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£64 billion bill for quangos

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posted on May, 19 2008 @ 10:40 AM
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Quangos are sucking up more than £64bn of taxpayers' cash every year, it has been claimed.

Research has identified over 1,100 unelected bodies being funded by the Government in the UK.

They include little-known organisations such as the Potato Council - which has a £6m budget and 49 staff to help promote the root vegetable.

Pressure group the TaxPayers' Alliance used freedom of information laws to obtain details of public corporations, delivery agencies, government backed investment funds, and non-ministerial departments.

However, they did not count police forces, fire services or EU agencies operating in Britain.

Altogether, the team found that as of March 2007 there were 1,162 quangos, employing 714,430 people. Their annual funding from the taxpayer came to £63.5bn - although this did not include public money being channelled indirectly through the EU.

The quangos ranged in scale from those handling just a few million to behemoths like the Housing Corporation, which had a budget of £1.64bn last year.

Gordon Brown promised a "bonfire of quangos" in 1995 when he was shadow chancellor, but critics say the organisations have continued to thrive.

There have also been claims that they often work at crossed purposes. The Food Standards Authority has been extolling the benefits of a low-fat diet while the Potato Council is running a national chip week.

The report's author, Ben Farrugia, said: "Government today tries to do too much, and consequently fails. The structure of government needs to change if we hope to see better value and significant improvements in our public services."

source

It's a bit of a coincidence that I have been speaking about this to various US members over the last few weeks.

For those who don't know what a quango is, wiki definition here

Of course the quango that made the headlines was one which promoted potatoes - and allegedly spends £6 million doing it.

The last big fuss about these silly organisations was in 2005 when the BBC carried this article.

If accurate, there is an awful lot of wasted money in that £64 billion - is this where our taxes are going?

Certainly it seems extremely wastefull at a time when some people are having to pay for their own cancer treatments, because the NHS won't pay.

What do the more politically savvy of our UK members (or US or any other) think about the number of quangos and the amount of money being spent on them?




posted on May, 19 2008 @ 11:32 AM
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Silly organisations ? I'm unsure whether you mean those such as the Potato Council or Quangos in general.

The report included some of these well known organisations ... and perhaps explains away the vast majority of staffing & expenditure.

The BBC
H.M. Courts Service
Royal Mail
Channel Four
English Heritage
The British Library
The British Museum, Imperial War Museum, The National Gallery, Tate Gallery ... and quite a few more too
VisitBritain
The Armed Forces Museums
Armed Forces pay & pensions
Ministry of Defence Police
The Met Office
Student Loans Company
The Higher Education Council
The Learning & Skills Council
The State Veterinary Agency
British Waterways
The Environment Agency
The National Parks

And so the list goes on and on. Very worthy organisations are included in this report, not just the headline grabbing Potato Council. And what do they cost exactly ? £6 million pa ? £6 million too much if you ask me ... but less that half a ha'penny per person per week.

But all silly ? Some perhaps. Not the vast majority.

You can argue that some may be better managed by the private sector ... but end of the day it'd still be the taxpayer coughing up to pay for it all, public, private or some mix n' match. Any savings would be marginal ... unless of course we just flog the lot off to the highest bidder. Bye bye national parks, bye bye BBC, cheerio to the entire legal system ...

Report/The Unseen Government of the UK



posted on May, 19 2008 @ 11:45 AM
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reply to post by Niall197
 


Silly as in badly managed, and wastefull - entirely my fault, I should have been clearer.

There's also the issue of accountability - if the money comes from the public, then there should be a high degree of accountability, and I haven't been able to find anything that suggests this is the case.



posted on May, 19 2008 @ 11:46 AM
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reply to post by budski
 


Quangos have been the trademarks of Labour spending- this potato council malarkey just serves to highlight that.

The reason is quite simple, and I believe a quote from the source will show this better than anything else:


Altogether, the team found that as of March 2007 there were 1,162 quangos, employing 714,430 people


714,430 people employed in the public sector = 714,430 votes for Labour.

Not to mention that public spending with Labour has always been to throw money at the problem and claim that as a victory. Perhaps Brown needs to go away and understand the concept of a "budget", and consider that the average taxpayer is under more strain than ever before.

That £6million for the potato council should definitely be up on the chipping block.



posted on May, 19 2008 @ 11:52 AM
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reply to post by 44soulslayer
 


Leaving aside the potato council argument, I think the argument about capturing votes has merit, especially since we have seen public sector jobs rise under this government - particularly in management.



posted on May, 19 2008 @ 12:00 PM
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reply to post by budski
 


I have some stark statistics to share with everyone.

Take a look at this site: www.statistics.gov.uk...

(The site itself is run by a quango... Im sure youll appreciate the irony there)

The number of public sector employees was being cut dramatically under Tory power. Right uptil 1997 we can see a consistant fall in the proportion of government employees. However Labour come in and wham... no more cuts, slight increase beginning.

The second and I believe more telling analysis is the breakdown of employees by region. Notice the gap in levels between Labour dominated areas (North of England, Scotland) vs Tory areas in the South, SE and London in particular.

These two pieces of info lead me to believe that the intention of this government is to gain votes by using taxpayers' money to fund meaningless quangos and employ ever more middle managers in overpaid and meaningless jobs.



posted on May, 19 2008 @ 12:08 PM
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The BBC...make it a public traded entity and you'd make one heck of a dent in those monies. We here in the US have the same problem with our PBS. Both need to be taken off the peoples dole!

Zindo



posted on May, 19 2008 @ 12:24 PM
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reply to post by 44soulslayer
 


That'd make sense if these supposedly well paid public sector managers were voting Labour. They're not, of course. That's where your hypothesis breaks down. Support for Labour in Scotland hasn't been this low since ... heaven alone knows when. Not in my lifetime, that's for sure.

As to those stats, mm, you can do a lot with stats. Take Social Security, for example. Most of London's benefit work has been relocated to Glasgow, Belfast & Makerfield ... why ? Because there's fewer problems recruiting and retaining staff. And why are folks in the South East so reluctant to join the public service ? Wages. They're crap. £17,600 max for a AO in the DWP outside London. Trying bringing up a post nuclear family on that. Just cannot be done. And that's why it looks ... only looks ... that there's fewer staff employed in the public service in the South East ... because the work's been relocated elsewhere because few wanted to do it.



posted on May, 19 2008 @ 12:31 PM
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1. Support for Labour dropping off is because of rank incompetence of governance on their part. Even though they attempt to "buy" the votes of public sector employees, surely there is a limit in the end. Even those public sector employees will grow weary of having their records lost, their bank run on etc etc.

2. I highly disagree that public sector wages are sub-par. The starting salary is probably higher than private sector. There is almost no pay upgrade mind you, but for the first 3-5 years of employment, a public sector job offers the same pay as a private sector one (22-30k). Mind you, I was looking at specialist applications such as the Foreign office and scientific posts at the MOD. I dont know the standard pay rate for admin work... it may well be impossible to live off it in London and the SE.



posted on May, 19 2008 @ 02:46 PM
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reply to post by ZindoDoone
 


Not really. The BBC costs £4billion per year and, to be quite honest, I think it's far better than privately owned outlets (if you saw the state of the tabloid media in Britain, you'd understand that the quality of journalism is... well, frankly, you might as well read a comic book. Most of it is populist, celebrity-focused nonsense and what little actual news there is happens to be extremely skewed towards one viewpoint or another). Besides, I doubt we'd get some of the excellent broadcasting that the BBC provides without it being publicly owned (think of all the BBC classics... the list is very long).

As for quangos, obviously savings would be welcome (and this should be looked at). But let's not pretend that a democracy is cheap to run - it isn't. In fact, it's probably one of the most expensive forms of government. You've got to pay your elected representatives, the civil service, the independent judiciary and a whole host of others. If you want close scrutiny of laws, a separate legal system etc. it has to be paid for.



posted on May, 19 2008 @ 06:28 PM
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reply to post by Ste2652
 


Lets also be honest that at the moment we are paying the bill for all these supposed services when in fact they are run with rank incompetence.

Increasing taxes to cover the provisions of democracy is in principle acceptable to most, but how about we actually get what we are paying for!



posted on May, 19 2008 @ 07:07 PM
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Oh Lordy, since when did 'The Taxpayers Alliance' ever become the source of anything credible or sensible in relation to public spending policy?
link

It's also worth noting that these discussions rarely acknowledge that the tory party's own record and that they found that they had to create their own quangos when they were in power.

......and devised their own little public accounts statistical wheeze, the semi-autonomous 'Agency' which created and employed (in all but name) hundreds of thousands of public sector workers.

The idea that being employed by the public sector guarantees a vote for any particular political party here is also patently absurd.

Of course reducing things down to a laughably simplistic tabloid-ese caricature to bash 'The Potato Council' and it's £6 million cost is I guess easy.
It's always easy to just claim these organisations are over-staffed and hugely wasteful when the details are avoided like the plague.

That's not to say no savings can ever be made or attempted but this kind of broad-brush bash is usually done precisely to avoid the awkward specifics.

I wonder how the British farming community producing one of the UK's most important crops would feel about this ridiculous dumbed-down exercise in points scoring?
Only £6 million to staff and run the UK-wide network when potatoes generate such large amounts of money to the UK economy (1/4 of a million tonnes domestically and 1/3rd of a million tonnes in exports)?!
That seems pretty good value to me.


The British Potato Trade Association (BPTA) was created from the merger of the National Association of Seed Potato Merchants (NASPM) and the Scottish Potato Trade Association (SPTA) in July 2006. This union has resulted in an Association with the widest UK potato industry representation possible.

The bulk of the tonnage of seed potatoes traded in Great Britain for both the home and export markets (between 250,000 & 300,000 tonnes annually) is handled by the 120 members of the new Association. This gives the Association greater negotiating power on behalf of its members.

www.bpta.org.uk...


In its new report Potatoes, the market researcher valued the UK fresh potato market at £855m (c €1,255m), representing almost 60 per cent of the overall potato market in the UK.

www.bakeryandsnacks.com...

A look at the organisation shows a serious attempt by the Gov to help and assist our farmers grow, manage, export, develop and market.
A large and serious business being taken seriously no less.
link

Sadly as is the case with most of this kind of 'easy answer' nonsense it doesn't really stand much scrutiny.

The Courts Service and the Royal Mail a waste of everyone's time & money?
English Heritage? The British Library? The British Museum? The Imperial War Museum? The National Gallery? The Tate Gallery?
Armed Forces Museums? Armed Forces Pay & Pensions?
Ministry of Defence Police? The Met Office?
The Higher Education Council? The Learning & Skills Council?
The State Veterinary Agency? British Waterways?
The Environment Agency? The National Parks?

I think not, it's self-evidently a ludicrous proposition.

Once again once the specifics are run into the absurdity of the obviously politically loaded starting premise is exposed.

How on earth could these organisation be credibly run by anything other than an "unelected" body?

44soulslayer

Starting salaries for clerical staff and junior management staff in the Gov Agencies are nothing like the £22 - £30k you mention.
They are nothing like as generous.

That kind of starting salary would apply to middle management graduate direct entrants and qualified graduate specialist staff (such as qualified chemists, lawyers, Drs etc).

I have a couple of friends that have been employed in the what is now the Dept of Work & Pensions for just over 20yrs, they are in the 1st management grade and supervise staff (one is responsible for 20 staff), their annual salary is around £24k this year.

The most numerous 'civil service' (a term to use advisedly in view of the various agencies in existence) grades are the AO and the AA.

Administrative Officers (the name for the old 'clerical officer') start at £14k and if they get all their increments (which are performance dependent these days and have been for years) they can go as high as £17.6 after many years.
link

Administrative Assistants (the name for 'clerical assistants') start at £12.5k and if they get all their increments (again performance related) then they might after several years go as high as £14.25k.
link

If you or anyone else imagines that those types of salaries are excessive or especially generous these days then I'd say a reality check is needed.

(Especially if you carticularly consider that the old 'Civil Service' pension has now vanished for new entrants and the incremental increase points have been reduced in monetary terms and increased in number so that it takes a very long time to reach the maximum salary scale points.)



posted on May, 20 2008 @ 05:12 AM
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reply to post by sminkeypinkey
 


1. A government quango is completely uncecessary for a trade alliance purpose. It seems to me that if British potato farmers cared about their own livelyhoods (which obviously they do), they would happily create a private sector enterprise to represent themselves.

2. I accept your point about salaries. As I said, the only posts I had explicit knowledge of were the FCO, scientific and engineering jobs, which do pay around the 24k mark.

3. I wonder whose fault the pensions debacle is


Edit: Also forgot to mention that public sector workers are undeniably more likely to vote for a Labour government. Is anyone really so stupid as to bite the hand that is (literally) feeding them? Conservative governments cut spending and indubitably jobs along with them... seems to me like a Labour government is the set choice for low-grade public workers.

[edit on 20-5-2008 by 44soulslayer]



posted on May, 20 2008 @ 09:00 AM
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Originally posted by 44soulslayer
A government quango is completely uncecessary for a trade alliance purpose.


- Of course one may assert that but that hardly proves anything conclusively.
It may also be more true for some industries than others.

Nevertheless the idea (which has been implied here) that state help and facilitation to private industry through 'quangos' is somehow unique to Labour, the UK or is in some way especially 'socialist' is absurd.

The name might change but this is to be found, in one form or another, all over the world.

In the USA they directly head-hunt ex-senior execs from various industries/businesses into Gov precisely so as to try and make the operation of 'the state' more responsive and of greater practical benefit to the private sector.

Quite clearly in such a diversified and geographically distributed industry as farming in the UK, the farmers themselves are very happy to have this Gov support to help them and their industry.

The Potato Council (seeing as this was the example originally picked out to ridicule) is a totally cooperative and voluntary organisation, as well as being an information resource for us all.
It has been devised to address 'market failures' which existed prior to it's creation and which repeated reviews have concluded would return & continue to exist if it were abolished.


The BPC was formed in 1997 because it was recognised that that there was a market failure in providing the functions that were assigned to it.

The 2000 review confirmed that the market failure still existed despite some changes in the structure of the potato market.
The 2004 economic evaluation provides a comprehensive view of the current structure of the industry and compares it to the position at the time of the last review.
This is important as it documents significant changes with supporting data to the potato industry yet proceeds to argue and prove that market failures still exist.

Since the last review, the potato market has evolved rapidly, in line with most other produce markets and become a rationalised and specialised industry with fewer players. The customer base for growers is diminished and in the hands of fewer, highly specialised companies, especially in the processed sector. The final customer, i.e. the consumer is supplied by a market dominated by major multiples.

However drawing on the further arguments in the economic evaluation report, and detailed replies to the consultation exercise it can be concluded that market failure still exists in today’s potato market.

If the BPC is abolished, there is a high probability that some of its functions will not be undertaken by any other organisation within the industry.

link

'The state' has done nothing to impose on the industry other than to look to engage and assist along with broadening the engagement with our wider society.
See this related web site for example link

Given the huge value of farming British potatoes to the British economy I still come back to the fact that a mere £6 million for a national organisation is hardly excessive, especially given that it is a tiny % of the net worth of the potato industry to the rest of us.


Originally posted by 44soulslayer
It seems to me that if British potato farmers cared about their own livelyhoods (which obviously they do), they would happily create a private sector enterprise to represent themselves.


- We can all guess in accordance with our prejudices if we like but the facts and history are a better guide.

It's also worth bearing in mind that if a wholly private scheme were preferred by the farming community there is nothing to stop them organising one.

The farmers themselves were also asked.

In one man one vote terms they said they preferred abolition but when considered in terms of the biggest growers/producers the vote was overwhelmingly in favour of continuation.


The one-person one vote outturn indicated a majority in favour of abolition of the BPC.

The weighted (tonnage purchased) vote indicated a majority in favour of continuation of the BPC, as did the weighted (area planted) vote.

The results of this poll are similar to those in the last poll, in 2000.

link

The Potato Council was reviewed in 2005.

Both privatisation, merger and contracting out were specifically considered and rejected.

See full review report here.
link


Originally posted by 44soulslayer
I wonder whose fault the pensions debacle is


- I think you'll find that Civil Service pensions have been subject to change since the days of the last tory Gov.


Originally posted by 44soulslayer
Also forgot to mention that public sector workers are undeniably more likely to vote for a Labour government.


- In the sense that more of the least well off tend to vote Labour (if they vote at all), yes.

In the sense (which was clearly implied here) that public sector employees are bought votes for Labour, absolutely not.
That's ridiculous and if it were so then the election history of the UK would be enormously different.

[edit on 20-5-2008 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on May, 20 2008 @ 09:35 AM
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We call those "Grants" in America... this is politics, not a conspiracy.



posted on May, 20 2008 @ 09:47 AM
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QUANGO’s are a nice way for the UK main political parties to award their friends and family (the ones that wish to work that is). Lets take “Ed Richards the new chief executive at Ofcom and a former adviser to Tony Blair on media and telecoms, earned £392,343 in 2006”. So Ed will be completely non-bias and fair in his advisory capacity won’t he? Ready to slap any TV company if they say take peoples money dishonestly on stupid phone votes scams?

Anyone in UK that has had to fund government created power companies with 600-800% price increases inception will know what a fine job that the Regulators do to protect us from power company cartels and price fixing.

Not to mention the QUANGO Hybrid (I think its referred too) the FSA! They team up with The Bank of England (Sort of like your US Fed Reserve except now that they have all the laws in place to assist Banks enslave us, ours isn’t owned privately anymore. Clever!) and the Governments Treasury. They are there to ensure that our economy isn’t open to misuse by YOU and ME! So when one of their ‘Own’ abuse their own system of money creation from ‘Thin Air’ then they can spot it early and obviously assist with the pre-scandal cover-up before the Government steps in to use ‘our’ cash bowered from the Bankers (at a nice return, thank you very much) to ‘bailout’ the naughty bank i.e. Norther Rock in this example.

There was a list of the top 300 QUANGO fat-cats with number 300 earning over £150K a year, can only imagine what No.1 is getting. And, yes we’re all better off for his stirling work, whatever it is?



posted on May, 20 2008 @ 10:45 AM
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Originally posted by mlmijyd
So Ed will be completely non-bias and fair in his advisory capacity won’t he? Ready to slap any TV company if they say take peoples money dishonestly on stupid phone votes scams?


- Well, isn't that exactly what did happen?

People got their money refunded and the TV companies were fined.

GMTV fine link

channel 4 fine link

ITV fine link

BBC fine link


Originally posted by mlmijyd
Anyone in UK that has had to fund government created power companies with 600-800% price increases inception will know what a fine job that the Regulators do to protect us from power company cartels and price fixing.


- How are the regulators meant to stop the rise in prices & bring down the price of oil and gas from it's recent record highs?

You will find various regulators fining companys though -

National Grid fine

regulator fines water company link

You'll also find that a major investigation is underway right now looking into price fixing -
link


Originally posted by mlmijyd
Not to mention the QUANGO Hybrid (I think its referred too) the FSA! They team up with The Bank of England (Sort of like your US Fed Reserve except now that they have all the laws in place to assist Banks enslave us, ours isn’t owned privately anymore. Clever!) and the Governments Treasury.


- You'll find plenty of criticism about the US 'Fed' which like the IMF and World Bank are private and completely undemocratic.

At least the current British system enables a proper measure of open & public scrutiny & accountability & democratic control.


Originally posted by mlmijyd
So when one of their ‘Own’ abuse their own system of money creation from ‘Thin Air’ then they can spot it early and obviously assist with the pre-scandal cover-up before the Government steps in to use ‘our’ cash bowered from the Bankers (at a nice return, thank you very much) to ‘bailout’ the naughty bank i.e. Norther Rock in this example.


- ......and your preferred route to a perfect system would be what?

Maybe you'd have preferred them to have stood back & allowed the collapse of NR and the subsequent financial hurricane that would be bound to follow it and devastate the ordinary people of this country!?


Originally posted by mlmijyd
There was a list of the top 300 QUANGO fat-cats with number 300 earning over £150K a year, can only imagine what No.1 is getting. And, yes we’re all better off for his stirling work, whatever it is?


- If you aren't aware of the work those guys do then how can you criticise them?

I find your approach confused.

On the one hand you appear to want to complain about the state interferring and elected officials appointing people to the watchdog organisations (which has always been the case under all colours of Gov).
Then you move on to complain that they do nothing anyway to try to correct the excesses of the various private organisations
(which is factually incorrect as the record shows).
On the otherhand you seem to resent the state assisting private organisations even if they get into the kind of serious trouble that if left unchecked could cause 'ordinary people' huge damage.

We can always complain about some people & those 'top' sallaries but I think you'll find that if you want to attract good people into these high-profile jobs they won't do it for minimum wage.



[edit on 20-5-2008 by sminkeypinkey]



posted on May, 20 2008 @ 12:05 PM
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reply to post by sminkeypinkey
 


What I meant is that I don’t think that Government appointed QUANGO’s and people who have directly worked for say a Prime Minister, will be fair and even handed in their regulation of such powerful, influential and dominant bodies of Media e.g. BBC, that already enjoy huge government patronage.

Your right in my poor selection of TV Telephone scams as an example of weak regulation that they were indeed fined but no the people didn’t get their money back. I’m sure it was a question of monies going to charities but my may be weak point, was that they had did nothing to regulate or even monitor these practices that had been going on for years at, I can only guess the publics expense?

Regarding the ‘Power’ companies, my point is that there should be regulation on how much these companies can increase their prices (this was the case for a number of years to soften us). Further to this National power should never have been given away, along with Water to name a few.

Regulator soft on fines

I’m fully aware of the private nature of US Fed but are you actually saying that because The Bank of England isn’t private (anymore) that they function differently? Or that they are working for you and me in some benevolent way with independence from the US Fed/IMF/World Banks? I’d hope that you’d concede that the Nature of any Bank was to make as much money from its Debtors (the only source of its wealth) as was possible?

NR, if the Regulators were doing their very highly paid jobs well then this wouldn’t have happen. Its not like it’s the first time government bails out big business at our expense.

My preferred system is to dismantle via government the power that Banks have over its people. They are the only people on the face of this planet that can create money out of thin air and then charge interest on ‘Nothing’.

So your question of whether we should have let NR go to the wall isn’t really a valid or fair question when you see the type of business that you and I are now going to have to fund for the foreseeable future i.e. a base, corrupt and unethical one. I’d have given it to the vultures say the Virgin bid? And, the desalination that was hinted at will probably come anyway as we are heading for contrived financial meltdown anyway.

But rest assure the Regulators will do their job won’t they?

And no, no confusion




posted on May, 20 2008 @ 01:08 PM
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Originally posted by mlmijyd
What I meant is that I don’t think that Government appointed QUANGO’s and people who have directly worked for say a Prime Minister, will be fair and even handed in their regulation of such powerful, influential and dominant bodies of Media e.g. BBC, that already enjoy huge government patronage.


- Why not?

Surely it could equally be said that people with a degree of experience in or connected to Gov at a senior level will have a useful working knowledge of how Gov operates and perhaps influence enabling them to get listened to in the right places on the big issues?

I don't think that merely having worked with or for senior members of the Gov should automatically bar a person from being considered fit to do a particular job.

There are already restrictions to prevent personal benefit from 'insider' connections (ie you cannot as a buying Minister in the MOD go off and work for a defense contractor).


Originally posted by mlmijydbut no the people didn’t get their money back.


- I don't think this is correct, I have read that people were to be refunded.
It's also specifically mentioned here -


ITV has already said it expects the scandal to cost it £18. This includes the £2m cost of the Deloitte report, a £7.8m fund set up to repay viewers and the £8m it was paying out for the GMTV scandal.

www.thisismoney.co.uk...

and here -


From November 1, viewers who entered phone-in competitions on ITV programmes including Soapstar Superstar, Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway and Ant and Dec's Gameshow Marathon will receive reimbursement up to £1 per call and £1.22 per text message.

More than 8 million viewers who made calls and sent text messages to the flagship programmes on speficied dates between March 2003 and August this year are entitled to refunds after the broadcaster admitted to rigging competitions.

To claim a refund, viewers need to register for a form by calling 08000 280180 or applying online at www.ITV.com/competitions. Calls to the telephone number are free.

Applicants for reimbursement will need to show proof of ownership of the telephone number, or proof of employment if the phonecall was made from work.

business.timesonline.co.uk...


Originally posted by mlmijyd
Regarding the ‘Power’ companies, my point is that there should be regulation on how much these companies can increase their prices (this was the case for a number of years to soften us).


- IIRC there is.


Originally posted by mlmijyd
Further to this National power should never have been given away, along with Water to name a few.


- Well you'll not find too much argument from me that monopoly suppliers of strategic services should not have been privatised in the 1st place from me.

But they were. By the last tory Gov.

Rightly or wrongly this Labour Gov decided that rather than waste years and vast funds trying to simply reverse this that they would try to live with it by introducing a stricter regulation regime.

You yourself imply that they have done this although you take the line (as seen in the 2006 Independent article) that they could do more.

Well perhaps.

But you have linked & posted to an old story and ignored the Feb 2008 Indie article I linked to 'Power to the people: watchdog bows to pressure for energy inquiry' here

But huge fines and the most extreme measures are hardly the sum total of regulation.
There is less said about the day-in day-out job they do reaching agreements and helping the operation of the companies under their remit.

Ofgem steps in to ease fuel poverty


Originally posted by mlmijyd
I’m fully aware of the private nature of US Fed but are you actually saying that because The Bank of England isn’t private (anymore) that they function differently?


- Of course.

It is thanks to this Gov that the BoE not only have a Monetary Policy Committee (with a far broader and more representative composition than anything they have had before) but that they also publicly publish the minutes of their monthly meetings.

Ditto their senior execs coming coming before open & public Parliamentary committees.

Like it or not that is an advance and an example of a more open and publicly accountable Banking regime & Gov.


Originally posted by mlmijyd
Or that they are working for you and me in some benevolent way with independence from the US Fed/IMF/World Banks?


- Well quite obviously (and particularly since the 1979 tory Gov abolished exchange rate controls) we live in an inter-dependent international financial arena.


Originally posted by mlmijyd
I’d hope that you’d concede that the Nature of any Bank was to make as much money from its Debtors (the only source of its wealth) as was possible?


- The majority of our banks I'd say attempt to maximise their returns to their shareholders, of course.

The central banks are a different story and clearly have much wider responsibilities to Gov and the people.


Originally posted by mlmijyd
NR, if the Regulators were doing their very highly paid jobs well then this wouldn’t have happen. Its not like it’s the first time government bails out big business at our expense.


- Well that's easily said.

Unfortunately and by it's nature regulation (of this kind of extreme) is reactive.
Even the Bank's senior management are admitting that they are sometimes in the dark about their exposure and the extent of their involvement in some of these risky schemes, what chance the regulators?

Hopefully with each disclosure sensible rules get laid but as I said it's reactive and so there is always scope for the unforeseen disaster.......and of course that's 'unforeseen' in the sense that even those devising some of these mechanisms can't see what lies ahead nevermind anyone else (even with the best & most honest will in the world).


Originally posted by mlmijyd
My preferred system is to dismantle via government the power that Banks have over its people. They are the only people on the face of this planet that can create money out of thin air and then charge interest on ‘Nothing’.


- Well I'm not entirely without some sympathy but I think you're going to be waiting a long time on that one.



Originally posted by mlmijyd
I’d have given it to the vultures say the Virgin bid?


- Yeah but Virgin offered buttons and still demanded the state underwrite everything in full anyways.
Typical big private business, they want all the potential benefit with all the risk carried by the public purse.

No way. NR has a vast portfolio of property almost to the value of their liabilities to the taxpayer.

By far the most just outcome was the one taken, a semi-nationalisation until the exchequer (ie the taxpayer) gets back what we put in or until the risk to the public purse that through the funds we have underwritten is ended.

This IMO is one nationalisation which was wholly justified in every sense,

First and foremost it secured the banking system on which almost if not quite every adult and commercial enterprise (public and private) depends in this country and if the elected Gov is not entitled to do that then what on earth is it entitled to do?


Originally posted by mlmijyd
And, the desalination that was hinted at will probably come anyway as we are heading for contrived financial meltdown anyway.


- Well we agree to disagree then; I do not see anything like so major ahead that we have to fear a total meltdown.

We've been through far worse and still it did not happen.

ie Thatcher & her 20% demolition of the British manufacturing base?
The tory Gov's record of 15% mortgage interest rates for months on end?
The tory record of 10% and worse (3 million + - twice!) unemployment?


Originally posted by mlmijyd
But rest assure the Regulators will do their job won’t they?


- I reckon they will, some of it well and some of it not so well. Such is life.


[edit on 20-5-2008 by sminkeypinkey]



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