60% Pay Rise for Manchester Council Fat Cats

RICHARD LEESE

Senior staff at Manchester council have been awarded pay rises of up to 60% while blaming the Tories for cuts in the city. While other staff see a standard 1% increase, council chiefs such as the “Head of Children and Families” will be receiving another £30,358 on top of their £50,442 salary – rising to £80,800 overall. Five staff are getting pay bumps of up to 12.5% to £125,000. In all, the pay rises for council fat cats will cost Manchester taxpayers £112,895. Richard Leese, who has now led Manchester’s Labour council for 20 years, moaned about t’cuts last year, claiming “I think it’s going to hit the poorest people in our country and it’s bad news for Manchester.” Austerity? What austerity? Wonder what wannabe Manchester mayor Andy Burnham thinks…

UPDATE: John Leech, former LibDem MP in Manchester, comments:

“These increases are frankly disgusting. The council is now clutching at straws because they’ve been caught dishing out indefensible pay rises. They are now trying to justify these enormous pay rises at a time when other members of staff are getting just 1 per cent, and residents are being told that services have to be cut.”

Crabb Sticks It to Osborne

Stinging line from the new Work and Pensions Secretary as he announces the government has “no plans” to make no further welfare cuts:

“A compassionate and fair welfare system should not just be about numbers. Behind every statistic there is a human being. Perhaps sometimes in government we forget that.”

Victory for IDS, painful defeat for Osborne…

IDS on Marr: Full Interview

The most explosive 20 minutes of political television this year so far:

“They are losing sight of the direction of travel they should be in. It is in danger of drifting in a direction that divides society rather than unites it, and that I think is unfair.”

“That is deeply unfair, and that unfairness is damaging to the government, it’s damaging to the party and it’s damaging to the public.”

“It looks like we see benefits as a pot of money to cut because they don’t vote for us.”

“There needs to be a greater, collegiate sense on how decisions are made. This is not the way to do government.”

“This is not some secondary attempt to attack the prime minister or about Europe. It is nothing to do with that at all – if I wanted to do that I would have been clear. I have never, ever hidden my views about something and I’m not doing it now. I am genuinely, genuinely concerned.”

These quotes will hang around Osborne’s neck as long as he retains ambitions to be PM…

Vid via @liarpoliticians

Guardian Cutting 250 Jobs

Guardian Media Group chief executive David Pemsel emails staff:

Given that over half our current costs are people, we propose to reduce our UK headcount by around 250 people. While protecting journalism remains our priority, we anticipate the impact will be spread across all departments, including editorial. We hope to achieve the target reductions through voluntary redundancy. If we do not achieve the reductions we are targeting through voluntary means, we will consider whether voluntary redundancies are necessary. 

Around 100 editorial redundancies expected. Will Seumas Milne be one of them?

UPDATE: The Midland Goods Shed is also dead. 20% cuts across the board mean that crazy idea “new space for debate, culture and curiosity” is no more. Thankfully…

Osborne Cuts Opposition Funding

4024

Hidden away towards the back of the Autumn Statement was the section on “Reducing the cost of politics”, which consists of a modest 19% reduction in Short money allocations. This means the taxpayer-funded wedge to which opposition parties are entitled will be cut by millions. Good news for the taxpayer, bad news for the already massively in debt Labour Party.

Below is the sum each party was previously due to receive in each year of this parliament. In brackets is what a 19% cut would potentially look like:

Labour: £6.2 million (£1,178,000 CUT)

SNP: £1.2 million (£228,000 CUT)

UKIP: £650,000 (£123,500 CUT)

LibDems:  £540,000 (£102,600 CUT)

Greens: £212,000 (£40,280 CUT)

A handy benefit of being a Chancellor with an eye on the next election is you can severely wound your opponents where it hurts: in the pocket…

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:

New Government Spending Cuts in Full

Osborne says there will be an extra £3 billion in efficiency savings and £1.5 billion coming in from selling off the rest of Royal Mail. This is how it breaks down:

To put into context, the deficit is £73 billion this year…

Poll: Labour Won’t Deliver “Programme British People Want”

How many relaunches is that now? Ed Miliband’s big speech on the economy today is being tipped by sympathetic quarters of the press as showing Labour are serious about reducing the deficit, so at least there’s no chance he will forget to mention it this time. Yet Ed is also going to attack the Tories for planning to cut spending to “1930s levels”, insisting “That is not our programme, that will never be our programme, and I do not believe it is the programme the British people want”. Just one problem: a ComRes poll for ITV out last night shows that this is the “programme the British people want”. 33% support cutting spending to 1930s levels, 26% oppose. Another great relaunch success…

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…

Dave's Barrister Brother Backed Legal Aid Cuts Strike

As Guido revealed in yesterday’s Sun column, Dave’s barrister brother was sympathetic to Friday’s strike over Government cuts to the legal aid budget that will leave some junior lawyers paid less than the minimum wage. Alexander Cameron’s case was not sitting on the strike day so he did not picket. But a source at his London chambers tells Guido: “He would not have gone to court even if his case had been sitting.”

Environment Agency Massively Over-Staffed Arguably World’s Most Bloated Quango

ea0prospect

Prospect, the union which represents workers at the Environment Agency, is taking the opportunity of the floods to protest job cuts – “The government must call an immediate moratorium on 1,500 job cuts in the Environment Agency in the light of the flooding that has swept the UK this winter” – as if that would stop the rain. 1,500 job cuts sounds like a lot until you realise that it is only 10% of the bloated workforce.

Bloated? Well it is by international comparisons. Equivalent quangos in the rest of the world are much smaller, the Environment Agency for England alone has more staff than the Canadian, Danish, French, German, Swedish and Austrian equivalents, combined!

Only the US Environmental Protection Agency has more staff, (15,913 versus 11,200) hardly surprising given the US is some eighty times larger than the UK with six times the population. According to a whistle blower, blogging for Inside the Environment Agency“, based on international comparisons it has 9,000 too many and a billion plus budget that should be slashed in half. Some serious Treasury axe wielding required here…

Ed Ballses Up Brillo Interview

Under pressure from Brillo earlier, Balls coughed that he believed “the cuts are deeper than they need to be” for the spending review. Meanwhile spinners were pushing the line that Labour will stick to spending cuts if elected in 2015. Which was even on the rather unfortunate ticker scrolling along the bottom of the screen while Balls was speaking. So these cuts are too deep but Labour will stick to them, eh?

Here is the video:

This is What Austerity Looks Like

The Chancellor has revealed how much the UK will spend in 2015/16: £745 billion. For the first time we have an accurate picture of the widespread devastation that Osborne’s austerity agenda has wrought:

At the next election, the Coalition will be spending £76 billion more than Labour were five years ago.

First Picture of Liam Byrne’s Infamous “No Money” Note

Turns out it was “I’m afraid there is no money”, not “I’m afraid there is no money left”.

If we’re being pedantic…

Via ITV

Rich’s Monday Morning View

20130624-000549.jpg[…] Read the rest

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Patten’s DCMS Anguish

Things must be bad for the increasingly troubled Department for Culture Media and Sport when a loathed Chairman of the BBC has to ride to your defence. Chris Patten told a Press Gallery lunch that the department must not be scrapped, despite the Olympics being over.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Witherow Gets Axe Out at Times

Media Guido is hearing of big movements over at the Times. Witherow is, as expected, swinging the axe…

Roland Watson is out as Political Editor – he’s been told to apply for Foreign Editor apparently – a desk getting squeezed.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Dear Chris Leslie…

Poor little Chris Leslie. He’s getting all the tough gigs for Labour’s Shadow Treasury team this week. Yesterday he was forced onto the airwaves to not answer on whether Labour would cut departmental budgets and today he has the pleasure of trying to respond to OECD’s spring report.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +

Hammond Surfaces to Defend MoD Bureaucracy

Phillip Hammond popped up for a passive aggressive performance on the Today programme:

“We can look for efficiency savings which everyone should be seeking all the time. If we need to go beyond our efficiency savings, we would need to have a discussion over how and where these would be achieved.”

It sounds like defence secretary would make sure that conversation happened in public.[…] Read the rest

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Owen Jones and the People’s Front Against t’Cuts

Rejoice, comrades! This lunchtime Guido infiltrated the Unite headquarters to run the rule over the People’s Assembly, Owen Jones’ new sinister sounding union-funded anti-cuts campaign. Under the watchful eye of Keir Hardie in a rather austere room, a panel of NUT “Enemies of Promise”, PCS strike-mongers, loony left MPs and a bad comedian bleated about “the cuts”.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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