Friday, 2 July 2010

Nice Work If You Can Get It

The government's decision to release information on the salaries of senior staff working in quangos is, I suspect, another subtle attempt to soften up the public for imminent cuts. It certainly fits in with the 'public sector profligacy' narrative we see in the right-wing press, for all the reasons that stories about government excess catch the public mood at the moment - many of the salaries do seem very generous at a time when most of us face a pay freeze or the threat of redundancy.

But that doesn't mean the spreadsheet [Excel | CVS] released by the Cabinet Office is any less fascinating. It must be such a comfort to the tens of thousands of students who faced delays to their grants and loans payments last autumn to discover that Ralph Seymour-Jackson, the CEO of the Student Loan Company, received a salary of £165,000 - £169,999 before he stood down in May. Equally, I'm sure that the 2,500 workers who lost their jobs at Remploy, which provides work for disabled people, will be delighted that last year's 40 percent increase in bonuses topped up a salary of £165,000 - £169,999 for Tim Matthews, the company's Chief Executive Officer.

Certainly, there's no need for dowdy raincoats in the style of George Smiley for either Jonathan Evans or Sir John Sawers (the heads of MI5 and Mi6 respectively), who both receive salaries of £165,000 - £169,999. It can no longer be a surprise that the Tate needs so much sponsorship from BP, when its Director Sir Nicholas Serota takes home a salary of £160,000 - £164,999 (but at least Stephen Bayley is happy). And at the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, after five commissioners resigned over concerns about governance and leadership and last year's damning report by the National Audit Office into an "unacceptable" use of public money, who will defend Trevor Phillips and the £110,000 - £115,000 he receives for his 3½ day week?

My interest is the criminal justice field, so I am of course intrigued to see that the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, is paid between £195,000 - £199,999. On that sort of money, sitting on a decision to prosecute over the death of Ian Tomlinson for 15 months begins to look like laziness. There are only three coppers on this list - Chief Constable of the MoD Police Stephen Love (£155,000 - £159,999), former Hertfordshire Deputy Chief Constable William Hughes, now at the Serious Organised Crime Agency (£180,000 - £184,999) and former Thames Valley Police Chief Constable Peter Neyroud, now running the National Policing Improvement Agency (£190,000 - £194,999). The size of Neyroud's salary should go down very badly within the ranks, I'd imagine, especially as the NPIA is currently looking at whether police forces around the country should follow the Met in making new recruits work for free before they can be considered for a full-time job.

Meanwhile, over at Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary, the five individuals responsible for inspecting police forces take home a combined salary of somewhere between £935,000 and a fraction under £1 million (not include benefits in kind), although I see that Chief Inspector Sir Denis O'Connor took a voluntary pay cut of £25K from March. Presumably it didn't take all of O'Connor's incisive investigative powers to recognise that perhaps £220,000-£224,999 was a little excessive.

The headline figures are, of course, around the Olympics - a combined £2.3 to £2.4 million at the Olympic Delivery Authority and £700,00 - £720,000 at the Olympic Park Legacy Company. It's no wonder 2012 will end up being so expensive. I think I'd have more sympathy for the ODA's Deputy Chair Sir Roy McNulty over potential criticisms of excessive pay if he wasn't taking home close to double my salary for working just one day a week.

1 Comment:

Lee said...

Eighteen names in the frame associated with London 2012 raking in more than £150,000:
David Higgins...Howard Shiplee... John Armitt...Simon Wright...Alison Nimmo...Hugh Sumner...Ralph Luck...Godric
Smith...Andrew Altman...Malcolm Ross...Karen Webb...Jonathan Dutton...Jeremy
Beeston...David Goldstone...Jennie Price...Rona Chester...

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