Sunday, May 21, 2006

Recent Bonfires- 17

In the news this week:

£1,100 to change BBC light bulb- "For more than a month the iconic sign at BBC Television Centre on Wood Lane, west London, has been out of action. But what should have been a simple job, to repair a light illuminating the second "i", has descended into farce. So far two outside companies have been hired to fix the problem. One has been tasked with erecting a series of hydraulic platforms to reach the sign, 50 feet up in the air. The other is evaluating the damage. It is estimated that it costs the corporation £1,100 each time this procedure is carried out. Only once a full assessment is made will the BBC's own staff decide what course of action to take before handing the repair work to one of the "outsourcing" contractors." (Sunday Telegraph 21.5.06)

£6bn cost of pensions surrender- "Last October, under pressure from trades unions, the Government backed down over plans to raise the retirement ages of three million public sector workers from 60 to 65. Since the U-turn, the Government has hired about 60,000 new public sector workers who will also be entitled to lucrative "gold plated" final salary pensions. The IEA says that would put the total cost since the climbdown at at least £6 billion. "Every month that passes when the Government fails to increase the public sector retirement age costs Britain's taxpayers nearly £1 billion." (Sunday Telegraph 21.5.06)

£21m on Home Office navel gazing- "The Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) is so lost about its role that it hired management consultants at a cost of £21m last year to work out what it is supposed to be doing. The result? A lot of cartoons, some graffiti and various squiggles in what may be one of the most bizarre reports ever seen in Whitehall. Executives were invited to scribble their thoughts on a “graffiti wall” and were divided into five teams that “moved between themed rooms”. They had to imagine time-travelling to 2010 — when the IND would, apparently, be a roaring success — and visualise how they had got there." (Sunday Times 21.5.06)

Cabinet's £25m Golden Pension Pot- "Tony Blair and his cabinet are sitting on a gold-plated pension pot worth in excess of £25m that will allow them to retire at least £50,000 a year inflation-proofed for the rest of their lives. The packages have been described by experts as 'beyond the wildest dreams of ordinary people'. The Prime Minister stands to gain most - an index-linked annual pension of two-thirds of his final annual salary of £184,000, guaranteeing a pension when he leaves office of £123,000 a year. For an individual in the private sector to achieve this they would have to invest almost £5m in an investment fund. Gordon Brown, who has been arguing that Britain cannot afford to increase the state pension, is sitting on pension savings paid for by the taxpayer equivalent to £1.75m. This will ensure he has a pension of at least £53,000 a year for life. If, as expected, he becomes Prime Minister after Blair leaves office, Brown will see his guaranteed pension entitlement more than double, even if he only serves a few months as leader. And despite being stripped of his departmental responsibilities, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's pension pot is worth the equivalent of more than £1.5m." (Observer 21.5.06)

Total for week- £6,046,001,100


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