Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Latest On Three Old Favourites

Another of the Major's money saving ideas

1. Public Sector Rich List

When the BBC puts on an entire show about public sector fat cats, and even compiles its own Rich List, you know the landscape is changing (see here).

Last night's Panorama told us that a staggering 9000 public sector employees are earning more than the Prime Minister. And despite the irritating background music, and despite Panorama's inexplicable failure to credit the TPA as originators of the Public Sector Rich List, and despite letting the top-paying BBC off the hook*, the programme is a landmark. Worth a watch (watch again here).

2. No Wonder Work Doesn't Pay

Mr Brillo draws our attention to the case of a benefit cheat recently convicted of falsely claiming £84 grand in income support and housing benefit.

Let's set aside the fact that she hasn't been sent to prison (defending counsel successfully pleaded that "she has a low IQ and her offences were not complex"), and let's set aside the fact that she got this money by reason of having five kids (aka kids as a career option). What really leaps out is the sheer amount of cash she wangled.

The precise figure was £84,130 obtained over 5 years. Which works out at nearly £17 grand pa. Had she gone out to work, she'd have needed to earn well over £21 grand pa to net the same income.

As we've blogged many times, the welfare safety net is simply too high. We will never make work pay if someone like this can get the equivalent of £21 grand pa on welfare - even if she'd been telling the truth.

And talking of kids as a career option, we note the case of Keith Macdonald, who has fathered 10 kids by 10 separate women. All are supported by the taxpayer, at an estimated total cost to age 16 of £1.5m. Needless to say, MacDonald himself is also entirely tax-funded, and spends his days... well, I think we can see how he spends his days:
"Macdonald, who first had sex at the age of ten, refuses to wear a condom and boasts that he has since slept with more than 40 women.

He met many of the mothers of his children at bus stops and bus stations, and says it is ‘easy’ to find women this way."
On one level you have to admire the guy's hit rate. But WTF should I pay for it?

(The Sun offered to pay for him to have his testicles trimmed, but he declined. Or as the Sun put it, "Slob snip snub". The Major has developed a range of even cheaper options, except of course they wouldn't be optional - see pic).

3. India Tells DfID To Get Lost

We've blogged the lunacy of development aid for space race India many times, but now India itself is saying it doesn't want any more from us (HTP Rob A). According to the excellent AidWatch:

"The External Affairs Ministry has instructed the Finance Ministry to inform London that India will not accept further aid from next April…

“…[I]t would be better if our decision not to avail any further DFID assistance with effect from 1st April 2011 could be conveyed to the British side in an appropriate manner at the earliest,” [Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao] wrote to Finance Secretary Ashok Chawla.

Ahead of Cameron’s visit, India had considered rejecting DFID offer in view of the “negative publicity of Indian poverty promoted by DFID”.
As we've noted before, UK aid to India is directed at pet projects inside India where Britain is basically saying to the Indians "you may be the world's largest democracy, and you may have one of the world's fastest growing economies, and you may have your own foreign aid programme, and you may have kicked us out 60 years ago, but we think you are doing a shocking job of managing your own internal affairs, so we'll do it for you".

Hardly surprising they want us out.

We should withdraw immediately, saving us a quarter of a billion every year (see this blog).

*Footnote - According to Panorama, the BBC is unusual in the public sector because it is paid for not from taxation, but from the licence fee. Er... yeees... You see, the licence fee is a tax, just as the duty on booze and fags is a tax. Sure, you don't have to pay it if you don't wish to indulge, but for most of us it is an unavoidable tax, payable under penalty of the criminal law. The only unusual feature of the telly tax is that it is ring-fenced (hypothecated) solely for the use of an individual quango. No wonder the BBC can afford to employ so many outsized moggies.

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