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Wednesday 1 February 2012

Verity Murphy | 15:26 UK time, Wednesday, 1 February 2012

An urgent review into claims of tax avoidance by top civil servants has been ordered by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, after a BBC Newsnight investigation.

The chief executive of the Student Loans Company (SLC), Ed Lester, has received his £182,000 pay package without deductions for tax or National Insurance.

The arrangement was agreed by the tax authorities and potentially saved Mr Lester tens of thousands of pounds.

Richard Bacon MP, who sits on the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, described the figures as "outrageous".

The SLC said it had "followed all government guidelines" on remuneration, but as Richard Watson reports, how does such tax avoidance sit with the coalition's stated aims to tackle tax avoidance and unfairness? We'll also be discussing the issue with Jeremy in the studio.


Also on tonight's programme, Pakistan's foreign minister says her country has no hidden agenda in Afghanistan, in response to a leaked secret Nato report on Islamabad's links to the Afghan Taliban.

Speaking alongside her Afghan counterpart in Kabul, Hina Rabbani Khar said allegations in the report were "old wine in an even older bottle".

The report says the Taliban are helped by Pakistani security services.

Tonight, our Diplomatic and Defence editor Mark Urban investigates how much support the insurgents have from the Afghan people and outside forces, and where their campaign is headed.

And, yesterday the removal of Fred Goodwin's knighthood was lauded widely, but today it has been described as "anti-business hysteria" by the Institute of Directors.

They were joined by ex-Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling, who said the decision appeared to have been taken "on a whim", as Mr Goodwin was not the only banker to cause problems.

David Grossman asks if Fred the Shred has been made a scapegoat for the wider failings of the financial industry?

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    europe coldest for 30 years?

    time to give our carbon taxes back?

  • Comment number 2.

    "NO HIDDEN AGENDA IN AFGHANISTAN" - IS SHE MAD? EVERYONE ELSE HAS.

    As an Old Whine myself, I am wondering if the Foreign Minister's remark is 'ist' of some kind?

    Might we please concentrate on ENGLISH CORRUPTION? This government is illegitimate; Newbury is fining by entrapment. IS THAT NOT EDGY ENOUGH FOR YOU NEWSYNIGHTY?

    Banality begins at home!!!

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 3.

    DIRTY AND DEADLY SECRET: NATO Troops Disguise Themselves as Civilians in Afghanistan
    https://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29009

  • Comment number 4.

    BBC "Reveals" After the Facts how British Special Forces Supervised and Speerheaded Libya Rebels to Victory
    https://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29001

    “The Western mainstream media’s modus operandi is to create the impression of fair and unbiased reporting when it comes to war coverage: but this reporting is "after the facts" once countless innocent civilians have been killed under NATO's "humanitarian mandate".

    Only once the targeted leader has been killed or ousted, do we see reports documenting the covert role played by the Wesrtern military alliance. The mainstream media only reports long after the facts, once the Westerns puppet governments are installed.”

  • Comment number 5.

    What Is Really Going On In Syria: Insider Update
    https://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29014

    “Professor Dolgov confirms that, far from a contrived "Arab Spring" scenario, Syria is undeniably grappling with the threat of foreign occupation. He observes that while the offensive is inordinately violent, the population will not be intimidated. Aware of the disaster wrought by NATO "humanitarian" operations in Yugoslavia and Libya, the Syrians refuse to be drawn into a sectarian ambush. A process of reform and development is on track, but it will not be dictated from abroad. In Syria, one may object to the president, but not to national sovereignty.”

  • Comment number 6.

  • Comment number 7.

    @ Jaunty #1 - Agreed, we should get a refund!!

    :p As for NATO's report that the Pakistani government is backing the Taliban - is anyone really surprised? If you recall, when Afghanistan was ruled by the Taliban, the only countries in the world to recognise it were Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/9053516/Taliban-intact-and-getting-Pakistan-backing-Nato-report-reveals.html

  • Comment number 8.

  • Comment number 9.

    STEALTH THEFT - THE PARALLELS BETWEEN NEWBURY AND THE WORLD (#1)

    West Berkshire Council has 'passively entrapped', and negligently robbed, thousands of motorists. Having been shown the error of their ways, they have now partially backed down, BUT WILL NOT REPAY ANY IMPROPER FINES COLLECTED.

    How like the CO2 tax that is, Jaunty. In both cases, it became more and more apparent that falsehood reigned. BUT THE BENEFACTORS DID NOTHING.

    The world is corrupt. Britain is corrupt. West Berkshire is corrupt. Why should any prole bother with living a decent life?

    Weep

  • Comment number 10.

    Tonight's menu sounds like the current affairs equivalent to "There now follows a work by a little known Lithuanian composer....."

  • Comment number 11.

    WHEN WE SHOW THE TALIBAN THE WONDERS OF D-MOCK-CRASS-Y

    They will fall over themselves to be our friends and the conflict will end. All those mercenary heroes, will have died for the greater good - er, I think.

    In passing, has anyone ever heard of a feckless git mercenary, who died because he was a rubbish soldier, whom no one liked? No? Odd that.

  • Comment number 12.

    BENEFACTOR BENEFICIARY - SEE IF I CARE (#9)

    ooops

  • Comment number 13.

    a more interesting video diary of a tour in afghanistan. They meet a british officer who gives them a tour around an ex palace. It also mentions what kind of image the public is fed

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dybbhPNNfAY

  • Comment number 14.

    If you're considering having apologists for Sir Fred Goodwin on tonight's programme, I do hope you will take the national mood into account and ask Sir Jackie Stewart if he feels that as a tax exile it is appropriate for him to be defending his friend Fred. Might also ask him how much he earnt from RBS whilst Sir Fred was in charge and if he understands why the average man in the street feels so aggrieved.

  • Comment number 15.

    The chief executive of the Student Loans Company (SLC), Ed Lester is on a two year contract and consequently, is working for the SLC via a Personal Service Company (PSC).

    Mr. Lester is not a permanent member of staff, which would presumably entitle him to paid holidays, employer pension contributions and any other perks of permanent employment.

    And that is the rough quid pro quo at work here, the 'employer' i.e. the SLC, finds they pays out money slightly less overall and the 'employee' in this case, Mr. Lester, finds he takes home more pay.

    Win-win, except for HMRC's chunk.

    One wonders whether Mr. Lester will now suffer several years of IR35 investigations into his 'deemed' employment status or somesuch nonsense, such as Geoff and Diana Jones of Artic Systems had to bear until a HoL decision went in their favour.

    PS. If you lift a stone at the BBC, you will probably find a significant number of people there, including some of the presenters, are also freelancers, operating via Personal Service Companies.

    PPS. If I had to employ anybody more-or-less directly in any of my own enterprises, I would insist that they operate via a PSC, mainly to avoid the sheer hassle of the PAYE system from an employers perspective and also, critically, to avoid any possible employment tribunals, which can destroy a small business.

  • Comment number 16.

    WHILST IN AGREEMENT LET'S NOT FORGET DAVE IS MACHIAVELLIAN (#14)

    As others have noted, Fred is a handy target to pile a lot of sins on, and then drive into the wilderness. The allowances (expenses) fiasco was a similar ploy. Behind it all, this country is corrupt in ALL its institutions. And how ironic that the monarchy is being bigged-up, when the poor Queen is shoved from knighting to un-knighting by the very ciphers she impotently elevated (earlier) to near-absolute feudal power: Blagger Blair and Dodgy Dave! “We can’t go on like this.”

    D MOCK CRASS Y? Y? Y? Y? WHY DO WE LET THIS CONTINUE?

  • Comment number 17.

    "This was a mistake on the part of David Willetts and Danny Alexander"
    "There has been no transparency and secondly...it has been extended over a 2 year contract"
    Ed Lester's Tax arrangements.

  • Comment number 18.

    This students loan boss not paying proper tax thing is so obviously a scam when you consider that our local parish council since last year has had to pay 20% tax to HMRC for the woman who daily opens and closes the public toilets ( 100 quid in the hand a year ). Its the same with the ( pensioner ) parish clerk, who would have much preferred to stay self employed, now the parish council has to employ her " Cards In ". The exact same principle must apply to all public positions, or is it one law for the rich and another for the poor again ?

  • Comment number 19.

    The Chief Exec of the SLC is far from alone in being a public servant but not an employee. This is very common in local government where those who have retired (retired early or on health grounds) will have their pensions clawed back if they are a direct employee. But if they have a contract for services rather than a contract of employment, or are an employee of an company - their own or an agency - no problem. And tax and NI can be avoided easily too, or minimised with plenty of scope to set expenses off against any tax bill.

    The acting Head of Children's Services at Oxfordshire County Council works under a version of this arrangement, and he is not the only one there.

    You might say that it's what councils need to do to get the quality staff they need but in the public service you should determine a transparent rate for the job and recruit the best candidate who will do it for that pay. It's time the whole stone was turned over, well done on making a start.

  • Comment number 20.

    :p The Indians bought the French Dassault Rafale because they were cheaper and they will give them more technology. Why on earth would they pay more for the Typhoon? DOH! If BAE want the contract, they should give a discount :p Simples.

  • Comment number 21.

    "85% [of aid money] is siphoned off by corrupt officials" So why give aid money then?

  • Comment number 22.

    Wasn't the IR35 legislation introduced to deal with precisely such cases as Ed Lester? A lot of people have found themselves on the wrong end of IR35 investigations though I have never heard of anyone in the public sector falling foul of it. The public sector is rife with it, "Consultants" who quit their public sector job on Friday to return on Monday working for a company and charging 3x what they were earning previously.

    I should think a few FOI requests to local authorities, the BBC, all the Quangoes etc would turn up thousands of "public servants" who are not quite what they seem. It will be interesting to see whether this story runs or gets buried as there must be thousands in the public sector working this particular scam (as it was so aptly called by the student representative).

  • Comment number 23.

    I'm just wondering as to whether the theoretical loss of the India Typhoon contract is entirely down to the extra ongoing manufacturing costs at BAE UK plants due to any future " carbon floor price " and other implications related to the 2008 Climate Change Act ?

  • Comment number 24.

    WORLDWIDE CORRUPTION - A LEGACY OF BRITISH PRESENCE?

    I seem to remember the term "slush fund" connected with bribes to foreign buyers of killing kit (defence equipment). Might it be that the slush fund is now called AID? And how cynically, hypocritical (aka British) that Dave crows about our full (UN pledge) 0.7% GDP given in 'aid'. THE SMELL IS OVERPOWERING.

    I know nothing of pay arrangements on West Berkshire Council, but their inability to add appropriate signage to a few hundred yards of road, such that no one is entrapped, is now manifest. Or is it just more corruption in the microcosm?

    Meanwhile, off the back of Fred's "DISHONOURING" I am redoubling my efforts to bring the ILLEGITIMACY of this Parliament to its members. THEY DO NOT REPLY, but continue to refer to each other as HONOURABLE. One word suffices:

    CORRUPTION.

    DISMANTLE WESTMINSTER - INSTALL INTEGRITY - SPOILPARTYGAMES

  • Comment number 25.

    Regarding tax avoidance and PAYE...I remember confronting Paul Mason on this subject a while ago on his blog...

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/paulmason/2010/07/deficit_reduction_greek_style.html?postId=98544261

    Of course, the unimpeachable Mr Mason was as straight as a die...

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/paulmason/2010/07/deficit_reduction_greek_style.html?postId=98567810


    #22 Simon_987

    Re IR35

    I refer you to this response by tawse57...

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/paulmason/2010/07/deficit_reduction_greek_style.html?postId=98579061

  • Comment number 26.

    Re: Ed Lester and the case of the Student Loans tax avoidance.

    Anyone in the public sector is paid from public money. Generally, those people are forced to pay back a proportion of their salary as 'tax' - a tax on money that was already paid from taxes. Isn't that a bit silly? It's just taking 10 quid out the public coffers, and then insisting that 2 quid be given back. Might as well just give 8 quid and cut out the red tape in the middle.

    In other words, might it not be simpler if public servants just paid no tax? Just decrease their gross salaries by the amount of tax paid and then write off the tax (leaving their take-home pay unaffected). If nothing else, it would prevent 'scams' like this.

    As for the Indian aid issue...

    I suspect our country's recent attempts at 'aid' were rather cynical and politically motivated. India is by all accounts rapidly gaining in wealth (they own a number of our steel and car manufacturing businesses do they not?), though I don't doubt that a significant proportion of their population lives in real poverty. I seem to remember that India scores extrememly badly on the Gini index of wealth inequality, so I suspect their poor might be better helped by a more equal distribution of their wealth, rather than influxes of foreign cash in the form of aid.

    Mind you, the UK's Gini index score has become truly shocking lately.

  • Comment number 27.

    What planet does Simon Walker of the IOD live on? If there is "anti business hysteria", it is because the banking and FS sector brought the economies of the western world to the brink of ruin, and had to be bailed-out by the state. Too many ordinary people have had their lives wrecked! Also, without that bail-out many more of the companies he represents would have gone to the wall. Without limited liability, which is another form of socialising losses, even some of his members might be begging on the streets!

    Then the (I am not allowed to use the "M-word apparently) makes the banal statement that yesterday's event "politicises the whole honours system". Is he really so naive as to think that the honours system is apolitical? As an example take, say, the very (self) important Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who is a knight. I have friends who care for the dying, and hold their hands/hug them in their final moments? They have no honour except their self respect, and precious little money! Why is Sir Malcolm so special, or any other of the knighted MPs? Nothing to do with politics surely?

    Mr W suggests that it's wrong remove a knighthood because "you don't approve of someone" without there being any criminal conduct.

    Honours are supposed to be for outstanding contributions to the community, not for those merely innocent of criminal conduct. When it's abundantly clear that these people have damaged the community rather than contribute to it, surely the honour should be removed?

    I agree that it's wrong to single out the Shredder: all honours to the financial services sector since Y2K should be automatically revoked - if not all honours above BEM - and even that should be renamed to something less embarassingly banal!

    Bah!

  • Comment number 28.

    Source Charities Commission: UK has 162,000 Charities with an income of £52 Billion each year - a perfectly good system of AID what's more important I get to choose where I send my aid ... and not have that choice taken away from me by Government deciding aid beneficiaries with their own agenda. I hate this we know what's good for you attitude. Government has no place distributing International aid particularly in a country so diverse as our is now! £52 Billion a year - we're hardly mean spirited are we?

  • Comment number 29.

    Richard @24 - "we're hardly mean spirited are we?"

    It depends upon what you mean by a charity. Eton is a charity for example:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eton_College

    Whether society is better or worse for its existence is another matter!

  • Comment number 30.

    There's a new bogeyman who must be publicly humiliated and driven out of his job. His crime is that he is on a short-term contract and has had his salary channelled through a private company. It is alleged that the purpose of this arangement is to avoid tax.
    I wonder which of Newsnight's presenters will be airing their outrage about this arrangement.

  • Comment number 31.

    Did you know that the Bank of England's Asset Purchase Facility - through which QE asset purchase is carried out - will own £200 BN worth of gilts after the latest round of QE?

    And did you know that a very substantial share of the "desperately worrying spiraling cost" of government borrowing is therefore going to .... an agency if the Bank of England?

    Did you also know that UK Financial Investment owns over £100 Bn of bank assets which we got in return for the bank bailout?

    In theory APF could "retire" this gilt debt by annulling it - and UKFI could sell off the bank assets and use the cash to pay down debt.

    At which point the UK would not have a significantly large level of borrowing than most countries - and there would be no need to implement the 90% of cuts & tax increases about to be implemented which will take £100 BN+ out of the economy, which represents over a trillion pounds of aggregate demand?

    We are now in the world of smoke & mirrors - and given the questionable sanity of making these deep cuts in the face of a national, regional and potentially global recession, why on earth is the Coalition taking this massive risk with the economy?

    It can only be politically motivated - a golden excuse to slash the size of the state and hammer those they disapprove of.

    Labour needs to advocate debt restructuring, an end to lending ourselves money and charging ourselves for it - and to unravel the bank bailout over time by selling off the assets. The cuts programme should be annulled and a programme of capital investment put in place to keep people in jobs, address some of our problems like the shortage of social housing and raise the level of demand in our flatlining economy.

    Jeremy's recent interview with Danny Alexander revealed how berift of ANY idea how to stimulate growth the Coalition is and that they intend to maintain an austerity regime well into the next parliament to pay down nthe debt - to our own central bank.

    If we are preapred to pick up the bill for private sector loses as we did for thr banks, why not retire most if nto all of the gilts held by the bank of england?

  • Comment number 32.

    MY SERVER IS MAKING A HASH OF SERVING - WEB COMMENT INDICATES EVIL

    Just ANOTHER branch of BRITISH CULTURAL CORRUPTION. Who instituted the 'MAC' protocol? Westminster governance!

    DISMANTLE WESTMINSTER - SPOIL PARTY-GAMES - INSTALL INTEGRITY

  • Comment number 33.

    Only Fools and Horses Work?

    its no secret tax is for the poor and the stupid. Paying tax is a stupidity tax?

    Milliband

    i find it impossible to listen to his style of rhetoric.

    The 11 year war with Pakistan

    of course we will lose. NATO wasn't defeated by the Taliban but by Pakistan.

    Overseas Aid

    is about the uk pretending they are still the Empire. So its a vanity exercise with borrowed money.

  • Comment number 34.

    Top five regrets of the dying
    https://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/01/top-five-regrets-of-the-dying

    A nurse has recorded the most common regrets of the dying, and among the top ones is 'I wish I hadn't worked so hard'.

  • Comment number 35.

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

  • Comment number 36.

    It was interesting to see how NN had decided to present the Lester/SLC tax avoidance story last night.

    They could have started the piece by explaining to the viewer the difference between tax avoidance (prefectly legal) and tax evasion (illegal) as very few lay people will know the difference and what it means in practise.

    Furthermore, they could have also explained that the tax avoidance spectrum ranges from simple measures such as taking out an ISA to arcane schemes dreamt up by creative tax specialists for the uber-wealthy e.g. industry funding for forestry, films etc.

    Instead, from the get-go, the piece took the tack that 'avoidance' in this case, was something very dodgy, which cued the student chap to call it a 'scam', which Paxman was then obliged to point out was perfectly legal (especially as Personal Service Companies are often used in the media industry by the higher earners).

    Apart from highlighting how a piece can be shaped at the outset for the viewers, what was revealing within that story was how HMRC staff gave the nod to Mr. Lesters arrangements for work in the public sector, when out in private sector, individuals lives have been blighted for years at a time by HMRC's relentless IR35 investigations into these very same tax avoidance methods, with very little success I might add.

    Whatever else is going on, we are never all in it together but of course, you knew that as soon as it was uttered by one of those multi-millionaire politicians, did'nt you?

    I think that we are broadly living in a time where a glided elite, highly educated, very intelligent and mobile, the 1% if you like, are gradually detaching themselves and floating effortlessly above the 99%, who scrabble around for the crumbs of capitalism.

  • Comment number 37.

    '30. At 11:12 2nd Feb 2012, MaggieL -
    I wonder which of Newsnight's presenters will be airing their outrage about this arrangement


    Arf.

    Meanwhile...

    'Instead, from the get-go, the piece took the tack..

    There's the tacks that get ticked, and analysed, and debated, and 'we' get to look at.

    And then there are the tacks that get tacked away from.

    Stormy waters, 'n all.

    Unique, if hardly comprehensive.

  • Comment number 38.

    JunkkkMale @ 37

    The NN coverage of the Lester/SLC tax avoidance story last night was not balanced.

    For example, the narrative, in its determination to paint the story as one of dodgy tax avoidance, failed to point out that the Student Loans Company were saving approximately £87K by using Mr. Lesters services via a Private/Personal Services Company.

    Well, the Government have been 'jumped' by the media again and now as a direct result, Mr. Lester will become a conventional employee of the SLC and as such can now enjoy holidays, pension contributions and lots of sickness (freelancers who become permanent staff often become very sick, something that never happened when they were being paid to turn up i.e. in Mr. Lesters case, one days sickness would have previously cost him £900 but now as permanent staff he will be paid anyway).

    Who really benefits from forcing Mr. Lester into permanent employment?

  • Comment number 39.

    "An urgent review into claims of tax avoidance by top civil servants has been ordered by Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, after a BBC Newsnight investigation."

    +
    Very good piece of work by Newsnight - exposing sleaze at the centre of Govt/Whitehall.

    Public/taxpayers have a right to know if some Civil Servants are 'self employed' - How, why & on what basis?

  • Comment number 40.

    "They could have started the piece by explaining to the viewer the difference between tax avoidance (perfectly legal) and tax evasion (illegal) as very few lay people will know the difference and what it means in practice."

    That is a fair point. However, from what I understood from the lady barrister last night, this kind of tax efficiency scheme is used in circumstances whereby an employed person is sitting on another company’s board on a temporary basis, which clearly contradicts the employment arrangement for Mr Lester as a full time CEO of the student loan company. And I suspect if it had been a clear-cut application of the principles, Lester/Student Finance England wouldn’t have had to seek ministers’ explicit approval in the first place. Either way, one has to question the professional judgement by Danny Alexander and the Treasury in approving Lester’s tax arrangement.

    P.S. I never fully understood the difference between tax evasion and tax avoidance; the end result is the same – you don’t want to pay taxes to the government. The only thing I can see is the tax avoidance guy can afford a good accountant and the other guy can’t. :P

  • Comment number 41.

    The Real Economic Picture
    https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2012/02/02/the-real-economic-picture/

    "These graphs make it completely clear that there is no economic recovery. In place of recovery, we have hype from politicians, Wall Street, and the presstitute media. The “recovery” is no more real than Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction” or Iranian “nukes” or the Obama regime’s phony story of assassinating last year an undefended Osama bin Laden, allegedly the mastermind of Islamic terrorism, left by al Qaeda to the mercy of a US Seal team, a man who was widely reported to have died from renal failure in December 2001, a man who denied any responsibility for 9/11.

    A government and media that will deceive you about simple things such as inflation, unemployment, and GDP growth, will lie to you about everything."

  • Comment number 42.

    mademoiselle_h @ 40

    The difference between practising tax avoidance and tax evasion is that with the former you go about your lawful business and with the latter you go to jail.

    So, it is quite handy to know where the line between the two is, which is why wealthy people employ tax advisers to ensure that they stay just on the right side of the line.

    Incidentally, Governments down the decades have hated it, but a landmark judgement by the late, great Lord Denning in the 1960's stated that a person had the perfect right to organise his/her financial affairs such that it minimised the amount of tax that was handed over to the Government.

    For the avoidance of doubt, that is tax avoidance.

  • Comment number 43.

    THE HORRIBLE TRUTH IS THAT DIRTY PRACTICES RUN THE GAMUT FROM WESTMINSTER TO RIOTERS - NO ONE IS WHAT THEY SEEM. (#36)

    Until we re-jig the whole culture: end to end, top to bottom, every aspect of life will be unpleasant, degrading and nihilistic. You only need to ponder the 'EIGHTFOLD PATH' or root DAOISM or even what is reported in the name of JESUS, and you KNOW INSTANTLY, we have lost 'The Way'.

    But poor Damaged Dave needs to be GREAT NOW (just as Tiny Tot Tony did, before him) he is no philosopher.

    DISMANTLE WESTMINSTER - INSTALL WISDOM - DON'T LET THE NEEDY RULE.

    Time for rebellion?

  • Comment number 44.

    AND STILL (judiciously?) NO WORD OF RON PAUL FROM NEWSYNIGHTY (#41)

    Will he die in a freak road accident, have a 'run of the mill' heart attack, or be 'found dead in the woods'? Spoilt for choice!

    "Dark days Mr President" (The Deacon to Johnnie Cyclops - Whoops Apocalypse.)

  • Comment number 45.

    OOH LOOK! DANNY ANNOUNCES ANOTHER CLEANSING OF THE CHAMBER POT!

    If they turn Westminster into a place of decency and honour, where will the Westminster Creatures go? I think they will have to PRETEND to put things in order but leave the DISGRACEFUL ETHOS untouched.

    OH - DEJA VU!

  • Comment number 46.

    Government Contractor

    Four points.
    1. Even by your own roundabout admission , this guy is a trouble shooter on a limited contract (ends April I understand).
    2. In your figures comparing the guy being a employee of the state or freelancer: You forgot to include the 80% taxpayer funded pension contributions and any performance bonus he would be entitled to if he was a employee of the state.
    3. IR35 question: We would, no doubt, be in uproar if the guy had other other consecutive contracts with private companies while he was contracted by the state.
    4. And £180,000 pa for a Snr. manager seems not to be that unusual in the public sector. A local council I know have a employee on £200,000 pa , quite a few others on £100,000 pa , plus pension contribution plus bonuses and no doubt plus expenses.

    One question I have, is being able to claim travel expenses , surely his company should be libel for that and be able to claim it back via tax.

    Still it will be interesting to see how many people in the public sector are on such contracts.

    Aid and Typhoon

    I tend to subscribe to the idea that aid can deter governments from looking after their own people.

    But looking at the Indian press it seems not only that the IAF have other French planes (Mirages I believe) , but also the Rafale bid was $2 million cheaper for per plane.
    If I was EDS (BA) I would double check my security for handling such commercial bids.

    Also there is the question of their new aircraft carries , one has already been floated and is having it final fittings fitted and the other 65,000 ton (cat and trap) carrier should start being built afterwards. They will probably want Rafale's for that too. Even though BA has looked into fitting the Typhoon for carrier use , there is no track record of actual use. Besides on the maintenance side , both versions of the Rafale share common parts , why have an air force requiring so many different parts in which to maintain their aircraft.

    As for the British works that build Typhoon , I have been led to believe that there is some work for upgrades for Typhoon soon. Vectored thrust ? :)

    Maybe the IAF will start to look at replacing their fighter force , this is where the Typhoon could win contracts.


    Poor old England

    https://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/01/britain-after-break-up

    Maybe I cant count, but each country of the UK got mentioned in this piece -

    Wales four times.
    Scotland seven times.
    N.Ireland twice.
    England twice , with one use being derogatory.
    London twice , both derogatory.

    Why does England get pillared so ?

  • Comment number 47.

    '38. At 15:44 2nd Feb 2012, JohnConstable wrote:

    The NN coverage of the Lester/SLC tax avoidance story last night was not balanced.


    As Eric might have said, 'there's a lot of it about Little Ern'. Or, in this case, maybe it's more 'Big Earn'?

    https://order-order.com/2012/02/02/ed-peston-and-the-iranians/

  • Comment number 48.

    Steve-London

    The Guardian article about Britain after the break up is written by a Labour member, Carwyn Jones of the Welsh Government, so one would not expect London or England to figure principally in his political outlook.

    If Scotland does manage to extract itself fully from Westminster, the most logical political next step would be for Wales do likewise, which would leave England as exclusively England.

    Therefore, the whole 'British' political layer becomes largely superfluous and can be dispensed with.

    In summary, the end result of the full devolution process of this island is to consign political Britain to the dustbin of political history.

  • Comment number 49.

    A HELPING HAND NEWSYNIGHTY - NO CHARGE

    https://www.ronpaul.com/2012-ron-paul/ronpaul2012/

    Why has England no Ron Paul or Vaclav Havel? Have we driven them all mad?

    Westminster - 650 ciphers.

    Nuff sed

 

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