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Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 Posted by Hari 1 comment Labels: , , , , , , , ,
Posted by Hari on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 with 1 comment | Labels: , , , , , , , ,

Wage restraint has been tough. In March 2015 the Chief Secretary to HM Treasury announced:

"Our teachers, doctors and armed forces do a wonderful job serving the people of this country. Pay restraint has been very difficult for many, but has helped us to protect vital public service jobs while we deal with Britain’s deep financial problems.

The independent pay review bodies have worked hard to bring forward a balanced and affordable set of recommendations that delivers on our commitments to increase pay by around 1% and deals with particular pressures. The government is grateful for their work and I am pleased that we are able to accept their main recommendations.

The government has accepted in full the recommendations for the following workforces who will receive an average of a 1% pay increase:
  • Armed Forces
  • independent contractor GPs and dentists
  • Prison Service
  • teachers
  • senior military
  • judiciary"

Happily for some the doom and gloom did not spread everywhere.

From 31st July 2015 MPs pocketed a 10% payrise, their pay going up from £67,060 to £74,000 per annum (backdated to the General Election in May 2015). 

Perhaps you remember all those MPs shaking their heads and shooting out their lips protesting that the payrise was a disgrace in these times of austerity? According to the website Donate My Payrise 74 out of the 650 MPs pledged to hand over the extra cash to charities. The website helpfully gives links to the individual MPs’ public statements, so you can check what your MP did or didn't say.

A report in October 2015 by the Sun newspaper stated in fact only 26 MPs had actually done so. [Subsequent to the Sun report the SNP chimed in saying their MPs too would donate their rises to charity, but hadn't at that time decided to which ones]. 

Asked what David Cameron would do with his payrise, the Sun reported Cameron’s spokesman would only say:
“The PM has been explicitly clear since the very start that he does not agree with this pay increase.”

Which may remind you of Cameron's response when asked whether he benefited from the "millionaire's tax cut" in 2013. Cameron was asked by Stephen Pound MP, during Prime Minister's Questions of February 13th 2013 : 

"Q12. [142834] Stephen Pound (Ealing North) (Lab):  will [the Prime Minister] tell the House whether he will personally benefit from the millionaires’ tax cut to be introduced this April?

The Prime Minister: I will pay all the taxes that are due in the proper way. "

There is a spooky similarity between Cameron's statement and that of the Starbucks and Google bosses when they were being grilled by a parliamentary select committee on multinationals tax dodging shenanigans:
Tax avoidance

"we strive to follow the letter of the law and have done so in the case of our tax obligations. All taxes owed to the UK have been timely and fully paid"
Mr.Troy Alstead, Starbucks

"We pay all the tax you require us to pay in the UK."
Mr.Matt Brittin, Google

Could it be Cameron, Starbucks and Google share tax advisors? Surely not!

The Government is not simply turning a blind eye to the predicament of the less well off. Iain Duncan Smith's Department for Works and Pensions (DWP) showed enough concern to commission a report on the impact of the Bedroom Tax: "Evaluation of Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy". This report found that three quarters of those affected tried to make ends meet by cutting back on food and clothing. The report also states that even among people not affected by the Bedroom Tax (referred to in the report as the "comparison group"): 56% cut back on food and 62% cut back on clothing. Which is not so surprising when, acccording to OECD figures, the UK has one of the highest proportions of workers on low pay in the developed World:



Duncan-Smith, thoughtful chap that he is, waited until the day MPs broke up for Christmas holiday, on 17th December 2015, before publishing the report. So as not to spoil their mood as they scampered off to spend their 10% payrise on presents and other festive stimulants. You can't say our Government isn't sensitive and caring.


1 comment:

  1. Achingly difficult to recommend :government should pay everyone what they are worth. Government sit high in their ivory towers, but don't do anything much,(apart from causing pure misery to all citizens. Basically, if MP's are worth so much money for speaking at PMs question time, and merely push their pens around all day the rest of the time, then surely Doctors/Junior Doctors, working hard all day long, must be worth £1000's for saving lives?

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