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Will transparency restore trust in government?

11:06 UK time, Tuesday, 1 June 2010

David Cameron has announced more details of his plans to make more state data publicly available. What do you need to know?

The salaries of those earning more than £150,000 were revealed for the first time in a bid to aid transparency. More than 170 civil servants are paid more than Prime Minister David Cameron's £142,500-a-year salary, according to Cabinet Office figures. Business Secretary Vince Cable is urging "more discipline" in public sector pay.

Mr Cameron says that in the brief period since he became prime minister, he has noticed how much information is kept private for ministers and officials alone. The government says increased transparency on senior pay will "help win back people's trust".

Will greater transparency help you trust the government? What would win back your trust in politics? What data needs to be made publicly available?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.


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  • Comment number 1.

    My goodness. I didn't think they earned that much. The minister of defense earns nearly a quarter of a million pounds every year! I have family serving in the armed forces. All have been to Iraq more than once, some have also been to Afghanistan. One of the main worries for them is the lack of equipment. In particular my daughter was in Iraq in March 2003. I remember the photos of the soldiers wearing there green uniforms, not the desert uniforms that they should have had. They stood out like beacons. Also there was a lack of body armor. I believe it had to be shared. I wonder how much body armor can be bought with £244,000?

  • Comment number 2.

    Will greater transparency help you trust the government?

    It can't hurt, though i suspect there is a culture of suppressing embarassing data that may be overcome.

    Still its a start.

    How about greater transparency in the media?

    We could start off with a mandatory declaration on the front of every newspaper listing the proprietors political afilliations and donations.

    When they print their 'exclusives' they could tell us the process behind the story - what information became available at what point, and why it was decided to be in the public interest to publish at this moment in time.

    They could print entire transcripts of their 'sting' operations instead of the edited highlights we get now.

    The reason I bring this up is because we now have a disparity where the government is begining to forced to show some transparency.

    I think its only fair that the media is placed under the same scrutiny.

  • Comment number 3.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 4.

    the last government said this too and most of what we got was private data that should have remained private.
    i'll give it 2 months before some new discs or other is 'lost'.

    On the fact that 170 civil servants get above the PM's pay, all it needs is one person to be right.
    Is this the civil service saying there are 170 aspects of a person's life that civil servants of government need to look into ???

  • Comment number 5.

    Britain is and always will be the most Secretive Western government! Most things come under the umbrella of 'National Security / Interest' and the cloak & dagger elements bury it for 100+ years, upon such final release, most affected are probably all dead! I'm quite sure the heads of MI5 / MI6 certainly don't want their collective payslips being touted on line, perish the thought that someone might make them a better offer! So I suspect that the status quo will win out in the end, always does.

  • Comment number 6.

    We shall see!!!

  • Comment number 7.

    Is transparency worth anything when significant wrongdoing if not illegal acts, in the minds of most of the country, is carried out in an arena of self-set rules by MPs and not civil servants? The salaries of many are high but it has been previous governments that allowed it to happen. it is wrong to name-and-shame those who are guilty of getting paid for doing their job (no-one is saying that they are doping a bad job) when those that fiddle are deemed "honourable" and "have integrity".

  • Comment number 8.

    The internet is a secret revealing machine. It is inevitable that governments will try to appear transparent. Of course total transparency will regain trust in the government, unfortunately, it is impossible for any government to be totally so.

    Politicians represent our capitalistic society, they are only in it for personal gain. They lack passion for what they do and the majority are disconnected from the people they represent.

    The government will never be fully trusted until our society's values change. In the mean time, supporting websites such as WikiLeaks helps force governments into being more transparent, and will hopefully prevent future international atrocities, such as the War on Terror, from happening.

  • Comment number 9.

    The general public is not happy with MP expenses. I think that we the public, presumed to be the employers of these civil servants, will find pay levels in excess of £200,000 totally unacceptable. Not enough just tell us these mandarins are getting too much. Cap civil service pay, and re-align these with the private sector.

  • Comment number 10.

    Transparency in itself won't restore trusdt in Government if all it does is make self-serving corruption and rottenness more visible. But if transparency is combined with other things (e.g. swift and decisive action to clear things up when problems are found; actually delivering on manifesto promises)then I think it will go a long way to restoring trust. We have to have a parliament to debate, challenge and eventually take executive decisions because we can't put every national action to a reterendum, but that Parliament needs to constantly prove itself worthy of that trust.

  • Comment number 11.

    The fact that, instead of previously not seeing our MPs and top Civil Servants with their snouts in the trough, we will now see them at the trough, snuffling and snorting their innocence as they feed off the public purse at everyone else's expense will only exascerbate the feeling that there is one rule for them and another rule for the rest of us.

    Transparency is one thing but it is not enough.

    An end to the public service carousel of debauched engrandisement of our MPS and top Civil Servants screwing the rest of us yet getting away with cheating to gain public money to enrich themselves has got to come to an end and, if appropriate, criminal proceeding should be commenced, be transparent and the rogues punished very severely for their breach of trust.

  • Comment number 12.

    I love irony. Having logged in to offer my sentiment on offering greater transparency and freedom of information, every one of the recent replies had the statement "This comment is awaiting moderation".

    As it is, I'm rather enthusiastic about the new government. Something I never thought I'd hear myself say.

  • Comment number 13.

    Long answer... No it won't
    Short answer NO.

    I wouldn't trust another politician as long as i live, Nick Clegg has let me down badly, he has stood quietly by while the Tories implement what can best be described as pack hunting attack on the weakest members of society.

    Well done Nick not only have you left me disillusioned with politics you have also made me reconsider my support for the LibDems.

  • Comment number 14.

    Let us see how long it is before, 'not in the public interest' or 'for reason's of national security' i.e. embarassing to politicians, is trotted out as reasons to keep information quiet.

  • Comment number 15.


    sounds good, but

    it costs. Now we have to employ people to ensure that the data is in a format suitable to give to the public. People who instead of doing their jobs, now have to concentrate on getting FOIs out by the timetable. Peolpe to draw up the procedures, and people to review the procedures.

    Lets tell the workers that as part of a savings package we are looking at the option of getting rid of them. Now that's motivation.

    Other than that fine. (or is it spin?)

  • Comment number 16.

    It will go quite a way. What will install trust is when our civil and human rights are restored. Preventing councils and rest from using us as a source of income through bumped up penalties. Prevent & penalise police misusing their power. Finanly make it easy to get justice through compensation for the wrongs done be it goverment, council or home office by making them accountable.
    'God protect me from civil servant that thinks he is all powerfull'

  • Comment number 17.

    Transparency and action on what is found is the only way forward to restore faith. Coming from this disclosure should now be:

    + A reduction in all salaries over the PMs by at least 5% - this mirros what government ministers took as a pay cut.

    + An ongoing reduction in these highly paid government employees to 5% below the PMs. They can get their former salaries only by bonus payments that are directly related to performance increases and efficiency gains that are independently audited and confirmed.

    Beyond this MPs, attendance, expenses, travel and voting records need to be put online. This together with declared members also needs to be online and available for public scutiny. A process that should extent to every UK councillor.

  • Comment number 18.

    Part of this is to deflect attention as if to say'look they are worse than us'.

    But we didn't vote for them. They were given a job which pays X amount. I have no problem with a person's pay, if that's what the pay is.

    What about a time and motion study of how much time an MP puts into working for each part of their job. Parliament seems pretty empty to me most of the time it's on telly - apart from PM questions.

  • Comment number 19.

    When will the publication of the names of high earners in the public sector be extended to non-government organisations like the BBC which are funded by public Subscription (in the BBC's case compulsory on pain of prosecution).

  • Comment number 20.

    It seems intolerable that public sector pay is in such a state of greed and turmoil - Here we are with a National Debt that can never be paid back without extreme taxation of the electorate - yet we have clowns being paid £ 250,000 per year, which they never can earn through honest work and endeavour !

    When this is coupled to the expenses saga which rumbles on and on, seemingly to rattle many more skeletons in cupboards, then the rich are getting richer and the poor getting poorer.

    Vince Cable advocates more discipline is needed, but from where can it come, our new Leaders lack the strength and vigor to close this situation once and for all, so hang on to your hats, we've experienced nothing yet !!!

  • Comment number 21.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 22.

    The 'Freedom of Information' Act brought in by the Labour Government placed a vast amount of information into the public sector. This was steadfastly opposed by the Tories when they were in power. This was an excellent piece of legislation that has allowed us access to the performance of all our government bodies. It has led to some very lazy journalism though, as most of these so called scoops, ie 'The BBC/ITV/Mail/Sun etc has learned...... is nothing more than some desk bound journo emailing the Government Press Office, and some Civil Servant doing the donkey work getting the information together. If they don't get anything juicy back it is binned. In many ways it has simply led to a stick being provided to it opponants by the government to beat it with. The way news operates in this country, something going well is just not of any interest.
    But what concerns me about this development, the Tories are bringing in something that cannot be used to attack their performance, but as a means of helping their friends in the media to attack Civil Servants. As usual, slippery Dave is not all he seems.

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    It is worth pointing out that the vast majority of public servants earn nowhere near as much as the 150 individuals listed.

    Most of us earn less than our private-sector colleagues and certainly do not receive bumper bonuses either.

    Now that the public sector is facing a pay freeze, redundancies and other "efficiency" measures, how will the government recruit high calibre people to the top civil service posts? What top executive is going to take a pay cut to run a government institution, a poison chalice of a job if ever there was one?

  • Comment number 25.

    Why should the PM be paid more than all other MPs & civil servants ?
    As to restoring trust, I'd like to see published a list of all data than is NOT available to the public, that way we know what is being covered up.

  • Comment number 26.

    You're asking us to trust people who lie for a living.

    No. I'm not ever going to trust any politicians, or government.

  • Comment number 27.

    About time too. Maybe it'll bring the excesses of the public sector back into order. People moan about private sector salaries but they make profits or go out of business. If the public sector 'go bankrupt', it's OUR taxes that bails them out.

  • Comment number 28.

    Support the tories or not we must acknowledge that they are making a good effort here. They will be watched critically by everyone (supporter and skeptic) and must be careful when implementing any action but I feel that they have this one right.

    By clearly highlighing problems and publicly resolving them, we can see out government in action. Brown was tarred by his common action of stealth tax. Hopefully a more open gov will be created which will allow people to decide if things are going well or not

  • Comment number 29.

    On the one hand we are told that it is necessary to pay talented people competitive salaries else they will go elsewhere, with the same said of bonuses for bankers etc.
    On the other hand Dave seems to be suggesting that these people are being paid far too much and should take pay reductions, certainly this is how the public will react to it regardless.
    Openness and transparency are always desirable, however I think there is another agenda here of driving down public sector pay generally, he's just starting at the top. Once it's all slimmed down, look out for more privatisation of public services.
    I would also like to see the salaries of the chiefs in private companies who provide for public sector provision published. Will it be alright for these people to earn large salaries just because they are officially in the private sector, though it is still public money that is paying their wages.

  • Comment number 30.

    It is a joke to compare Civil Servants' salaries with that of the Prime Minister
    The Prime Minister's salary is pin money to Cameron..

  • Comment number 31.

    More transparency is definitely good, though I am not sure that it is helpful to publicise names and amounts of pay, especially with the stated aim of reducing salary demands. This seems to be a rather mean and cowardly way to go about a pay review - to basically get the press hounding certain individuals. If this is to be the way forward, then it should be one rule for all, and all salaries should for every individual should be in the public domain.
    And if the wish for transparency is genuine, then I trust the coalition will quickly act to remove the exemptions from freedom of information act requirements that were granted to the royals in the latter days of the labour administration. This is public money as well, and we have a right to know how it is being spent, on who and what, and why the royals are trying to engineer a staggering increase of nearly 80% to what they get paid. If politicians expenditure on second homes, travel and staff have rightly come under scrutiny, the royals should not be able to sit in privilege above this.

  • Comment number 32.

    The last thing that the tories will allow is any transparency. They are set up to conceal as much as possible from us, the great unwashed.
    If anyone believes that Cameron or his masters will allow any degree of change, and therefore show their stranglehold on this country, they are deluding themselves.
    Only when we kick the whole rotten pile over will we get any kind of transparency, freedom or equality.

  • Comment number 33.

    Transparency about the pay of senior civil servants is but a small step on a very long highway. Anyway civil servants are simulataneously the tools of and collaborators with politicians, especially in the upper echelons.

    Transparency is only a tiny part of the things needed to restore the faith of ordinary folk in the political system. It should be borne in mind that it is the system that has failed, a weak system will always be exploited by those in a position to do so, and if the system is allowed to remain weak or after strengthening become weak again then there will inevitably be some (at least some) amongst the politicians who will exploit it to their own advantage, they are human beings after all.

    The real test will be in the results of that which the politicians and civil servants control and decide upon. If the general populace can see around them that there is some justice resulting from the efforts of those within the system then some faith in the system might be restored. So long as it is seen that that there are some within the public system, let alone the private systems, who are unjustifiably rewarded whilst there remains in society generally many who are unjustifiably deprived then public disquiet and dissatisfaction will persist.

    Our society is in general far too unjust in the manner in which the fruits of our economy are distributed, in the manner in which the legal system operates so well for those with large financial resources and so sluggishly and poorly for those without, in the manner in which the financial systems operate so favourably for those with large resources and so poorly for those with little and in the manner in which the environments of the well endowed are so well protected and the already poor environments of the masses so poorly.

    These things have come about because of the failings of the political system and it is that which needs to be reformed. Transparency of pay scales are only a very small factor.

  • Comment number 34.

    How many bankers, who are not 'top [bankers]' as opposed to 'top [civil servants]' are paid more than the PM? A mate of mine is a 'top accountant' and gets paid nearly as much as the PM, but that's because he's a good accountant, he's a damned fine fellow all round actually. If he was an ordinary, or possibly not very good accountant, he wouldn't have that job or being paid that salary.

    These 'top civil servants' are there because of we want the best in charge, then we have to pay best salaries or otherwise the private sector would have all of the best people and the public sector would be managed by idiots. As it is, it's not, unless of course, by saying these top civil servants are the best the money can buy, there's no one in the private sector that's any good?

    Seems to me, looking at what the banks did, that could be right.

  • Comment number 35.

    Its a start.The trouble is so much is hidden from the tax payer that the reforms need to go further.The revelation that many top civil servants get more than the PM is a disgrace.It has been said that these civil servants could get higher wages elsewhere-somehow I doubt it,just look at the terrible mistakes they make which cost millions of pounds of our money.Its money for old rope in the civil service-time to cull it.

  • Comment number 36.

    So now we will have a whole raft of 'managers' producing a tonnage of statistics, laminated charts and graphs, glossy booklets etc. This is PR not politics; another light on ideas heavy on media coverage from the ConDems' cupboard of time wasters. People won't be impressed by being bombarded with statistics but huge amounts of data are an excellent way of burying bad news. As usual, a flim-flam. The media will have loads to pick out without any policy of principle. The Tories want to spin nthe idea we are in an economic mess- we are! We have acquired destabilising cuts, and a government which relies on smearing Gordon Brown and Labour to justify hacking away at the support for the poorest- and this is the attempt by the PR man to provide so called background to the cuts. Selectively presented they will try to back up the lie that it was Gordon Brown's recession and that it was he and not their friends the bankers who damaged our economy. If only we had a media and press which was capable of truly analysing this information - the only thing we can be sure of is if it comes from the Con-Dem government it is mainly spin. As for 'responsibility', who, in each hospital, school, police-station, government department if going to be responsible for gathering, recording and collating this information: more bureaucrats who will be taking teachers, nurses and policemen away from the factory floor. It seems, every time Cast Iron Cameron makes an announcement you have to keep your olfactory nerves under sedation!

  • Comment number 37.

    All Public Salaries above average pay should be published as should all department accounts (in detail) as should MPs logged working hours and tasks.

    It does not help to know that some 10,000 civil servants could be on 149,999 just below the threshold.

    We know there is a vast army of desk potatoes who do little in the public sector on large salaries, the only way to police this and keep it reasonable is to publish fully detailed accounts and individual salaries.

  • Comment number 38.

    Only time will restore peoples' trust in Politicians, and that assumes the Politicians keep their promises, listen to the people and respect the law of the land.

  • Comment number 39.

    How can anybody justify earning more then a person who runs our country in the public sector?

    It is NOT as if they are wealth creators!!!!

  • Comment number 40.

    The more they tell us, the more we will have to question, complain and opine about and the more they will have to defend decisions, policies, statements and everything else. I don't think we'd be as concerned with all the ins and outs of government if the debt and unemployment were tackled so that the country was in a better state and people could just get on with their lives in a comfortable way. Whatever we are told, there will always be some doubt anyway so overall I'm not sure if this is really Cameron's best idea so far.

  • Comment number 41.

    Transparency is an important first step. Acting on the information is the next really important step. It is useful to know who is getting paid more than the PM. What matters is whether steps will be taken to correct faults in the system.

  • Comment number 42.

    So 170 civil servants get paid more than the Prime Minister, and it is suggested they could earn more employed in the private sector, I think not, look at some of the things the public sector has wasted taxpayers money on, £12.7 billion on the NHS computer, which is five years behind, millions on the Mk 3 Chinook helicopter which was not suitable unless more money was spent to make it operational, and the Child Support Agency, which was incompetent from the start, these top civil servants would not last long working for a private company if the department they ran lost money the way the civil service do without without anyone being dismissed for being incompetent

  • Comment number 43.

    As long as we have a Tory government,handicapped by the Lib-Dems support,there will be no trust in the Government.
    Rgds, Gordon Hutchison

  • Comment number 44.

    There is an element of the civil service which will always resist transparancy. It like an ingrained reflex for some of them to never offer anything information at all - no matter how trivial

  • Comment number 45.

    I wrote a blog about this last night - please read and comment! Should some top civil servants be paid more than the Prime Minister?


  • Comment number 46.

    Cameron is talking about transparency whilst engaging in slight-of-hand.

    Firstly he's comparing his basic wage minus a huge amount of freebie he gets as PM (two large expensively furnished houses, his MP wage of £60,000 on top of his basic PM wage, his expenses, chauffered free cars, gold-plated pension guaranteed from day 1 etc) with the total wages of some people which includes all their bonus payment and expenses claim.

    Secondly many of the salaries of those people he's revealed with a fanfare were ALREADY in the public domain, as the BBC admitted on the radio earlier today.

    Finally his announcement of making data public is simply a continuation of what Labour had already started doing...

    Not everyone is as ignorant as you seem to believe Mr Cameron.

  • Comment number 47.

    First off, I'm highly suspicious of anyone who uses the word transparency in this context, as doing so invariably means that the result will be anything but transparent. See the original release of MP's expenses - everything of use blanked out, which was apparently "transparent".

    If the government wants my trust back then they just need to represent everyone, all the time. If there is an issue where the public is split 60/40, then whatever action is taken needs to support the 40 as well as the 60 - the Blairite tradition of simply ignoring the minority needs to be swept aside. And it also needs to canvas opinion from everybody, not just groups of quiche eaters and media types from Hampstead who have no idea, for instance, about rural life in, say, Cumbria and its attendant problems. Hand-in-hand with this, all lobbying by single-issue pressure groups should be banned - they should get no more access to government that any other individual or group, even if their patron is Lord Pompous of Narrowmindedshire.

    Oh, and they should stop micro-managing my life. They do not know my wishes, dreams or expectations - because they never ask. Or, judging my so much recent legislation, even attempt to find out.

  • Comment number 48.

    "Lynn from Sussex wrote:
    What I should like to know is, the full facts about the death of Dr. David Kelly."

    We already know the full facts Lynn. Just because you choose not to believe them doesn't mean the rest of us should waste time and money feeding your paranoid fantasies.

  • Comment number 49.

    Will transparency restore trust in government?
    Yes, but transparency has little to do with the FOI system, except in the number of applications submitted to FOI.
    Governments seldom tell the truth; we even have a word for the candy-coated untruth; it's called spin - like candy floss.
    David Cameron yesterday announced more details of his plans to make more state data publicly available. So what? Would you know what to ask for; I mean exactly what to ask for so that your application does not come back "Data not found."?
    I want a Government where I don’t often have to think about FOIA. I want a Government that will stand-up and tell me the truth – good or bad, thus that I don’t have to fill out documentation asking for information that the Government should have given me in the first place. I want, in short, to be able to TRUST my Government to tell me the truth.
    The more applications under FOI, the more DISTRUST the common folk have in their Government. So get the number of FOI applications; it will give you a good frame of reference re public DISTRUST. Is this number going up or is it going down. Imagine a Government so trustworthy that the number of applications were - say - under ten (10)!
    So what is 170 civil servants are paid more than Prime Minister David Cameron's £142,500-a-year salary? This fact onto itself means nothing. Who are these people? How does their salary compare with others performing the same or similar function? What is included in the “salary” figure (e.g. provision of car, free abode?).
    Mr Cameron says that in the brief period since he became prime minister, he has noticed how much information is kept private for ministers and officials alone. Makes a great sound-bite, but the fact is:
    When the number of FOI applications goes down, when the number of FOI appeals goes down, Mr. Cameron will know that the public has trust in The Coalition Government.

  • Comment number 50.

    "DibbySpot wrote:

    + An ongoing reduction in these highly paid government employees to 5% below the PMs. They can get their former salaries only by bonus payments that are directly related to performance increases and efficiency gains that are independently audited and confirmed. "

    The salaries published already include bonuses for performance increases and efficiency gains, most of them from maintaining (to outward appearances anyway) services after making 100,000+ civil servants redundant in the last few years.

  • Comment number 51.

    "Confuciousfred wrote:
    The general public is not happy with MP expenses. I think that we the public, presumed to be the employers of these civil servants, will find pay levels in excess of £200,000 totally unacceptable. Not enough just tell us these mandarins are getting too much. Cap civil service pay, and re-align these with the private sector."

    Re-aligning civil service pay with the private sector means everyone get a pay INCREASE, particularly the top bosses. I like to see the head of a large, national business with tens of thousands of employees who earns less than £200,000, not to mention what they earn with all the share options they are given on top of that.

    I know it's fashionable to pretend that everyone in public service is paid outrageous sums but most people earn less than they would in the private sector (in my own case by almost £8,000 - I checked).

  • Comment number 52.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 53.

    Transparency, will mean we will need to employ people to gather all the information and release it. A bit pointless really.
    In regard to issuing details of salaries above £150k, it is a godsend to recruitment consultants, as they now know how little they need to offer to get them to move into the private sector. Some of the people on the list could walk into private sector jobs paying twice what they currently earn.
    The really high salaries are in the education sector, where Vice Chancellors of universities regularly get paid in excess of £200k, and local Government.

  • Comment number 54.

    Transparency will help.

    But honesty and ethics need to be demonstrated as well. These have been sadly lacking.

  • Comment number 55.

    In my opinion we need to know more about these high earning civil servants before we condemn the amount of pay they receive. I'm not one of them before you ask and I only earn an average UK wage, but I find the insults hurled around on HYS calling them 'clowns' quite sickening.

    Maybe some of them don't derserve their salaries, and maybe some are doing an unneccessary 'non-job'...but equally, maybe some are actually doing a very difficult relevant job and doing it very well? The point is we don't yet have this detail, but as usual HYS is up in arms with their pitch-forks and torches. More often than not people are paid what their employer believes they are worth...maybe SOME of them are worth it?? But then again, don't let that get in the way of your knee-jerk mentality.

  • Comment number 56.

    'If the public sector 'go bankrupt', it's OUR taxes that bails them out.'

    Are you having a laugh! What about the banks - too big to fail and now ripping us off again What about the train operators - loads of public money there!

    And private companies make money. My department - work and pensions - just pays out all the time. We probably could make money selling lists of all the disabled in the UK to companies making aids. But where would be the integrity in that.

    Just leave us alone to get on with our soul-destroying jobs. Direct your venom at someone else for a change.

  • Comment number 57.

    39. At 1:33pm on 01 Jun 2010, concernedgal wrote:
    How can anybody justify earning more then a person who runs our country in the public sector?

    It is NOT as if they are wealth creators!!!!


    The amount we pay the Prime Minster, and indeed the cabinet is pathetically low. This is the reason you tend to find that the majority of the cabinet are already millionaires. They are not relying on their income, but their private wealth. It is the power that they are after, not the salary.
    I personally don't think it is a good way to run the country. It discourages good people from not entering politics, and also means that the cabinet look for other ways to supplement their incomes.

  • Comment number 58.

    Sadly not the information was released I guess to get general public to demonize the Public sector ready for the budget. Whilst we all shout great cut the pay of these all the little fish will suffer. Just more smoke screens sadly.

  • Comment number 59.

    A list of how much top Civil Servants are paid exactly how does that make things more transparent? I notice it is used in comparison with the Prime Minister's and MP's salary. Possibly a massive inflation busting rise to bring our politicians in line with top Civil Service pay?

    Does knowing a top Civil Servant's pay open up the procurement procedures for the Armed Services to greater transparency? Does it make the Benefits system any more transparent? Is Housing and Transport policy suddenly more understandable?

    No, all this list has done is deflect a bit more attention away from MP's expenses. It also gives everybody a chance to put the boot into all Public Sector employees including the vast majority who don't even get a tenth of their CEO's salary.

    Greater transparency on Government spending, decision making etc, yes bring it on. This list however doesn't do any of that. It just adds to the sack all the Civil Servants hysteria which usually means those providing the services are shown the door and the top mandarins carry on as usual.

  • Comment number 60.

    Transparency will go a long way to restore trust & confidence in Government.

  • Comment number 61.

    It really is about time that comparisons between public servants' and others pay added in the extremely valuable benefit of final-salary schemes that are hardly ever available in the private sector nowadays. This supplement, legally part of pay, can be worth around 20% on top of headline pay. Private sector employers typically may give 6% towards defined-contribution schemes.
    Public sector workers should be paid enough to "recruit and retain" staff and today that is a lot less they are now getting, especially in areas outside the south-east.
    So lets have fair comparisons and pay government workers as much as necessary.

  • Comment number 62.

    So less than 200 Civil servants earn between £150,000 and £300,000. Out of over 500,000 or less than 0.04% of the total. Not a surprise people do not go into Public Service,teaching,Nursing the Armed Services and the Police etc in general for the wonderful money!

    We now know the figure from this particular state employer. Owing to a degree of transparency

    We sadly do not know how many of the BBC's 30,000 employees earn the same or substantially more (sometimes 10 times + as much) However, at a conservative estimate it will be 10 TO 15 TIMES as many as the entire Civil Service Put together!

    As a licence fee funded (effectively tax) organisation we should be able to expect the same degree of transparency from an organisation whose overpaid studio talent is only too happy to pontificate upon the shortfalls and greed of public servants!

    A major PLC employing far less than the 500,000+ Chief executive would without a doubt be paid more in 2 weeks than the best paid civil servant does in a Year!

    So we now know that the Civil Service and other public sector employers (excluding the BEEB) are actually great examples of pay restraint,so guess where the financial axe is going to fall!

  • Comment number 63.

    Glass is transparent, and yet we use it to keep the elements out of our homes. What this country needs is a government that is held directly responsible for their actions. Throw open the windows and let the public in.

  • Comment number 64.

    That will be interesting.

    Given that most people have difficulty understanding a bus timetable, they're not exactly going to be able to gain much valuable info from reading government documents are they!

    But then you never know....maybe "the people" will magically start gaining new skills in data interpretation....they might start using 2 syllable words in The Sun soon......

  • Comment number 65.

    "Why should it every one knows top people in any job public sector or private get the top money, that the way it has allways' been? The most worth -while jobs have allways been the lowest payed i.e care workers and countless others'. low pay ,bad conditions' long hours.

  • Comment number 66.

    I think another point of view on this is whether the people getting these large salaries are actually working effectively and not costing the country more than just their large salaries.

    For example, look at the salaries for the people running HMRC and then look at the amount of problems they have with sending out peoples personal details, coding problems, lost discs and IT systems that do not work.

    Oh and then there is the cost of sending out apology letters.

  • Comment number 67.

    Potty Harry wrote:
    When will the publication of the names of high earners in the public sector be extended to non-government organisations like the BBC which are funded by public Subscription (in the BBC's case compulsory on pain of prosecution).

    They did that last year:
    Top BBC bosses' salaries revealed

    Top BBC bosses' expenses revealed

    Obviously they're not going to publish how much they pay presenters as this would give their competitors and unfair advantage over them but they do publish their executives pay and expenses.

  • Comment number 68.

    trust a politician HA,HA,HA, thats the best laugh i have had this year next joke please

  • Comment number 69.

    Transparency is a step in the right direction, but we need much more. While it is nice to see what government is doing with our money, we would be much better off if it would only do less.

    There has never been a government anywhere that pro actively did any unmitigated good (and there can and will never be one). If only we could get that message over we might slow and then stop the entitlement culture that says government must act to prevent every single one of the inevitable problems we face in life. What we do for ourselves, our families and our communities is always better than what government does for us, so we need to learn not to ask others to do what we can and should do for ourselves.

  • Comment number 70.

    Well done the Government give them all a wage reduction straight way look at local government too here in Cheshire East the Chief ex Erika Wenzel is on a basic of £172.000 per annum reduce that too along with all Chief Ex aroung the country no public employee is worth that ammount of money they are non- productive no profit the economy.

  • Comment number 71.

    I feel unable to criticise the salaries of Heads of Departments and Permanent Secretaries. As high as they may appear to most they dwarf into insignificance when compared to the heads of similar sized organisations in the Private Sector.
    I do however object to the grossly inflated figures paid to those who work for example 'at least 4 days a month' as does Lord David Rowe-Beddoe of Kilgetty and get £35,000-£39,999. (this I wouls assume is on top of his pay for sitting in the house of Lords.

  • Comment number 72.

    Laws says he has paid a high price, i think they all better wake-up and realise that the ONLY people who have paid is the public and all Laws and his like have been feathering their own nests at OUR expense.

  • Comment number 73.

    he promissed to mankemake cuts ,he can start by removing and civil servant earning more tham him the country cannot afford them ,and while he is at check on all ministers for over exuberant claims on expenses

  • Comment number 74.

    Geoff you are so right I have my son and husband both serving, how would these civil servants get on if they were to go on active service without the correct equipment have to put up with the living conditons I could go on. As for transparency its a complete and utter joke. We will be given little nibbles of news of sleaze then people will show their anger then they will forget then another bit will be leaked JOKE we need to let these people KNOW that IF they DO WRONG they WILL BE PUT OUT OF A JOB. NO civil servant no matter how senior is WORTH THAT MONEY put it back into the forces, NHS, care for the elderly BUT NOT TO SUITED MEN AND WOMEN who SIMPLY DO NOT HAVE A CLUE how the HONEST men and women of this COUNTRY work or HOW INTELLIGENT they are to get this WHOLE MESS SORTED OUT.
    So come on coalition govt CUT THE SALARIES OF these so called senior civil servants SAVE ON our TAXES and NAT INS. If they are the cream let them GO ELSEWHERE I am sure that someone else could do their job BETTER FOR FAR LESS. Oh yes and how about THEIR EXPENSES now that should be INTERSTING. OH no more discs or laptops have gone missing. JOKE JOKE

  • Comment number 75.

    '48. At 1:56pm on 01 Jun 2010, SpacedOne wrote:
    "Lynn from Sussex wrote:
    What I should like to know is, the full facts about the death of Dr. David Kelly."

    We already know the full facts Lynn. Just because you choose not to believe them doesn't mean the rest of us should waste time and money feeding your paranoid fantasies.'

    What a put down! How do we ever know that we know the full facts? We can't. I must have paranoid fantasies as well. If this is what we will come up against from the civil service, why are we being asked? A response such as this will certainly make me, and possibly Lynn from Sussex, more - er - paranoid, as you put it - than ever.

  • Comment number 76.

    I really don't have a problem with some of the declared salaries. Is $250,000 a year for Sir Jock Stirrup who is in charge of all the armed forces excessive? No it isn't, he is a highly trained and experienced leader of men. Is £250,000 a year for a fairly junior bank executive excessive - yes it is when they play fast and loose with our money. The problem I have is in the middle layers of management where £30,000 a year salaries for PC correct jobs and other non jobs. And forget the PM's salary as a bench mark. Remember there are a lot of extras in that job not least the rewards later on after they leave office, Bliar has troused millions since he left.

  • Comment number 77.

    "How can anybody justify earning more then a person who runs our country in the public sector?

    It is NOT as if they are wealth creators!!!!"

    There is more to life than 'creating wealth' and indeed far more worthy causes. Doctors don't create wealth. Nor do nurses, teachers, the police, armed forces or fire officers but to my mind, what they do is far more important than 'wealth creation'.

    Personally, I think the government released this data to turn the private sector against the public sector so that there would be less resistance to drastic cuts. Seems to be working too, going by the jealous, spiteful comments on here.

  • Comment number 78.

    What good is 'transparency' when a Lib-Dem minister is being berated by some of the press for not paying tax on a non-taxable transaction?
    Speculative trawls through government files to provide info for juicy headlines is not what FOI is for.

  • Comment number 79.

    If you are shocked by what Ministers and senior civil servants get paid, take a look (if you can) at the pay of even quite junior managers in big business banking, speculating, the law and other (mostly non productive) organisations - second and third homes, big cars, jetting around the world... And we pay for all this just as surely as we pay for the people who run our government and there are many times more of these people. If government needs to be cut back, so does this other, much bigger, gravy train.

  • Comment number 80.

    I'm not sure why publishing civil servants' salaries is an aid to transparency.

    I've got some ideas for the sort of data I would like to see in the public domain, including details of methodology
    1 Online publication of all UK planning applications, including the names and details of objectors.
    2 Details of how much certain high net worth individuals (e.g. Richard Branson) pay in tax in the UK and how much they have paid over the last few years. Similar disclosure for companies and corporations. Also, more details of what is registered offshore.
    3 Full publication of the UK benefits claimant figures, including all benefits
    4 Everyone's favourite: immigration and emigration figures. Believable ones, please.
    5 A breakdown of crime by district, age and ethnic group of victim and perpetrator. We can then find out if Rod Liddle was right in his recent rant...

  • Comment number 81.

    Does David Cameron`s salary of £142,500 a year include his salary as an MP.
    What about all the perks of being PM - living in Downing Street, Chequers, etc. I wonder if he claims for his meals as so many MPs seem to do. And how about second homes?
    Let`s have it all in the open.

  • Comment number 82.

    Transparency is something that was sadly lacking in the Labour government, particularly in recent years. If this new government is true to it's word then I think this will go a long way to restoring my faith in the democratic process in this country.

    I, for one, would like to see the the Freedom of Information act becoming what it was originally intended to be and many of the recent restrictions on what can be requested removed. I'd also like to see a clear indication that the act will cover the royal family and their expenses; while we're being forced to fund this antiquated institution it's only fair that we see what it is spending OUR money on.

  • Comment number 83.

    Apart from salaries in the public sector, which I'm not really interested in (compared to the private sector, some of them are extremely low) - I don't know what I don't know, so I don't know what I want to know.

  • Comment number 84.

    Confuciousfred wrote "The general public is not happy with MP expenses. I think that we the public, presumed to be the employers of these civil servants, will find pay levels in excess of £200,000 totally unacceptable. Not enough just tell us these mandarins are getting too much. Cap civil service pay, and re-align these with the private sector".

    These 'mandarins' are top flight people who would earn even more in the private sector. Can I ask Confuciousfred if he would re-align these totally unacceptable salaries up to the top of the tree in the private sector (i.e. £millions + Multi million bonuses)? I have been in the Civil Service for over 31 years and I can tell you that the pay is capped. I can only ever once remember getting an above inflation increase and that was just before a general election. Even in the good years for the economy we are lucky to get an increase that maintains our standards of living. Finally please do not think that all Civil Servants earn the kind of figures being banded about - we earn less than the private sector in 'like for like' jobs. This is classic divide and conquer tactics and many in the private sector are falling for it. Lets all stand together and defend decent terms and conditions for all!

  • Comment number 85.

    We keep being told that if we do not pay these outlandish wages to public sector fat cats.High calibre people will not work in the public services.During the time the last government were in power.Top salaries of these people reached record levels.No matter how badly they perform or god forbid they are shoe horned out of their disney land world.They end up with a large wedge of tax payers money.Or move to another public service with even greater rewards.The size and sheer waste in the public sector is criminal.GB cannot afford the present size of the load.When cuts are made it is always the lower ranks and services that are cut.As for local services it is even worse.The answer to that is a local income tax and ditch the council tax.Then perhaps we could see these so called higher calibre people.

  • Comment number 86.

    For those people calling for public sector pay to be 'aligned with private sector pay', what exactly do you think a senior executive or lawyer gets paid in the private sector?

    It's a darn site more than a quarter of a million, I can tell you - often with an equal severance package to civil service pensions. As to the comparison with Prime Minister's salary - the measure used in the media hasn't taken into account the £64k David Cameron gets in addition to his PM's salary as an MP. Not to mention the fact that many of the civil servants in question are not only more qualified to do their jobs, but also more experienced than Mr Cameron.

    Transparency can only be a good thing for the country - after all we need to know what we are getting for our money, but this sort of reporting and unjustified outrage is surely just counter-productive?

    Many of these salaries were also already public prior to today, one can't help but wonder if an unnecessary media storm has been whipped up around (for the most part) justified cost of civil servants to deflect attention from the unjustified cost of keeping some of our elected officials.

  • Comment number 87.

    9. At 12:40pm on 01 Jun 2010, Confuciousfred wrote:
    The general public is not happy with MP expenses. I think that we the public, presumed to be the employers of these civil servants, will find pay levels in excess of £200,000 totally unacceptable. Not enough just tell us these mandarins are getting too much. Cap civil service pay, and re-align these with the private sector.


    Be careful what you wish for. Referring to such people as "mandarins" is an easy way of avoiding the fact that they are responsible for organisations of vast size and complexity. So the Chief Executive of the NHS, for example, earns a salary in the hundreds of thousands bracket. What would the Chief Executive of a similarly-sized, similarly complex private sector business earn? If you really want to "re-align civil service pay with the private sector" you may find salaries have to go up, rather than being capped. Is the position of Chief Executive of the NHS really a much smaller job, for example, than Executive Chairman of Marks and Spencer? Want to compare those salaries?

  • Comment number 88.

    These salaries of 'top' civil and public servants are obscene. How can they, themselves, justify their salaries what with thousands upon thousands of people out there trying to make ends meet day in, day out on a fraction of these salaries? The Bankers bonus's where bad enough. Stop this greed immediately and try living between your means on a sensible salary, like the rest of us have too! Stop taking us for mugs!!!

  • Comment number 89.

    39. At 1:33pm on 01 Jun 2010, concernedgal wrote:
    How can anybody justify earning more then a person who runs our country in the public sector?

    It is NOT as if they are wealth creators!!!!

    Of course they are wealth creators! The NHS, for example, keeps the workforce of this country healthier than they would otherwise be, thereby contributing to wealth creation in this country. The education services of this country supply industry with educated, literate, numerate workers, without whom they could not do the business that they do - and so contribute to wealth creation in this country. The civil servants in charge or roads and rail ensure an infra-structure that allows goods and services to be transported and thereby contribute to wealth creation in this country.

    On the other hand, do banks "create" wealth? Or do they merely move it about?

  • Comment number 90.

    Trust will only come full disclosure.

    I would be more happy to see the salary bands across the whole MOD, with a comparision with the private companies supplying them. This would allows the tax payer to see if frontline staff - the men & women in the field are on suitable levels of pay, but also importantly to see if we are paying fair rates to public staff.

    I worked in the NHS in the 80's & early 90's, because I wanted to serve the community. I left after 3 years of poor management & dire wages for the drug industry.

    If you pay peanuts you get monkeys.... What the men & women fighting on our behalf want are good quality staff backing them up. Cut their salaries & they'll vote with their feet, leaving only those unfit for the job in their place!

  • Comment number 91.

    "Will transparency restore trust in government" implies that they used to be trusted.
    Has any politician ever been trust worthy ?

  • Comment number 92.

    yes and pigs will fly. The government has got to do a lot more, not just the "spin", Technically speaking civil servants pay and those for MP's and PM are not really related or even comparable. Just because an MP finds him or herself in government quite often does not mean they are competent, civil servants on the other hand have to be competent in the function they have risen to.

  • Comment number 93.

    Of course transparency will restore some trust in the governmet. Citizens want to be involved in the democratic process. Their confidence in government needs to be restored. In some cases Members of Parliament have ridden rough shod over concerns of citizens. Until there is better communication, there will be suspicion and conflict

  • Comment number 94.

    You cannot trust the government David Laws has only lost one wage not his job He stole £40k and gave it his partner as rent for a room he did not sleep in, yet won't be sacked as an MP. Why has the police not arrested him. they want minimum pricing on alcohol yet have a subsidised bar in the commons that will be exempt!

  • Comment number 95.

    9. At 12:40pm on 01 Jun 2010, Confuciousfred wrote:

    The general public is not happy with MP expenses. I think that we the public, presumed to be the employers of these civil servants, will find pay levels in excess of £200,000 totally unacceptable. Not enough just tell us these mandarins are getting too much. Cap civil service pay, and re-align these with the private sector.


    I wouldn't mind betting that these civil servants are indeed getting paid in line with private sector pay, otherwise they would never have been attracted to those posts in the first place!.

  • Comment number 96.

    David Bale #20

    If you think the 'clowns' at the top of the Civil Service are not worth their high salaries, then you are free to attempt to replace them. Entrance to the higher grades of the Civil Service is by open competition. If you get through that, there are then several days of gruelling tests and interviews. One in a hundred contestants gets through. Not for nothing is it known as 'the hardest exam in the world'. Many top civil servants are among the most brilliant people in the country who could, if they wished, earn ten times their civil service salaries in banking etc. Many of them actually prefer the satisfaction of public service to the casino world of the City and, like my own daughter, turn down lucrative offers elsewhere.

    Transparency would be welcome as it might reveal how little corruption there is in the civil service, perhaps because the sanctions for wrongdoing are, quite rightly,severe. Only recently, a civil servant who posted his ebay sales through his office, running up postage costs of £40 was, quite rightly, not allowed to resign: he was immediately sacked with loss of all pension rights and escaped prosecution only because the sum involved did not warrant the cost of a trial. Civil servants themselves are merciless towards anyone who abuses their position for financial gain because they know how valuable an incorruptible civil service is. There may be corrupt individuals - and we need to know how many - but the system - unlike the last Parliament, is not corrupt. Try living in a country where backhanders to bureaucrats are the order of the day, and we might appreciate the probity of our civil service more.

  • Comment number 97.

    I now know how much top civil servents earn but I still can't find out who owns the small plot of land at the end of my garden because the owners are almost untraceable.

  • Comment number 98.

    SpacedOne wrote:
    I know it's fashionable to pretend that everyone in public service is paid outrageous sums but most people earn less than they would in the private sector (in my own case by almost £8,000 - I checked).

    According to the ONS:
    The percentage difference between the median level of full-time earnings in the public sector (£539 per week) and the private sector (£465 per week) widened over the year to April 2009, following annual increases of 3.1 per cent and 1.0 per cent respectively.


    So last April the median pay for the public sector was £539 per week (£28,028 per year) while the median pay in the private sector was £465 per week (£24,180 per week) and public sector workers enjoyed a far more generous pay increase than private sector workers.

  • Comment number 99.

    Media transparency is as vital as political transparency.

    The minimum we need:

    A register of journalists' interests, political donations, affiliations, gifts received, sources of income, etc.

    A ban on media ownership by foreign interests or those who do not pay full UK taxes. We do not want these people interfering in our political process.

    In addition, at the publicly funded BBC, we should have:

    All salaries over £100k published, and a licence-holder vote on BBC executive compensation.

    An extension of the freedom of information act to the BBC (with the exception of information about journalist's sources).

  • Comment number 100.

    Transparency for some, it seems, but not for others. In the great wash-up of bills rushed through in the dying days of the last government was legislation to tighten the freedom of information laws relating to the Windsor family.

    We are now entitled to know even less about where our money goes in relation to the monarch than before. And that secrecy will persist for each monarch beyond most people's life time.

    By the way, Mrs Windsor is looking for a £6 million pay rise this year. How many public sector jobs could be protected with that sort of cash?


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