Figures show the start-up cost for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority will be £6.6m. Anyone who can add up will therefore know by now that this new breed of Parliquango (things set up to stop MPs from nicking the pens) will cost six times more to run than the ailment it wishes to cure did in the first place.
This is normal, as the French say. The Child Support Agency collected £14 million of paternal contributions during its short and ill-starred life…..but cost £93 million to run and then wind up.
The FSA (vast offices in Cabot Square) has a frightening budget, but no teeth. It costs a fortune to fail to control the industry that has just cost us all several hundred fortunes.
Last week, MPs were told to pay back £1.12m of their second home expenses after an audit of their claims dating back to 2004 by Sir Thomas Legg. Surely all we need now is the cost of printing a new form, on which is a warning in small type at the bottom: ‘Anyone fiddling will be shot as a dog’.
We do not need more and more wasteful jobs-for-the-boys organisations monitoring bad behaviour. We need to re-engineer the ethical culture in order to stop it happening.
This is what we need; but it won’t, of course, be what politicians set out to do.
One thing you’d have thought it was easy to do is remind corporates that stealing employee pension funds is wrong. I do understand perfectly well that technically, not bothering to make the required contributions amounts to what accountants call ‘hierarchising costs’; but if you were saving for your kids’ education, and decided to buy yourself an Aston Martin one year in lieu of signing the Schools Plan cheque…..I think you take my point.
The BT pension fund hole is now £9 billion. To put that amount into perspective in these days of ten trillions equal a zillion, that’s what the UK’s public sector borrowing requirement used to be in the days before we temporarily nationalised all the banks. That amount of cash could provide a very nice little monthly cheque for life thank you very much for 36, 000 BT workers at today’s prices. But it won’t, because it hasn’t been invested on the employees’ behalf.
Now you might think that a borassic government desperate to offload as much State pensioner demand as possible in the future would keep an eye on such misdemeanours. But if so, you didn’t factor in the Lord Mandelson As Business Minister effect.
Mandy, I’m reliably informed, is far too busy persuading Piers Morgan’s new best friend to make his sick mind up about the election date.
Copyright John Ward.