The questions Lord Turner’s report on RBS raises for Parliament

 The collapse of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) raises a key issue: why have none of its directors faced a regulatory fine for their failures? For the taxpayer, the consequence of the bank’s collapse is stark – our current loss is over £25 billion with more than £45 billion of capital invested.  That pays for …

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High BBC car allowances, private health costs and BBC Talent travel costs need to be explained

Further to my previous blog post on senior BBC executive pay, I have received a helpful note this morning from Keith Murray of the National Union of Journalists, pointing out some further BBC spending which raises value for money questions. Keith tells me that the BBC currently spends £3 million a year on car allowances …

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BBC boss admits manager is paid around £1 million a year, but still refuses to reveal pensions contribution which may push his pay beyond £1 million

 In a blog post on 21st November, I wrote about the level of remuneration received by BBC executives at a time of proposed 20% cuts in local BBC radio.   Today the boss of the BBC, Mark Thompson, has finally confirmed that the figures I quoted in respect of the remuneration of John Smith, CEO of …

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Fens drier than Jerusalem – even rain now unlikely to stop drought

There has been less rainfall in the East of England over the last 12 months than Jerusalem, with drought conditions officially still in place and warnings of worst to come from the Environment Agency.  With reservoirs at record low levels and long term weather forecasts predicting below average winter rainfall, the Government needs to urgently …

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Is a BBC manager earning a million pounds a year whilst local BBC radio faces 20% job cuts?

At the Public Accounts Committee hearing this afternoon, Mark Thompson, the Director General of the BBC, said that some parts of BBC local radio face 20% job cuts.  This is part of around 2,000 jobs (or posts) being lost in the Delivering Quality First efficiency programme over the next five years to 2016/17.  Many of …

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Whitehall’s complacent merry-go round and what it means for our border controls

Civil servants in Whitehall continue to avoid being held accountable for failures by moving to a new job.  Such moves are not linked to the delivery of their objectives. Today’s hearing of the Public Accounts Committee on the Rural Payments Agency highlights this practice. Dame Helen Ghosh was permanent secretary of the Department for the …

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A47 Road signs could be provided by local suppliers for 99.5% less than the Highways Agency

There has been a huge response to my recent blog and subsequent appearance on the local news exposing the Highways Agency’s £30,000 estimated cost for two small signs at Thorney Toll.  It is clear that this sadly is not an isolated incident.  Many people have written to me outlining similar experiences, and shared my disbelief …

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First Friday with Steve Barclay

Local businesses often receive little flexibility from the taxman.  So you might be surprised to learn that Vodafone was given five years to settle its bills, whilst Goldman Sachs was let off tax on its bank bonuses following a private supper with the country’s top tax official.  I have been working with colleagues on the …

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Two road signs estimated to cost £30,000

Two road signs, to warn motorists of the hidden entrance to Thorney Toll Village Hall would cost £30,000 according to the Highways Agency. I have recently been calling for greater safety measures on the A47, following meetings with residents.  As a result the safety camera was re-activated, and I wrote to the Highways Agency asking …

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Probation Service Chief commits to keeping staff in Wisbech

Concerns for the future of Fenland probation staff based in Wisbech look to have been put to rest, after assurances I have received from Probation Service Cambridgeshire Chief Executive John Budd at a meeting at the House of Commons. The closure of Wisbech Magistrates Court raised doubts that the 16 staff in Wisbech might be …

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