Monday, 30 November 2009

They still haven’t got it yet, have they?


Dozens of MPs are thought to be refusing to pay back public money they were paid in excessive parliamentary expenses claims.

Sir Thomas Legg, the retired senior civil servant who audited all MPs’ claims since 2004, has been sending out final requests for tens of thousands of pounds worth of claims to be repaid.

He sent all MPs a letter of findings last month, stating whether they needed to repay money, were in the clear, or if he required more information. He gave them three weeks to respond before receiving a bill.

He has already received about £1 million in repayments, including more than £12,000 from Gordon Brown for cleaning and gardening claims deemed to have been excessive and further repayments from David Cameron and Nick Clegg, the Tory and Lib Dem leaders.

But it is thought up to 50 MPs are thought to have refused to respond or told Sir Thomas that they will not pay back the money, delaying his final report.

Sir Peter Viggers, the Conservative MP for Gosport who was found by the Daily Telegraph to have attempted to claim £1,600 for a duck house, was asked by Sir Thomas to pay back more than £40,000.

Sir Peter, who was ordered to step down at the next general election by David Cameron, was reported to be refusing to pay back the money. He declined to comment yesterday.

Frank Field, the former Labour minister, had said he would not repay almost £7,000 in claims for "housekeeping costs" and other household bills deemed excessive by Sir Thomas. Mr Field said yesterday: "I am awaiting Sir Thomas's final conclusions."

Frank Cook, the Labour MP for Stockton North, earlier said he would tell Sir Thomas to “p--- off” over his demand that the MP pay back £980 in utility bills. He was also asked to repay money for a fridge.

He also declined to comment yesterday.

Bernard Jenkin, the Tory MP for North Essex, who appealed after being asked by Sir Thomas to repay £63,250 that he claimed to rent a second home from his sister-in-law, has not heard back.

Commons rules changed in 2006 to bar MPs from renting from family members, but Mr Jenkin said he had been assured by officials that he could continue claiming allowances for the house.

Mr Jenkin, who received the largest bill from Sir Thomas of all MPs, said yesterday: “Sir Thomas Legg has not yet responded to my representations. I will repay whatever is finally recommended at the end of the process.”

Gordon Brown, David Cameron, the Conservative leader, and John Bercow, the Commons speaker, all told MPs they should abide by Sir Thomas’s recommendations in an attempt to end the expenses scandal.

A spokesman for Sir Thomas did not respond to a request for comment.

Strange that, when it comes to telling us what to do you can’t stop MPs talking, but when it comes to explaining why they are refusing to reimburse us for money they have ripped off they are suddenly silent.

As I said in the headline “they still haven’t got it yet” have they?

Angus

Angus Dei on all and sundry

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Friday, 27 November 2009

Why am I not surprised?





The Quango which runs the Legal Aid system is wasting millions on unnecessary administration and overpaying lawyers, the National Audit Office has found.

And “suggested” that the Legal Services Commission should cut back on its administration budget, and questioned why it was overpaying lawyers with millions of pounds in fees.

The NAO warned that there were “risks to value for money from the way the Legal Services Commission administers and procures legal aid for criminal cases”.

The report found that the commission "should do more to understand the market for criminal legal aid to make the most of its ability to control price and quality".

Last year, it found the Quango overpaid solicitors on criminal and civil legal aid cases by an estimated £25 million. In the same year it spent £1.1billion on criminal legal aid.

Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, added: “The Commission needs to address this as a priority to make sure that it is paying a fair price for legal aid services that both sustains a competitive supplier base and provides value for money.”

A survey of solicitors by the NAO found that more than a third thought the Commission was “unhelpful” while 29 per cent of solicitors believed the Commission “did not fully understand the legal system”.

Dominic Grieve, the shadow Justice Secretary, said: “This is a savage indictment of this government’s mismanagement of the legal aid budget.

"Criminal legal aid cost over £1billion last year, but the taxpayer is getting poor value for money. The government doesn’t understand the market for legal services and consistently fails to spend money effectively.”

Lord Bach, the Legal Aid minister, said he was disappointed that "control systems" at the commission had "led to a substantial number of overpayments.

"I have therefore asked the Commission to put in place an action plan to recover these amounts and to impose tighter controls to ensure claims are more effectively scrutinised to prevent repetition."

Last night the Government ordered the Commission to reclaim the overpaid fees, which amounted to £25million last year.


No recession for legal aid lawyers then, at our expense of course.

Angus

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Thursday, 26 November 2009

More Value for Money


A new ‘broadband tax’ to fund fast internet access will attract VAT and be applied to each phone line, leaving nearly two million households paying up three times the £6 announced by the government.

Plans by Revenue & Customs show that ministers will apply the tax to each phone line rather than per customer — affecting more than 1.7 million homes with more than one phone line — and will also add VAT to the cost.

A document, leaked to the Conservatives and reported in The Times, shows the Treasury stands to gain a further £30 million annual windfall by applying VAT to create a tax upon a tax.

The levy, billed as ‘50p a month’ when it was announced in June, has also widened to include high-speed fibre-optic connections in addition to standard copper lines.

A household with one line for phone calls and another for internet or fax use would pay 50p a month on each line plus VAT, a total of £14.10. Users with three lines, many of whom work from home, would pay £21.15.

The CBI said businesses would need to pay their share of the cost of improvements to Britain’s broadband infrastructure but called on the government to “clarify exactly how the charges will apply to individual businesses with multiple lines.”

Ministers hope the levy will raise up to £175 million a year to fund fast connections for rural areas that currently suffer from sluggish or non-existent broadband access.

A government spokesman told the newspaper: “We do not comment on the contents of leaked documents. It is vital for jobs and growth that Britain has a world-class digital infrastructure. Next-generation broadband brings a range of innovative services and applications with wide business, health and social benefits.

“We want everyone to experience the opportunities that next-generation broadband offers, which is why we plan to introduce a 50p levy on all fixed lines to help the market to access homes and businesses in hard-to-reach areas.”

And as we are going to pay for this, do we get a cut of the profits or a reduction in charges?


Angus

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Monday, 23 November 2009

British Bollocks Corporation





I really get pissed of by Numptys like Mark Thompson, the director general of the BBC who vomit forth statements such as “viewers care more about repeats” than the exorbitant salaries paid to executives.

Figures released by the corporation disclosed the top 100 are paid an average of £199,316 – comfortably exceeding the Prime Minister’s £194,250 salary.

With bonuses and other entitlements, the executives’ average package is more than £214,000 a year – almost 10 times the average British salary.

Mr Thompson’s total pay package last year was £834,000, which is more than 20 times the average salary. The same senior staff also claimed £175,000 in expenses in the first three months of the financial year.

But one senior executive told the Daily Telegraph that there was to be no action on pay because the corporation’s private data showed that salary and expenses were way down the priority list of licence payers.

The BBC released the salary and expenses figures last week to try to live up to the demand that public bodies should be more transparent and open. But the move backfired as the Tories said the scale of the pay packages and expenses were “insulting” to the public, while the Liberal Democrats said licence-fee payers would be “gobsmacked”.

The director general is also adamant that the BBC will not bow to pressure from MPs to publish the salary details of its “talent” such as Jonathan Ross, Sir Bruce Forsyth and Graham Norton.


When was this poll? Why wasn’t I asked for my opinion? Does anyone know of someone who participated in the said poll?

The BBC (British Bollocks Corporation) has been on the slide for some years, programme quality has lessened, and yes there are more repeats, but the knobs at the top don’t have to watch them because the salaries they are paid allows them to subscribe to satellite TV, unlike many of the license fee payers who are struggling to eat because of the £139.50 per year or £11.63 per month which could be put to much better use than the £834,000, per year or £69,500 per month paid to “Mr” Thompson.


The BBC (British Bollocks Corporation) is supposed to be a public service, not a golden goose egg for the unworthy.


Angus


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Friday, 20 November 2009

Safety begins at home


You may have noticed that I have not posted for a while, the reason is here.

Some of the world's poorest countries are to receive a cash injection of £1.5m from the UK government to help improve road safety.

Road accidents are now a bigger cause of death than malaria in developing countries, with one person dying on the roads every 30 seconds.

The funding will pay for pedestrian crossings and better road markings.

It was announced at the first ministerial global road safety summit, which was held in Moscow.

Minister for Development Gareth Thomas said the road safety statistics in developing countries were "shocking".

"I want to see this funding make a real impact on reducing casualty numbers where it's needed most. It will help with implementing basic safety measures," he said.

"Statistics show that the UK has some of the safest roads in the world. We must use our expertise to help developing countries meet the safety standards that we take for granted."

Use our expertise yes, but not our money.


Angus


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Saturday, 14 November 2009

Baron Mandelson of Foy in the county of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the county of Durham, Lord President of the Council, First Secretary of State,


Oh yes; we mustn’t forget “Deputy prime Minister” in all but Double H’s (Harriet Harmon) mind.

It seems that the “Prince of Darkness” has just been awarded yet another ‘title’-Politician of the Year in the Thread needle/Spectator Parliamentarian of the Year awards..

Other inane awards are:-

Newcomer of the Year was Ken Clarke, who has been around since Adam was a lad.

Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, became Survivor of the Year, in recognition of the exemplary way in which he saw off the attempt by Ed Balls to take his job.

Lord Adonis, the present Transport Secretary, was made Minister to Watch. He said that the country has had 36 transport secretaries since the war, half of whom served for a year or less, which is why we have such an excellent transport system.

James Purnell, who got Resignation of the Year for leaving his post as Work and Pensions Secretary, and who might have toppled Gordon Brown had Lord Mandelson not rushed to the Prime Minister’s rescue, said his career was going really well until the Spectator started being nice about him, and requested that this now stop.

The only deserved accolade was for Joanna Lumley and the Gurkhas who won the award for Campaigner of the Year, but Miss Lumley generously gave the politicians a chance to shine by sending a message that she had a prior engagement in Newcastle.

Don’t blame you Joanna; I would rather be in Newcastle than next to the “dark prince”


Angus

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Friday, 13 November 2009

Gord justifying MOD bonuses


Yesterday I posted a short piece on MOD bonuses, now it seems that Mr Brown has found the need to justify those bonuses.

Gordon Brown said he will "examine" any questions raised over the bonuses paid to civil servants at the Ministry of Defence.

Referring to the £47 million paid out in bonuses this year alone, the Prime Minister said that some of the recipients had been out to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Speaking as he visited an engine manufacturing plant in Gillingham, Kent, Mr Brown said: "If there are any questions asked over the bonuses, I will examine them.

"I've got to say that some of the people who have received help have been working out in the field and people that have been supporting people out there.

"We want to send a message of support to our armed forces."

Official MoD figures showed a total of £287,809,049 has been paid out in bonuses to civil servants since 2003, the year Britain went to war in Iraq.

The figures, released yesterday, have sparked anger among the families of soldiers who have been killed fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, said the civil servants deserve millions of pounds of bonuses because they face the same risks as troops on the frontline in Afghanistan.

Mr Johnson said that this year’s MoD bonuses were justified because some civilian staff from the ministry go “into the front line”.

The MoD said the bonuses were paid for “exceptional performance” but military families and campaigners said they cannot be justified when troops are fighting and dying in Afghanistan.

The £47 million covers just the first seven months of the financial year. The MoD said yesterday that the bonuses would average less than £1,000, but a senior civil servant could pick up £8,000.

A total of 232 British service personnel have been killed in Afghanistan since 2001. More than 1,000 have been seriously wounded.

A total of 50,000 civil servants have been given bonuses this year.

Speaking to GMTV, Mr Jonhnson suggested that officials are also risking their lives for their country.

Civil servants had to go "into the front line" to develop mechanisms to protect troops from improvised explosive devices, he said "When they do that my understanding is they work 17, 18 hours in Afghanistan They don't get overtime for that - they get a bonus to compensate.

He added: "I instinctively feel that as much as we can... should be going to our front line troops. But I wouldn't suggest that civil servants doing that very difficult and sometimes dangerous job should just be told 'you don't get any extra reward for that'."

There are 85,000 civil servants at the MoD — one for every two active soldiers, the highest level among the Allied nations — and about 50,000 will get a performance bonus this year.

Last year, the department had 95 employees who were on a salary of more than £100,000. A private in the Army can be paid as little as £16,681 a year, with a bonus of £13 a day for serving in Afghanistan.

British troops are dying in Afghanistan at a rate not seen since the Falklands conflict and polls indicate that voters are turning against the mission. Commanders have said that some deaths could have been avoided if there had been more helicopters available.

The bonus payments have risen sharply even as the MoD’s record has come in for growing criticism. In 2003-04, total bonus payments were £24.9 million.

Many of this year’s bonuses were paid in August, as the department was trying to cut £20 million from the budget of the Territorial Army.

Keep at it Gord you may even convince yourself, but you certainly won’t convince me.


However; here is a comment from Yesterday "The MoD bonuses are imposed on the staff by a cabinet office ruling, which says that a bonus element must be included in any pay deal.What it really means is the minute pay increase for MoD civilians is mostly payed as a bonus which means it is not pensionable.It is the usual spin/lies by the media/government to inflame public opinion to agree with the policy to cut public services..."

Both sides.




Angus

Angus Dei on all and sundry

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Thursday, 12 November 2009

Over 50? read this




This was sent to me by a friend, prophetic?



10 Downing Street
London SW1

Dear people of the United Kingdom



Due to the current financial situation caused by the slowdown of the economy, your Government has decided to implement a scheme to put workers 50 years of age and older on early retirement. This scheme will be known as RAPE (Retire Aged People Early).


Persons selected to be RAPED can apply to the government to be eligible for the SHAFT scheme (Special Help After Forced Termination).


Persons who have been RAPED and SHAFTED will be reviewed under the SCREW program (Scheme Covering Retired Early Workers).


A person may be RAPED once, SHAFTED twice and SCREWED as many times as the government deems appropriate.


Only persons who have been RAPED can get AIDS (Additional Income for Dependants & Spouse) or HERPES (Half Earnings for Retired Personnel Early Severance).


Obviously, persons who have AIDS or HERPES will not be SHAFTED or SCREWED any further by the government.


Persons who are not RAPED and are staying on, will receive as much SHIT (Special High Intensity Training) as possible.


The government has always prided itself in the amount of SHIT it gives out. Should you feel that you do not receive enough SHIT, please bring this to the attention of your local MP. They have been trained to give you all the SHIT you can handle.



Sincerely,Gordon Brown





Angus

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Expenses reform-maybe-part 2


It seems I was right; Professor Sir Ian Kennedy, the head of the new watchdog charged with cleaning up Parliament, has refused to publicly endorse the recommendations of an independent inquiry into reforming the system of MPs’ expenses.

Sir Ian last night said that there is still “a lot of work to do” before a new expenses regime can be introduced.

In a statement issued by his office, also made it clear that he will fulfil his legal obligations to conduct a “full consultation” on the reform plans despite calls from the Prime Minister for a proposed new regime to be quickly introduced in full.

There is growing concern among Whitehall officials that Sir Ian, a friend of former Downing Street spin doctor Alistair Campbell, is planning to water down the radical proposals drawn up in the wake of the Telegraph’s MPs' expenses disclosures. Sir Ian has privately expressed doubts to officials over several of the planned reforms.

Last night, Sir Christopher and Sir Ian had a private meeting at the offices of the Committee on Standards in Public Life.

Following the meeting, sources close to Sir Christopher said that the former mandarin was reassured that his recommendations would be introduced as envisaged.

However, a joint statement issued a short time later by the two officials gave a far more lukewarm backing of the Kelly inquiry’s findings.

The statement stressed that the meeting was “warm and friendly” and said: “Both Sir Christopher and Sir Ian are clear about the task ahead and the direction of travel."

But it added: "The CSPL's report contains recommendations that now require detailed work by IPSA. IPSA must also by law consult on the new scheme for allowances. There is a lot of work to do, and Sir Christopher and Sir Ian expect to meet regularly.”

Sir Ian is bound by law to consult on reform plans but it is not clear why he is failing to publicly endorse the broad findings of the Kelly inquiry – despite the recommendations having the backing of all the main party leaders.

Yesterday, amid growing speculation that the plans will be watered down, Gordon Brown added to the pressure on Sir Ian.

Speaking at his monthly press conference, the Prime Minister said: “I said last week that I expected the findings of the Kelly committee to be implemented. I am pretty sure myself that in spite of all this speculation that those findings will be implemented.”

The Prime Minister is known have been irritated at the suggestion that Sir Ian would seek to unpick the Kelly proposals, telling aides that the new IPSA chairman had thrown away a clear opportunity to draw a line under the expenses scandal.

Shadow foreign secretary William Hague also warned at the weekend that it would do nothing to restore public confidence if Sir Ian tried to change the Kelly recommendations.

“The public are pleased with what Sir Christopher Kelly has said and we have to accept it, not quibble about it, and we don't really want somebody else to come in and quibble about it either. That would be unwise and unnecessary,” he said

Sir Ian had told officials he was unhappy with some of Sir Christopher’s proposed reforms including the ban on MPs employing their wives and from making profits from taxpayer-funded houses.

He told Westminster insiders that the Kelly report was “only one of the bases of the conversation” and said he is planning to consult the public using the Facebook social networking site.

Don’t bother “Sir” Ian, just listen to “Sir” Christopher, listen to Gord and most of all listen to the electorate and JUST BLOODY ENDORSE IT IN FULL, and get it over with so that we can concentrate on getting our country out of the shit heap it has become under this government.


Angus

Angus Dei on all and sundry

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Monday, 9 November 2009

OH Gord get it right!





Gord is over in Berlin to pay tribute to "the unbreakable spirit of men and women who dared to dream" at an event marking 20 years since the Berlin Wall fell.

The prime minister will take part in commemorations in Germany hosted by Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Also present will be French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Mr Brown will pay tribute to ordinary people who brought down the wall.

Sadly he can’t manage to drag himself down to Wootton Bassett to welcome back the bodies of our fallen from Afghanistan.




Saturday, 7 November 2009

Expenses reform-maybe






It seems that Prof Sir Ian Kennedy the man in charge of the new Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority is not happy with Sir Christopher Kelly's plans for expenses reform.

It seems that Prof Sir Ian Kennedy does not like certain reforms proposed, in particular plans in the report to compel MPs to return profits from second homes and ban them from employing relatives.

It seems that that the plan to reform expenses set out by Sir Christopher - and embraced by the three main party leaders at Westminster - is not intended as the final word on the issue.

It seems that Prof Sir Ian Kennedy has his head up his rectal orifice and is not listening to the electorate.

It seems that that Prof Sir Ian Kennedy is a close friend of Alastair Campbell, good old Tone’s spin doctor who still regularly advises Number 10 and is highly likely to be part of the central Labour strategy team aiming for a fourth general election victory.

It seems that Prof Sir Ian Kennedy who is a medical ethics lawyer and chaired the inquiry into the Bristol heart babies’ surgery scandal - was selected by a Government-appointed panel. That decision was then approved by a committee chaired by Mr Bercow, who owes his position as Speaker to the support of Labour MPs.

It seems that Prof Sir Ian Kennedy should stick to his own area of “expertise” and keep his meddling to himself.

It seems that Prof Sir Ian Kennedy is probably not the right person for the job

Angus

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Thursday, 5 November 2009

Sick and tired of them all

I don't know about you but I am at the end of my whatnot with Politics and in particular politicians.

So to vent my frustration here is a selection of poli-pillocks.




video

video

video


video

Enjoy

Angus

Angus Dei on all and sundry

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Tuesday, 3 November 2009

What Gord will do from next May and other ramblings




From the BEEB:

It seems that Gord is planning his “retirement”, and wants to get involved in charitable work when he leaves office, rather than go on lecture tours.

Mr Brown went on to say that he himself had "very little money", adding: "It's very expensive being prime minister. I gave up my prime ministerial pension that would be worth around £2 million, but on my first day in office I gave it up.

"And my salary is frozen. And I don't want our ministers to take any rise in salaries either."

Responding to allegations the expenses scandal "made you all out to be a bunch of corrupt spivs", Mr Brown said: "Yes, and that's very hurtful. I have never tried to make any money out of being a politician. The timing could not have been worse.”

Apart from the £12,000 odd that he claimed himself for cleaners and other necessities.

Read the rest if you want, but I fazed out after the first couple of paragraphs, same old-same old.





Other Ramblings



You may have noticed that I am not a political animal, I don’t give a Rat’s arse who is in Government, I don’t see the point in all this ‘left, right, centre left, centre right” bollocks that seems to prove you are “politically aware”.

My only interest in the political arena is the effect that the government’s policies have on me, my nearest and dearest and the people of this country, I voted no to joining the EEC (European Economic Community) back in the seventies because I could see the ramifications, the loss of sovereignty the loss of the ability to form our own laws and the loss of being able to run our own lives. The EEC was formed to enable fair trading between the member countries to stop the economic superiority of the USA and the Far East.

But like any cancer the EEC has spread and infested our lives, the EU is the mutated bastard child of the EEC, it rules the UK with a rod of self preservation, the EU evolved because of politicians who wanted more and more power, it vomits edicts designed to keep us in our place and sits in Brussels like Jabba the Hut, bloated, unable to lose weight and breeding like a festering rabbit.

It has absorbed countless countries, many of which are not contributing to the coffers and suck the lifeblood from Europe, their populace is disappearing into the “rich” countries faster than you can say ‘expenses’ and cause more problems than are solved.

I am not anti immigration, I believe that it is necessary for the UK and others to take in migrants, but the right kind of migrants, the UK Gov is impotent when it comes to getting rid of the criminals and illegal’s, a new kind of Viagra is needed but that will not be available as long as we are part of the behemoth that the EU has become.

People often ask me who I would vote for next May, and the answer is “I don’t know”, yet, there needs to be a radical change to the attitude of the “big two” as the Libdems are to be honest a waste of time.

There needs to be a change in the electoral process, such as making party manifestos legally binding so that if the elected government reneges on its promises then that government is dissolved and criminal proceedings are brought under the fraud laws.

Responsibility needs to be placed where it belongs, with the leaders, the CEOs and the “powers that be”, the bosses of Stafford hospital should be held legally accountable for the deaths as should the senior management of any hospital where the lack of standards kill patients.

The bosses of the banks and other financial institutions should be bought to book, not by the media but by the courts, their assets should be seized to make some recompense for the losses involved, the Government should take action against the gas and electricity companies who deliberately overcharge the consumer in the name of shareholders, there should be a cap on taxes; a maximum of 100% tax on any product such as petrol and diesel, and yes on cigarettes and alcohol.

The salaries of the bosses of public institutions should be capped, hospitals, civil service, MPs and local councils, give MPs £100,000 a year, give hospital CEOs less than that, give senior civil servants less than that and give local council knobs even less than less than that.

Get rid of the multitude of Quangos that slow down the government, shed the thousands of “advisors” who are paid massive sums to come up with ideas that anyone with common sense could come up with.

I could go on but even I am getting bored, so I suppose that if I were asked who I would vote for next may the answer would probably be UKIP, because the greatest danger to us in the UK is the EU.

Angus

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Sunday, 1 November 2009

More Banks-just what we need




From the Telegraph


Thanks to the EU Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling have little choice. Under European law, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), Lloyds Banking Group and Northern Rock have to pay a price for the billions of pounds of state aid they have received. However, there are likely to be smiles rather than frowns in Downing Street because gradually returning these troubled institutions to full private ownership is firmly on the to do list. The government’s stakes in RBS and Lloyds are also threatening to become an even bigger political headache should these banks shower their best performing staff with bonuses in the New Year. Expect to see the emergence of Williams and Glyn, the revival of TSB and the resuscitation of Northern Rock hailed by the Prime Minister as a return to an era of more sensible and conservative banking.

At the Labour party conference, Mr Brown pledged to make last October’s dramatic bank bail-out pay for the average UK taxpayer. The government remains tight-lipped about the sort of prices these new banks may be sold for, but it is highly unlikely to be enough to cover the cost of the intensive care the banks have been in. RBS and Lloyds received a capital injection of £37 billion, and that is before counting any losses that might eventually land on the taxpayers’ doormat from the government insuring billions of pounds of the most toxic assets of RBS. The government will hope that the sale of these banks will go at least some way to recouping some of the billions spent at a time when the public finances are in such a parlous state. But with the sales not happening before the next general election, the taxpayer will have to wait.

Something to look forward to then.

Angus

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