feldman at a fundraising auction last week… At Christie’s.

The real joke was the fact a signed copy of Cameron’s flop of an immigration speech went for £45,000.

BREAKING: Dirty Desmond Donates £300,000 to UKIP

Seems he’s forgiven Patrick O’Flynn then…

UPDATE: 

Who will ask Farage the Paxo questions?

 

Tony Blair: Be Nice to Politicians and Pay Them More Please

Blair has some extraordinary demands in the New York Times today – pay politicians more and stop being mean to me, or them even:

“…politicians are not really well paid by the standards of those who are successful in the private sector. This restricts the attractions of a political career, at exactly the time when we most need the gene pool of our politicians to be varied, vibrant and vigorous.”

“People have to accept that governing involves difficult choices, and politicians ought to be respected for making them, not abused.”

Nope.

Everything You Need to Know About the Autumn Statement

growthstatement

Helpfully compiled by the BBC.

Osborne’s Kwasi NHS Spending Pledge

Kwasi Kwarteng isn’t backing down from his comments splashed in the Indy that NHS spending will have to be cut to clear the deficit:

“My general point was that if you’re going to have a serious debate about deficit reduction, everything has to be on the table. Now I’m not saying we’re going to cut the NHS, what I am saying is that there’s a serious deficit problem and you have to start thinking quite radical things if you are serious about dealing with the deficit. The alternative is to keep borrowing money indefinitely.”

Osborne has just announced £3 billion worth of extra cash for the NHS…

Revealed: Broke UKIP HQ Salaries in Full

UKIP’s briefing wars have found their way onto the pages of the Times once again. Cringe-worthy tales of well remunerated spinners spending their days pinning a “hand-drawn picture of Mr Farage surrounded by hearts on the wall alongside an ‘I love egg mayonnaise sandwiches’ sign” have been leaked, as well as the salaries of some top UKIP staffers. There is a power struggle going on and no quarter being given. 

Tim Aker was apparently paid £62,000 a year in the policy role, while his close ally and press officer Alexandra Phillips is on £60,000. Grown up party chairman Steve Crowther is paid £36,000, while regional organiser Pete Reeve is paid £28,000 salary by the party. Guido can help fill in the gaps…

The highest paid member of UKIP head office is general secretary Roger Bird on £75,000. Gawain Towler, who has been offered the job of responsibility for liaising with the party’s MPs, has his £80,000 salary paid for by the EFDD. Events manager Lizzy Vaid is on £25,000 and press officer John Gill is on £30,000. Party secretary Matthew Richardson is unpaid, as is treasurer Andrew Reid and deputy chairman Neil Hamilton. UKIP used to just repatriate EU taxpayer cash back home in staffing allowances, but with eyes on Westminster they are having to pay for much more of it themselves… 

Osborne’s Poll Ratings Slide
As Conservative Lead on the Economy Grows

As Osborne delivers his Autumn Statement today, a YouGov poll for the Sun finds his personal ratings have dropped from -3 to -8 over the last nine months. Optimism that the economy will improve is down from 39% to 25%, while pessimism is up from 23% to 32%. The Chancellor’s credibility will hardly be helped this afternoon when he announces OBR numbers confirming he has missed his deficit forecasts and that there is a £50 billion black hole in public finances, when in the same speech he pledges:

  • £3 billion extra cash for the NHS
  • £15 billion for road improvement infrastructure spending
  • £400 million extra to the British Business Bank
  • £500 million of new lending guaranteed
  • No fresh cuts

Cynical Neo-Keynesianism nevertheless appears to be paying electoral dividends for the Conservatives, proving once again that voters prefer jam today to jam tomorrow. This generation of voters prefers to put the burden for its profligacy on the next generation…

osborne-poll

The Times leader puts it plainly: “What is clear is that he has decided to risk what progress has been made towards repairing the nation’s finances on an electorally inspired spending spree that will have to be funded… at least partly with debt.” Douglas Carswell has a point when he says Osborne will today deliver Gordon Brown’s 18th Autumn Statement

First Times Profit for 13 Years

2009: -£70 million

2013: -£6 million

2014: £1.7 million

First time they have been in the black since 2001. News UK say their “paid for” strategy is “working well and is helping to secure a sustainable future”…[…]

Pickles Trolls Thornberry

Earlier in the week Eric Pickles responded to Hilary Benn’s vain attempt to find waste at DCLG by sending him a signed photo and one of John Prescott’s 20,000 vanity pens, for which the former Deputy PM billed the taxpayer […]

UN Special Envoy Slams Miliband’s Mansion Tax

United Nations Special Envoy and High Commissioner of the UNHCR, Angelina Jolie, has voiced her concerns about Ed Miliband’s mansion tax:

“I’m quite responsible about money. That could put me off [moving to London].”

Wonder who could have put her […]

Dorrell Exits Through Revolving Door

When Stephen Dorrell stood down as chairman of the Health select committee back in June, Guido wondered:

“Why would [he] not want to keep the coveted post, as well as the extra pay, for [his] last year in the

[…]



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Quote of the Day

Adam Spiegel, producer of Nazi themed “The Producers” musical says…

“Margate seemed a perfect place to start the promotion. I’m disappointed but not entirely surprised to see that UKIP are trying to hitch a publicity ride on the back of the show.”

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