Confirmed: Troughing MPs Will Land Bumper Pay Rise

“MPs’ pay will rise to £74,000 as part of a package of changes to their remuneration,” IPSA confirm this morning: “The pay rise will be backdated to 8 May 2015”. 

The expenses watchdog are spinning that this is a good deal for the taxpayer because the new rules mean MPs “can no longer claim for the costs of hospitality, evening meals, taxis home from Westminster when working late”, and the scandal of resettlement payments has been ended. That hardly makes up for the public sector pay cap-busting 10% hike.

Here is IPSA chief Ian Kennedy:

“Parliament gave IPSA the power to deal with the vexed issue of MPs’ pay – independent of Parliament and Government.  Pay has been an issue which has been ducked for decades, with independent reports and recommendations from experts ignored, and MPs’ salaries supplemented by an opaque and discredited system of allowances.

“We have made the necessary break with the past.  We have created a new and transparent scheme of business costs and expenses, introduced a less generous pension scheme, where taxpayers contribute less and MPs make a higher contribution, and scrapped large resettlement payments.   We have consulted extensively on MPs’ pay, and with today’s decision we have put in place the final element of the package for the new Parliament.

“In making this decision we are very aware of the strongly held views of many members of the public and by some MPs themselves. We have listened to those views. We have made an important change to the way in which pay will be adjusted annually. Instead of linking MPs’ pay to wages in the whole economy, it will be linked to public sector pay.

“Over the last Parliament, MPs’ pay increased by 2%, compared to 5% in the public sector and 10% in the whole economy. It is right that we make this one-off increase and then formally link MPs’ pay to public sector pay.”

Celebratory subsidised drinks on the terrace later?

BBC Licence Fee Lobbying Circle Jerk

With impeccable timing, every MP has received a DVD and slurpy letter from the BBC’s lobbying wing.

Ostentatiously designed to show MPs the quality of recent BBC work, it’s no coincidence that the targeted lobbying campaign has taken place in the same week that Whittingdale launches his BBC Charter Review Green Paper.

The BBC really don’t help their cause sometimes.

Using licence fee payers’ cash to lobby MPs not to cut the licence fee because – as they claim – there is no room for cuts in the corporation.

Here is an easy rump saving: say goodbye to the ‘Head of Corperate Affairs’. And his entire lobbying team…

Roll Call of Luvvies: BBC Turkeys Protest Christmas

Some surprise names on the list of celebs who have written in the Telegraph today calling on everyone to “leave the BBC alone”.

Why would they bite the hand that feeds them?

Other shock signatories include:

  • Claudia Winkelman (Strictly)
  • Adil Ray (Citizen Khan)
  • Jamie Oliver (BBC made him)
  • Prof Brian Cox (Ubiquitous across the corporation)
  • Nick Grimshaw (Radio 1)
  • Trevor Nelson (Radio 2)
  • Reggie Yates (various youth shows)
  • Clara Amfo (Radio 1)
  • Annie Nightingale (Radio 1)
  • Michael Palin (BBC documentaries)
  • David Attenborough (ditto)

Almost as if they’re worried about bumper Beeb salaries being in the firing line…

BBC Spins For its Life

The BBC’s war on waste continues with an expensive cinematic advert that is never off our screens at the moment. It is being dutifully tweeted out by all of the Beeb’s top names:

The BBC say the expensive production was commissioned to “celebrate the unique role that the BBC plays in all of our lives”:

“For waking us up, and getting us going. For making us laugh, and making us cry. For expanding our minds, and broadening our horizons. For standing us on the shoulders of giants, for taking us to new worlds. For all our hopes, and our dreams. For not just watching, but living too. For all the days of our lives and all the moments we share. For all of us.”

Guido would FoI how much licence fee payers’ money was spent on this waffle, but transparency isn’t Auntie’s strong point.

Almost as if they are taking advantage of their massive media monopoly to beam propaganda into the nation’s front rooms, ahead of the coming battle for their future…

Meanwhile, in a bid to show that he’s getting it, moany-Tony Hall is re-announcing his cap on resettlement payments. Media Guardian report:

“The BBC has revealed that its bill for redundancy payments fell by 30% to £18m last year as it begins a fightback against Conservative criticisms that it has become wasteful and is squeezing out commercial rivals.

The broadcaster’s annual report, which is published on Tuesday, will argue that a decision by the director general, Tony Hall, to cap severance deals at £150,000 has already resulted in significant savings…”

The BBC-Guardian Axis of Liberals gearing up for counter-attack to defend BBC’s monolithic status quo…

Budget Live: Everything You Need to Know

  • Deficit forecast: 3.7% in 2015/16, 2.2% in 2016/17, 1.2% in 2017/18, 0.3% in 2018/19, SURPLUS 0.4% in 2019/20
  • NHS: £8 billion more a year, on top of previous £2 billion commitment. £10 billion yearly real terms rise.
  • Public sector pay: Pay rises frozen at 1% for four years.
  • Tax avoidance: £750 million for HMRC to go after tax evaders.
  • Non-doms: Abolishing permanent non-dom tax status.
  • Banks: Bank levy reduced, new 8% surcharge on bank profits.
  • Transport: Tax on new cars to go into new roads fund. Fuel duty remains frozen this year.
  • Higher education: Student maintenance grants replaced with loans from 2016-17.
  • Devolution: More devolved powers for Manchester. Devolution for Sheffield, Liverpool and Leeds. Oyster cards for the North.
  • Housing: Mortgage tax relief for buy to let landlords restricted to basic rate.
  • Inheritance tax: Threshold increased to £1 million in 2017.
  • Business: Annual Investment Allowance for small and medium sized firms raised to £200,000.
  • Corporation tax: Corporation tax cut to 19% by 2017 and 18% by 2020.
  • Welfare: New youth obligation to earn or learn, no housing benefit for 18-21 year olds.
  • Childcare: Free childcare for 3/4 year olds of up to 30 hours a week.
  • Disability: ESA for new claimants cut by £30 a week.
  • Welfare: working age benefits frozen for four years.
  • Housing: Rents in social housing to be cut by 1% a year for next four years.
  • Tax credits: Threshold at which tax credits withdrawn down from £6420 to £3850
  • Benefit cap: Cut to £23,000 in London and £20,000 elsewhere.
  • Child tax credits: Limited to two children from 2017.
  • Tax: Personal allowance raised to £11,000. Higher rate threshold raised to £43,000.
  • Defence: spending to increase at least in line with inflation every year, commitment to 2% of GDP.
  • Wages: Introducing new compulsory National Living Wage from next April, £9 an hour for over 25s by 2020.

What the Welfare Budget Looks Like Minus Pensions

Counting pensions as an old age ‘benefit’ has provided lefties with data-based ammunition against small state conservatives who want to slash the welfare bill. Looking at the graph below, targeting proportionally tiny housing benefits or tax credits looks futile – superficially at least – when 42% of the ‘welfare’ budget is spent on pensions:

You can see why lefties love using this statistic – it grossly skews the welfare bill to make it look like we hardly spend anything on the things their opponents want to cut.

So what does the welfare budget look like if we take pensions out of the equation?

This truer reflection of the welfare budget sees the other slices of the pie double in size.

30% of the non-pensions budget is spent on family benefits, income support and tax credits, some £45 billion.

Housing makes up closer to 20%, £26 billion.

A much clearer illustration of what we spend on welfare than lefties and the ONS would have us believe…

Out-of-the-Loop Chris Bryant Hasn’t a Clue

As Guido revealed in this week’s Sun on Sunday:

“The BBC has announced 1,000 jobs are to go as part of a £150 million round of cuts. These job losses would cover just £50 million of the sum, however, leaving another £100 million awaiting Aunty’s axe.

Guido hears that the BBC’s little-watched 24-hour News Channel is in the firing line, with plans afoot to shift the operation online and stop broadcasting on telly. BBC bosses are waiting until this week’s budget before a final decision.”

A story which caused a certain degree of scepticism from the impeccably dis-connected Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport:

That would be our double-sourced drivel from senior BBC sources. 48 hours later, Media Guardian confirms Guido’s Sun exclusive:

“The BBC is considering making its news channel online only following a similar cost-cutting move for its BBC3 TV channel, it has emerged.

Work had already started on assessing the impact of making the news channel online only before the government unveiled a surprise licence fee settlement on Monday… A final decision about the channel has yet to be made.”

As Guido explained, the Beeb has a £100 million spending black hole to fill. Media Guardian reports the News Channel’s overall costs are just over £100 million:

“In the last BBC annual report, it said the channel’s production costs were £26.8m, while its newsgathering costs were £21.2m. In addition, the news channel spent £48.7m on content, £8m on distribution and £9.5m on infrastructure/support in 2013/14 and taking it online only would prove cheaper for the BBC, which is looking to make savings.”

If Chris needs any further help with his brief, he knows where to come…

UPDATE:  The Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Chris Bryant tweets:

EU Blows Cash on Racing Lithuanian Horse, Belarusian Tractor and Latvian Minivan

Guido was perhaps unfairly sceptical about the merits of ‘European Co-Operation Day‘ after watching their taxpayer-funded propaganda ‘rap’. Who can argue with what they spent their budget on previously?

According to their promotional literature, “Highlights from the past European Cooperation Day campaigns include a swimming marathon between Greece and Albania…”

“… a classical concert in a cross-border cave between Hungary and  Slovakia…”

“… 28 artistic companies, 140 performers, 40 acts and over 100 performances from France and the United Kingdom…”

And, best of the lot, “a race between a Lithuanian horse, a Belarusian tractor, and a Latvian minivan…”

Why do they do all this? The pamphlet explains:

“Does a bird know when it has flown over the border between France and Spain? Does a river change its course when it flows from Austria to Slovakia? Problems that we face nowadays —pollution, viruses, unemployment, storms, ageing population— are not limited by borders. Our ways of dealing with these problems should also overcome borders. That is why territorial cooperation is an essential tool for Europe”

When will the madness end?

How Welfare Spending Increased By £28 Billion Under the Coalition

Ahead of tomorrow’s Budget, Guido’s interactive chart shows just how well George Osborne did at cutting welfare spending during the last parliament:

The massively increased spending on pensions makes up most of the overall rise, though it is debatable whether old age ‘benefits’ should be included in the welfare budget.

That said, spending on sickness and disability benefits increased by some £7 billion.

The housing bill went up by almost £4 billion.

There was a small drop in the cost of unemployment benefits.

Overall, between 2010 and 2014, total spending on welfare increased by £28 billion.

Austerity? What austerity?

EU’s Taxpayer-Funded Rap, Graffiti and Skateboards Propaganda Video

To mark European Co-operation Day, your EU taxpayers’ money has been spent on this three minute long song serenading the “success” of the European project:

Lyrics include:

“It wasn’t always easy / 

But look at our success /

25 years and more to come /

Let’s celebrate this fact”

Presumably they have all the time in the world to skateboard and graffiti because EU youth unemployment is so high.

All together now: “Europeeeeaaaan co-operaaaaationnnn…”

Double Living Wage Hypocrisy Shocker

“Keep the living wage alive,” argues one of many articles published by the Fabian Society calling for a mandatory Living Wage.

It’s a bit of a theme: “a voluntary expansion of living wage employers” is not enough, they say.

“Time to make living wage a requirement,” insists another piece:

“We need politicians to make the living wage a requirement on public and private employers, not an optional extra. Leaving it up to voluntary schemes will never end the scandal of poverty pay. Government action is urgently needed, and the public support it. What are we waiting for?”

Well, the Fabians’ new Events and Office Assistant, based in London, will be waiting for some time before they are paid the London Living Wage. The advertised salary of £16,653 a year is well below the £18,080 the Living Wage Foundation say workers in the capital need. Seems they had a point when they said “Leaving it up to voluntary schemes will never end the scandal of poverty pay”…

The Fabians aren’t the only ones failing to practise what they preach. The Church of England says that “as well as encouraging other employers to pay the Living Wage, it is important for the Church to lead by example,” warning “it is morally unacceptable” for bosses to exploit low-paid staff.

This divine intervention clearly did not reach the Bishop of St Albans, who is offering a meagre £14,328 per year to be his parliamentary researcher, based in the House of Lords. What is it with these lefties and not putting their money where their mouth is…

Fabian advert spotted by @ajrmac

At Last! BBC Axe First 1,000 Jobs

An £150 million shortfall in the BBC’s licence fee income means 1,000 jobs are to be axed.

Back of a fag packet maths would point to these thousand employees being on £150,000 each…

UPDATE: The Beeb say this round of cuts will save £50 million, £50,000 per sacked employee.

Dave Kills Mood at Summer Party With Rant About Surveillance

Dave used last night’s champagne fuelled Tory summer ball to go off on one about terrorists and mass surveillance.

Speaking to a 850 strong crowd at a packed Hurlingham Club, Cameron said he was all for Muslims who call out and condemn terror, but argued that he sees it as his mission to tackle any violent ideology.

First in his sights who those that say things like “I don’t condone terror, but a caliphate is a good thing” or that we bring terrorism on ourselves and it’s all our fault because of Iraq and Afghanistan, Israel, or poverty in Muslim countries.

An emotional Cameron got things stirring by declaring that we can’t sit idly by as even if we left them alone they’re not going to leave us alone, they’ll come and destroy us and our way of life using the only methods they know.

Witnesses report he then went on a passionate defence of data gathering – having a dig at those who think the government is overreaching/turning into Big Brother.

The PM’s shaky justification for mass-surveillance was that we have always tapped phones and intercepted letters of organised criminals and the IRA, now that technology has moved on, we need to react.

Iffy: bugging Seamas O’Bomber’s landline is somewhat different from reading everyone’s emails.

It’s safe to say the civil liberties lobby were not out in force at the £450 per head event.

IDS Should Face Benefit Sanctions

welfare

Awkward, via PA:

Iain Duncan Smith had his official credit card suspended after running up more than £1,000 in expenses debts, it can be revealed.

The Work and Pensions Secretary was among more a dozen MPs subject to action by the Commons watchdog after failing to show spending was valid.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) issues MPs with credit cards for to pay for items such as travel and accommodation.

The politicians then have to prove the spending was genuine by the end of the month, or they build up debts to the watchdog.

What would the DWP have to say about such a flagrant breach of the rules?

  • 3 categories of sanction – ‘higher’, ‘intermediate’ and ‘lower’ – depending on the nature of the offence

Seems pretty serious: Higher.

  • different levels of sanction for first, second and third offences

Hardly the first time that the words ‘IDS’ and ‘expenses’ have been heard in the same sentence…

Certainly a case for suspending hand outs.

UPDATE: Team IDS get in touch:

“Iain has not had his card suspended. IPSA have confirmed twice in writing that this issue was an error on their part. To be clear no money is owed”

Yet IPSA still insist the credit card was switched off and that they stand by their original claim entirely. So who’s telling the truth?

Another Double-Jobbing Broadcast Boss Channel 4 Could Grill

Cathy Newman gave BBC Trust chair Rona Fairhead a going over on Channel 4 News last night for earning half a million quid from her second job at HSBC. On top of the £110,000-a-year she trousers from her 3 day week at the Beeb.

Tune in tonight where Cathy will surely be grilling another taxpayer-funded broadcast boss. Terry Burns is paid a salary of £100,000 for five days a month, which, like Rona, is topped up with a six figure second job as a director at a bank, Santander.

Except Cathy isn’t going to be grilling him this evening, because Burns is the chairman of Channel 4…

Neck an Ouzo, Save a Greek

greece indigogo

A 29 year old Londoner is trying to raise a bailout fund for Greece on the crowdfunding website Indiegogo.

Kind hearted well wishers are receiving Greek delicacies in exchange for donating to the fund. Grecian treats include:

  • Pledge €3 and get a postcard of the Greek Prime Minister sent from Greece.
  • Pledge €6 and get a Greek feta cheese and olive salad delivered fresh to your door.
  • Pledge €10 and get a small bottle of Ouzo.
  • Pledge €25 and get a wine bottle filled with delicious Greek wine

€51,329 have been raised by 3,234 people in one day. A mere €1,599,948,671 to go…

Half a Million Sign Petition Against MPs’ Pay Rise

Looks like one poor sod has not taken the election result very well. They think they’ve worked out what went wrong over at 38 Degrees:

A RIGGED GENERAL ELECTION.
TO: HARRIET HARMAN.

Harriet Harman must force an enquiry into this General election result. We are convinced it was rigged.

But rigged or not, the election was won on misinformation. And it needs to be sorted.

Why is this important?

One minute the BBC TV media were stating that it was neck and neck between Labour and the Tory’s, the next minute the Tory’s were zooming…That cannot be right ?

Also the Lib-Dems were crushed, why werent the Tory’s equally so ?

Perhaps they missed the bit where the LibDems were crushed by the Tories…

Terrifyingly, 1,066 special citizens have agreed with this loon.

Meanwhile over in the reality based community 440,740 people have signed a petition again MPs getting a pay rise.

New MPs Already Have Their Snouts in the Trough

They have barely been in their jobs for eight weeks, but our new Honourable Members are already learning how to milk the system.

In addition to their imminent public sector pay freeze-busting 10% pay rise, these new MPs have already begun to employ family members on their taxpayer-funded parliamentary expenses.

Caroline Ansell (Eastbourne) I employ my husband, Nicholas Ansell, as a full time Personal Assistant.

Richard Arkless (Dumfries and Galloway) I employ my wife, Anne Elizabeth Arkless, as part-time Personal Assistant.

Ian Blackford (Ross, Skye and Lochaber) I employ my step-son, John O’Leary, as Caseworker.

Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay) I employ my wife, Anne Double, as full time Senior Caseworker and Diary Secretary.

Harry Harpham (Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough) I employ my wife, Gill Furniss, as part-time Researcher.

Gerald Jones (Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney) I employ my partner, Tyrone Powell, as Senior Parliamentary Assistant.

Scott Mann (North Cornwall) I employ my non-cohabiting partner, Nicola Wade, as part time Secretary.

Johnny Mercer (Plymouth, Moor View) I employ my wife, Felicity Cornelius, as part-time Constituency Support Officer.

Paul Monaghan (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross) I employ my brother, Mark Innes Monaghan, as Constituency Communications Manager.

Jess Phillips (Birmingham, Yardley) I employ my husband, Tom Phillips, as Constituency Support Manager.

Michael Tomlinson (Mid Dorset and North Poole) I employ my wife, Frances Mynors, as my Personal Assistant.

David Warburton (Somerton and Frome) I employ my wife, Harriet Warburton, as a Communications Officer and Personal Assistant.

Corri Wilson (Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock) I employ my son, Kieran Donoghue, as Caseworker/Personal Assistant.

They will go far.

UKIP Introduces Foreigner Fee For Party Conference

The invitation arrives for journalists to attend UKIP conference in the autumn:
“There will be free registration prior to the 14th of September 2015, afterwards there will be a charge of £500 per person. However, please note if you are from non-domestic media there will be a small charge applied if your application is approved.”
So it’s free, unless you’re Johnny Foreigner…

Boris Gets a Pay Rise

Last week the Telegraph gave new Tory MP Victoria Borwick a slap for raking in £100,000 a year for her three jobs. For some reason they neglected to look into the outside interests of another, more prominent London politician.

Boris Johnson infamously described his rumoured £250,000 Telegraph salary as “chicken feed”.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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Quote of the Day

Tory MP Nick Boles says what everyone thinks…

“There is a timidity and lack of ambition about Mrs May’s Government which means it constantly disappoints. Time to raise your game, Prime Minister.”

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