Thursday, 20 January 2011

The EADT should campaign for a tax on bankers' bonuses

Letter to the Editor of the "East Anglian Daily Times":

Your campaign against top-earning council employees [“It’s time for you to cut your pay”, EADT, January 20] will no doubt be popular considering the emotive anti-public sector rhetoric that is being whipped up by this privatising government.  But it is mis-directed.

The pay scales quoted are very large but they pale into insignificance against those in similar private sector jobs in Capita or Serco.  In general, Andrea Hill’s salary is exceptional among local authority employees where the public sector ethos has always attracted those willing to be paid less than elsewhere.  Remember also, it was the runaway pay over the last decade among private CEOs that forced up the rates for public sector top jobs.  Conservatives are always calling for private sector expertise to be brought into public management – yet it brings with it the greed disease. [This sentence cut by Editor of EADT!]

It is ironic that Mr Cameron has “joined calls for Mrs Hill to take a pay cut”, considering the Conservatives are against top-down government and argue for localism and local pay rates.  I suspect that with the outsourcing and marketisation of local services we will see an explosion in top pay.  Just wait till local schools free themselves of council control and become academies; then we will see a new breed of Suffolk fat cats – headteachers with inflated salaries negotiated privately with no public overview!

I am waiting for the EADT to campaign for a tax on bankers’ big bonuses.  It is grossly unfair that every public official earning more than £55,000 is named, but no banker earning over a million has to reveal his or her identity.  Public servants are easy targets while bankers seem able to shrug off criticism. Few bankers seem to give a fig for the howls of protest at their unabated pay and bonuses. 

By all means make our local officials and councillors accountable for their salaries and expenses, but don’t forget that it was the bankers and the financial sector that got us into this mess in the first place.

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