Friday, 11 June 2010

Brighton's public spending cuts in action: six figure payouts for former Labour MPs

As public spending cuts begin to bite, and millions are wiped from the budgets of Brighton and Hove City Council and Sussex Police Authority, it has been announced that the city's former Labour MPs are to get tax-free lump-sum bonuses of about £100,000 to make unemployment a little easier to bear.

It seems the three departing Labour MPs - two of whom retired rather than face defeat at the polls but all three of whom saw their seats won by candidates from other parties (one Green and two Tories) - are to receive so-called 'golden handshakes' of more than £110,000 between them on top of their generous publicly-funded pensions, the first £90,000 of which comes totally tax-free.

It seems as though the parliamentary authorities just don't get it. To paraphrase the late great Bill Hicks it'd be a little easier for us to tighten our belts if they were around some of these former MPs' necks.

Meanwhile  the city council is to press on with yet another reorganisation which will see four new directors hired on salaries of about £125,000 a year for overseeing wide-spread privatisation of our public services and doing some 'blue skies thinking' (they won't actually have departments to run - that's the whole point of the reorganisation).

Am I alone in thinking this sort of reorganisation, with all the costs it entails, should wait, at least until our new Tory government reveals the full extent of local spending cuts in its Comprehensive Spending Review due in September?

John Barradell, the council's Chief Executive, has already apologised to rock fans after the advert for the jobs sat under the wry strapline 'Status Quo fans need not apply' (my sides are splitting) - when will the community groups who are going to see their grants cut, and the public sector workers who will see thier jobs lost, get their apology?

If you fancy checking out the advert (and no, despite the headline it really isn't a joke) - or even fancy applying for one of the jobs, you can see it in full here.

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