Sunday, November 23, 2008

The state is still spending our money like water

I saw Polly Toynbee talk a couple of weeks ago, and she pointed out that you are in the top ten percent of earners if you earn more than £40,000. Now, Polly is notorious for quoting dodgy figures but, if this is true, there are some very high earners in the public sector.

Yes, the Taxpayers' Alliance has produced its annual Public Sector Rich List [PDF], which documents those public sector employees who are earning more than £150,000 per year.

Here is a brief summary of their findings.
  • Details of 387 public sector employees earning over £150,000

  • 194 public sector employees earn more than the Prime Minister

  • 4 people on the public payroll earned more than £1m last year

  • Senior executives enjoyed an average remuneration increase of 10.9% from 2006–07 to 2007-08

How many of those working in the private sector got a near-11% increase last year, I wonder? Or this year?* Come to think of it, how many of the frontline staff in the public sector got 11%?

Anyone? Bueller? Bueller...?
Now in its third edition, the TaxPayers' Alliance today publishes the Public Sector Rich List 2008, the definitive guide to all those in the public sector with remuneration packages over £150,000. Against a background of impending recession and at a time when the financial crisis is hitting ordinary families harder every day, this year's list is the biggest ever, exposing 387 public employees receiving City levels of remuneration from a record 140 public sector organisations. The report also details the top ten rewards for failure in the public sector, the 10 well-paid officials from the FSA, Treasury and Bank of England who oversaw the financial system and failed to prevent the financial crisis, and lists 24 executives who have received sizeable financial rewards despite presiding over embarrassing data loss scandals.

Topping the list at £1,244,000 is the head of Network Rail, Ian Coucher, while second and third place go to Adam Crozier at Royal Mail (£1,242,000) and Andy Duncan at Channel 4 (£1,211,000) respectively. Also in the top ten are employees of British Nuclear Fuels, the FSA, the BBC and Adam Applegarth, the controversial Chief Executive of Northern Rock.

Nice work if you can get it, eh?
  • There are 387 people receiving remuneration packages of £150,000 or more a year across 140 government departments, quangos, other public bodies and public corporations, up from 300 people on the 2007 Public Sector Rich List. (Note that this excludes local government, who are published on their own TPA Rich List every March. The 2008 Town Hall Rich List identified 88 people earning over £150,000 a year.)

  • There are 4 people in the public sector who earn more than £1 million a year, up from 1 person earning above £1 million last year.

  • There are 21 people in the public sector earning above £500,000 a year, up from 17 on last year's list.

  • There are 88 people earning above £250,000 a year, up from 66 on last year's list.

  • There are 194 people earning more than the Prime Minister, whose salary is £189,994, up from 142 on last year's list.

  • The 387 people on our list had an average pay rise of 10.9 per cent between 2006-07 and 2007-08. This is three times average earnings growth (including bonuses) across the country, which is currently around 3.5 per cent.

  • The average total remuneration of the 387 people on the list is almost £240,000 per annum. This works out at over £4,600 a week. Although many people on the list are likely to work longer, based on a 35-hour week, this is equal to over £130 an hour, or around £2.15 a minute.

  • These remuneration packages can be compared with a soldier earning around £20,000, a nurse earning £23,000, the average Chief Executive of a small company earning £65,000, and the average Chief Executive of a medium-sized company earning £122,000.

  • The 10 most highly paid people in the public sector earn almost £1 million on average, which is around 50 times the amount earned by someone starting out as a police officer, nurse or soldier.

  • The report features a list of the top 10 rewards for failure, including highly paid officials from HMRC (which lost 25 million people's personal data); the Financial Services Authority (which presided over the worst financial crisis since 1930); Northern Rock; the QCA and other organisations which have failed the public.

  • The report includes a list of 10 people working for the three bodies responsible for regulating the financial system – the FSA, the Treasury and the Bank of England - who have overseen the financial crisis.  Their remuneration packages average almost £400,000 per annum.

  • A special list is also included of 24 executives who have presided over embarrassing losses of personal data over the past year.  Their average remuneration package was over £190,000 per annum.

Thank goodness that we have our noble Prime Minister to steer us through these choppy financial waters with his ethos of prudence, eh?

* Alright, I did; but I'm not earning anywhere near £150,000, I assure you. In fact, last month's pay rise ensures that, for the first time in my decade-long working life, I am now earning over the median wage. And believe me, I'm really working for it...


Anonymous said...

I got a 12% pay rise two years ago. Then the dollar slipped 11% against the local currency (with which I actually have to buy things). So, a net wash. My salary has not increased in real terms since 2003.

I'm still making twice what a headmaster makes. But I used to be making three times.

I'm putting an eighth of my gross income into a pension plan, which has been ravaged by the financial slump. And now Brown has the nerve to cast himself as the Great Helmsman, when it is is Left-wing numbskulls like him who have got us in the mess we're in. Brown, Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, all the miserable bunch of meddlers: they have cost us trillions.

Failed statesmen don't get the comeuppance they used to, which is in most respects a step forward. Still, it is salutary to think of Brown being being hauled over a joist in a dank basement somewhere with a loop of piano wire round his neck while bis face turns black.

Anonymous said...

Fully agree with the thrust of this post, but a couple of points:

(1) "Earn" is the wrong word. Substitute "are paid".

(2) "...more than the Prime minister.." Now, does that include allowances and 'expenses' paid to our Political Overlord?

Anonymous said...

"Details of 387 public sector employees earning over £150,000"

If reports in the weekend and today's papers are to be believed, that's 387 less votes for Gordon at the ext election.

FlipC said...

My main computer's down at the moment, but I did have all the figures and the 90% median mark was indeed around the £40k mark for some recent year (06/07?). So there you go the Toynbee is correct.

Of course it doesn't present the raw data so you've no idea if it blasts off into the exosphere at the end.

chris said...

And remember the medium average public sector wage is £36k

Anonymous said...

Polly Toynbee is wrong.

The top 10% of earners earn an average of £68,693 in wages and salaries. Total income is 93,051.

The 9th decile has wages and salaries of £41,176 and total income of £52,724.

In fact the 8th decile has total income of £42,243.

You can find the figures in Table 14 Average incomes, taxes and benefits of all households 2006/07 in Economic and labour market review Vol 2. No. & July 2008. The effects of taxes and benefits on household incomes.

It will also show how much of your taxes go to the bottom decile.

The bottom decile has wage income of £2,479 and total income £3,661. Their total cash benefits are £5,415. They pay taxes (direct and indirect) of £4,185. (I doubt the validity of their indirect tax calc btw). They then receive £8,003 of state benefits in kind (NHS & education).

The top taxpayer only gets £3,524 in benefits in kind, and pays £32,000 in taxes.

You can find the report at the Office of National Statistics.

FlipC said...

Anonymous you're mixing wages and total income as well as median and averages.

The ninth decile (90% median) is ~£40k which does indeed mean that if you split the population up at that point 90% would sit on one side and 10% on the other; so you would indeed be "in the top ten percent of earners" in that and only in that sense.

Anonymous said...

FlipC. No, the ninth decile covers 80-90% and so the mid-point is 85th percentile and so those to the right (85th to 90th percentile) are over 41K. Thus one is not in the top 10%. I did think that would be clear. I included the total income numbers because I thought the extra information would be useful.

FlipC said...

The median is the point at which the data splits in half. The 90% median is the point in which the data is split 90/10.

The ninth decile is indeed the 80%-90% group, but the terms the statistics office used for the data I took was median and that had the 90% median at ~£40k

Anonymous said...

Your 90% median and mine do not match. My 90% median is £49,371 and the 80% median is £37,749. My stats also come from the ONS. My calculations based on decile means does appear correct.

I am using the ALL non-retired households Table 16. (you cannot include retired households when calculating wage income). The only table that backs your assertion is Table 21. Average income of non retired househols WITH CHILDREN. In this case the decile point is £40,927. But this is not the correct table to use for the overall working population.

Anonymous said...

So I am (just) in the top 10%. Which means this evil hag in her mansion will be crying for my blood and money, whilst my kids and I reside in our two-bed semi. Fucking slag.

FlipC said...

I now have a working computer with the missing data restored. The figures I have are for 07/08 - 90% median is set at £47,747 for all full time workers, and £42,902 when you include part-timers.

In any case regardless of whether we're talking £40k or £50k DK's point still holds in that 'the state' is paying our a shed-load more money then the majority earns.

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