Sunday, February 25, 2007

Recent Bonfires 53

Confessions Of A Diary Secretary- ITV1 Wednesday 9pm

In the news this week:
Prescott cost soars to £2.5m- "ANGRY MPs and taxpayers' groups have attacked Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott after his office got a 30 per cent spending boost. It means the taxpayer is having to pay more than £2.5million a year – a rise of almost £600,000 – for what Mr Prescott’s opponents say is a “non-job”... Mr Prescott was demoted from his job running the local government, housing and planning department, after revelations of his extra-marital affair with his diary secretary.... The taxpayer is also paying over £284,000 a year into Mr Prescott’s pocket... made up of his ministerial salary of £133,997, an estimated £35,911 towards his gold-plated pension fund and £115,000 for his MP allowances, including payments towards council tax and mortgage interest on his home in Hull." (Express 20.02.07)

£56bn on Red Tape- "THE burden of red tape on British business has hit a record of nearly £56 billion and shows no sign of slowing, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), which compiles its “burdens barometer” on a regular basis. It says the cumulative cost of regulation on British business is now £55.6 billion. A year ago that burden was £44.8 billion, revised figures reveal, implying an increase in red tape of more than £10 billion in the past 12 months... The biggest burden comes from the working-time regulations — the 48-hour week — and data protection. Environmental regulations are increasingly burdensome to business. But the problem is often the sheer scale of red tape faced by business, particularly smaller firms." (Sunday Times 25.02.07)
Honours probe Blair aides share in £1.2m- "The Downing Street aides at the centre of the police inquiry into the loans-for-peerages scandal are to get payoffs of up to £75,000. Chief of Staff Jonathan Powell and Ruth Turner, the director of Government Relations, will share in the £1.2million expected to be paid out in 'golden goodbyes' in the next few months. About 40 Blairite spin doctors and fixers - including several of the suspects in the Scotland Yard sleaze investigation - will leave their Government posts when Gordon Brown moves into No10. Mr Brown plans to bring in his own advisers and there is expected to be a cull of those loyal to Mr Blair. But they will be entitled to up to six months' salary. (Mail 24.02.07)

£240m pa for sick cops- "8,000 police officers are claiming full pay while on 'restrictive or recuperative duties' - with some working for as little as one hour a day while they recover from illness or injury. Their wage bill amounts to more than £240 million a year... [In addition], a thousand police officers a day are off work with stress-related sickness - costing the taxpayer more than £1 million each week. Total sickness for all causes was equivalent to 8.5 days per officer. In the private sector the average number of sick days per year is just 6.4 days, compared with 9.1 among civil servants." (This is London 19.02.07)

Total for week- £56,243,700,000

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