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Author Topic: Financial Meltdown  (Read 9327 times)

Shipmate60

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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #50 on: October 10, 2008, 11:57:55 AM »

Malc,
It does seem that the facts could get in the way of the argument.
My job was privatised on 1st April.
The company that won the contract are now saying that we made a mistake in our costings so more jobs than planned will have to go.
And to ensure that this process progresses smoothly they have just appointed a "Change Director" at a greatly inflated salary.
Her Salary is worth about 4 AB's plus pension, plus a car, plus relocation, etc
So glad that Private Industry is so much better.
The service has degraded, our conditions are degrading oh yes and surprise, surprise the costs are rising.

Bob
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #51 on: October 10, 2008, 12:05:18 PM »

I quite agree that there are some crazy looking job titles advertised, although not so many as in the past when the Inner London Boroughs were nuclear free people's republics. But it should not be assumed that this is the rule. Most local government staff are normal people working hard at frequently thankless tasks, just as in any other type of employment. Years ago I was taken round a Council home for severely physically and mentally disabled adults. Many of these poor people were horrifically deformed to the extent that it was difficult to find Councillors to make the required regular inspections. The sights and sounds were indescribable but in there were low paid council care staff treating these poor souls with gentleness and as much dignity as possible. At today's prices, somebody doing a job like that for 30+ years (not likely!) would qualify for a pension of around 7,000 a year. Very few LG staff get full pensions because they don't put a full career in. Over 50% are women, not too well paid, who take career breaks to have children. They don't retire rich I can assure you.

Nothing is as it first seems.

Colin
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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #52 on: October 10, 2008, 12:15:30 PM »

Bob

I didn't say that private industry was better - on the contrary, I feel that the labour force in local councils generally do/did a fine job.  It's the plonkers at the top who have lost the plot.

Of course any private contractor who is offered taxpayers money for any sort of service, be it emptying wheelie bins to management consultancy will naturally cream it for all they're worth.

As a taxpayer, all I want is value for the 120+ per month for 10 months per year that I have to pay to my local council for - er, well, I haven't actually discovered what it is that they actually do provide apart from a fortnightly wheelie bin collection?

Here's an interesting one...

Each year here in Cheshire (Vale Royal Borough Council / Cheshire County Council) there has been an ever increasing precept for policing.  I have a friend who is a policeman (that'll probably kill my business completely  :embarrassed:) who reliably informs me that there are now TWO policemen on duty in the whole of rural Cheshire on any given evening.

Makes you think doesn't it?

Malc


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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #53 on: October 10, 2008, 12:25:41 PM »

At today's prices, somebody doing a job like that for 30+ years (not likely!) would qualify for a pension of around 7,000 a year. Very few LG staff get full pensions because they don't put a full career in. Over 50% are women, not too well paid, who take career breaks to have children. They don't retire rich I can assure you.

Nothing is as it first seems.

Colin

Colin,

I have the greatest admiration for the good souls who do that sort of work.  They are remarkable people.

7K per year?  Show me where this Council Home is, and I'll do it!  I have been paying into my own personal pension plan for the past 15 years since we returned from Africa, and my pension is currently set to pay me less than a tenth of that figure annually!  (I was ripped off by a Natwest private financial advisor - who is now on long term 'stress' related sick leave).

Malc


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Colin Bishop

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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #54 on: October 10, 2008, 12:35:39 PM »

You'll have to put in your 35 years first Malc!

That's the trouble with pension schemes. You need to build up a pot of around half a million to get a 25k pa return. And that takes a hell of a long time, especially if you've got to find it all yourself with no helpful employer's contribution.

Colin
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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #55 on: October 10, 2008, 12:50:54 PM »

Colin

Most of the contracts that I work on last between 3 and 6 months.  I expect to be laid-off between three and four times per year, sometimes it's more often than that.  It's down to me to find a new job each time one ends.

No sick pay, no holiday pay, paid hourly, no employers pension contributions, loss of pay if I have to visit the doctor/dentist etc.

2008 is my 41st year...

Would I have it any other way?  You can bet your sweet bippy that I would, but I do live in the real world.

Malc




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Welsh_Druid

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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #56 on: October 10, 2008, 02:30:56 PM »

Malcolm

I have refrained so far from getting involved in this discussion - mainly because Colin had very adequately covered all the points I would have made myself. However I must comment on "  I feel that the labour force in local councils generally do/did a fine job.  It's the plonkers at the top who have lost the plot."

The plonkers at the top who approve the positions which you object to and who dictate policy are the Councillors. Who appoints these  Councillors ? - YOU do - you do vote don't you ?


"er, well, I haven't actually discovered what it is that they actually do provide apart from a fortnightly wheelie bin collection?"     

When you get your council tax demand each year it is spelt out quite clearly in the accompanying papers what percentage of your council tax pays for what.  You do read it don't you ?

Don B.


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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #57 on: October 10, 2008, 03:46:16 PM »

Getting back on topic. Can anyone explain where the money has gone?
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Martin [Admin]

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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #58 on: October 10, 2008, 03:57:03 PM »


.... well I ain't got it!  :(
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dreadnought72

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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #59 on: October 10, 2008, 03:59:28 PM »

By "gone" you assume it existed in the first place. In some instances it hasn't.

A mortgage is a loan: usually along the lines of "I promise to pay back 2 to 3 times what I borrowed".

So if bank A sell your mortgage to bank B in order to make a quick profit, bank A have relied on your home and 1 to 2 times your property's value. The excess money doesn't exist yet, as it's based on your future ability to pay the mortgage. The money that's gone ("this mortgage is worthless") is virtual money.

Andy, longing for the end of unrestricted capitalism.

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Colin Bishop

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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #60 on: October 10, 2008, 04:00:39 PM »

In here?

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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #61 on: October 10, 2008, 04:17:58 PM »

Don

I had a seat on our local Parish Council for some years, and the clerk to that Council was also a Borough Councillor, a Lib-Dem and although not of my own political alignment, which is probably somewhere a little to the right of Atilla the Hun, was a real asset to the area until he was ousted by a Conservative at last elections in May.  I talk to and work with these guys on a regular and ongoing basis.

The feedback that I get from them is that the Borough Council (elected officials) were presented with a fait-accompli by central government with regard to the refuse collection debacle - they had no option but to introduce it. Voting at local level apparently is pretty much an academic exercise in certain situations?

You are perfectly correct about the annual breakdown of Council tax allocation. - And yes, I do read it (can't make head nor tail of it, but I do read it).

Plonkers?  Yes, most certainly - any organisation that advertises the sorts of ludicrous job vacancies that local Government, (ours certainly, and most others as well by all accounts), does on a regular basis HAS to be managed by Plonkers!

As I said earlier, it's high time for a root and branch re-organisation of local Government - and the sooner the better!

Regards, Malc




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Colin H

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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #62 on: October 10, 2008, 04:49:03 PM »

Well I am not as erudite as some of you guy's but I do try to be factual.

The Office of The Deputy Prime Minister (remember him) instructed local government to invest for best return not for safety.

All councils receive central government funding some 3-4 times a year and that is the money that is invested until it is needed for use by the council.

I see both side to the coin I am self employed and my wife works in a council old peoples home and so we have some lively discussions if thats the right word.

From what I know most council employees up to about middle management do try very hard to do their jobs well but some of the top dogs are plonkers. Not all just some and they spend our money willy-nilly especially in the PC department.

As a for instance at the wife's home they used to have residents, then they had clients, now they have service users.

Yes I do know quite a few self employed people who evade paying their taxes avoidance is one thing evasion something else but we all know it happens.

Good and bad on both sides trouble with this site is we only have the good chaps on here and so it can lead to arguments like the present one.

Colin H.
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #63 on: October 10, 2008, 05:06:01 PM »

Well Malcolm, Local Government has been continually reorganised in one way or another for the last 20 years or more (I speak from frustrated experience) and the usual effect has simply been to replace one set of problems with another at great expense whilst diverting resources which could have been better applied to providing services. What makes you think that yet another upheaval will make any difference?

Would you prefer local authorities to be abolished and everything run by Whitehall and its Quangos?

One of the problems is that local government in the UK has effectively been emasculated by central government over a period of time and all the strings are pulled by the Government of the day. (Both Labour and Conservatives are equally responsible for this situation.) The hated council tax provides only a relatively small proportion of funding so local authorities have no truly independent fund raising powers of their own. With financial weakness goes lack of accountability as much can simply be blamed on Whitehall. There is little real scope for local action.

Reorganisation is not the key to the problem. You need to overhaul the funding system to give local authorities more control of their tax raising and spending so they can be held to account by their own electorate. Central Government will never allow this and the whole subject of local government finance is now so complex and labyrinthine that hardly anyone understands it or how to make improvements. The situation is not helped by glaring anomalies whereby taxes raised in the south of the country are applied to funding authorities in the North which means that us Southerners are subsidising other parts of the Country to a huge extent. You can just imagine the consequences of attempting to get that put back into a fairer balance.

Colin  
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #64 on: October 10, 2008, 05:12:33 PM »

Good points there Colin H and very well put. May I just add that the management "plonkers" at the top are more often than not people who have been parachuted in from the private sector at inflated salaries to "sort things out". Invariably they fail because they do not have a proper understanding of the business they are in. We called them seagull people. They descend on you from a great height, crap all over you and then fly off leaving you to try and clear up the mess. Sound familiar?

Colin
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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #65 on: October 10, 2008, 05:49:37 PM »

I'm beginning to think that it's high time that we put this one to bed?

I think that there has been some good discussion on this thread, and I have certainly learned that there is more to the local Government story than initially meets the eye?  Colin H and Mr Bishop have both made extremely valid points.

The prospect of more centralised government of local matters absolutely terrifies me, as does the prospect of further additional tiers of local Government.

All I want to see are sensible, pragmatic and cost effective local services, properly funded and managed by local folk who are aware of the issues.  Oh, and our cash back from Iceland...

I suspect that I may not be alone in that?

Malc
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polaris

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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #66 on: October 10, 2008, 06:41:05 PM »


Dear Malc,

My only concern at the moment is the mess Councils have got themselves into by amazingly investing money overseas. On the whole I am not too concerned about other functions of County Councils, however, I have seen at first hand some of the quite regular and expensive disasters they manage to achieve - basically through lack of practical knowledge.

Councils are moving quite quickly to outsource many aspects of their general functions, and in some ways I think this a good idea. This still leaves the management chain somewhat too top heavy sometimes, and the general workings can fairly often be cumbersome and long winded resulting in unnecessary expense. Knowing what senior officials can earn and the packages offered (I have no 'direct' involvement with Councils I add), in comparison to general business and corporate salaries, does however make me rather cross sometimes... here for example, not long ago they put up the Council Tax and then voted themselves a 20% salary increase!!! Now councils have lost lot's of our money (looks increasingly that way), it will be interesting to see who gets the chop, and who gets salary reductions!? Mind you, these days accountability doesn't seem to matter... seemingly any public officials can make huge errors and 'mistakes' and refuse to resign! Personally I am all for installing guillotines in all Govt. and local Govt. offices, two mistakes and... chop!  :-))Can't see it happening somehow! :-)

Regards, Bernard
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Bryan Young

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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #67 on: October 10, 2008, 07:27:12 PM »

After reading all of the posts on this subject, I am now quite confused. Colin (Bishop) has stoutly defended his corner; as have others. It all makes for interesting reading. We,the general public, elect councillors. We, the public, do not elect the faceless "masters" of our elected representatives. My query is.....how much input, sway,influence and authority do "councillors" have? I get the impression that apart from being as thick as 2 short planks they all depend for judgements on advice given by people who have been employed at great expense who have to "justify" their employment. Who pays?
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Bryan Young

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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #68 on: October 10, 2008, 07:31:21 PM »

To Colin Bishop.....you have been given a rough ride recently.....and came through OK, but the defending of the indefensible cannot go on for much longer. Public anger is growing and I would hate to see you caught up in it. Cheers. BY.
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Proteus

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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #69 on: October 10, 2008, 08:40:10 PM »

From my very first to my last job in local government I had elected representatives on the interview board and that was over 25 + years so they are responsible for the people that make the decisions, also I could have earned more money in private firmas but I was looking to the future so was happy to put the money towards a good pension.

Proteus
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polaris

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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #70 on: October 11, 2008, 02:15:12 PM »


Dear Proteus,

I believe salaries differ county by county, and there doesn't seem to be any laid down rule? Length or service (rank in any Dept.), does make a difference, and there is always promotion obviously.

As to Local & gnrl. Govt. pensions I am told they are equivalent to apx. 25% in addition to whatever salary might be being earned since they are 'solid gold' Govt. backed (my second cousin worked in the Treasury). This calc. is assumed as any of us other mere mortals must take our chance on the open market... and we all know what that means! The Govt. previously encouraging the whole populace to take out pension schemes was a touch irresponsible with the current situation - no Govt. parachute protection for this. Thankfully I ditched private pensions and shares before the last glitch, and never considered going back into them - very partic. this last two years where it was quite obvious it was going to end in tears at some stage (especially with the ridiculous state the property mkt. got itself into).

Whilst no bank can be said to be absolutely safe at the moment, I choose very carefully and have stuck with mine for many years now. I keep a very close watch on what they are up to via my Bank Mgr.. They bought the best bit's of Leemans when this crashed a few weeks ago, and no-one spends 700M in a recession unless they have a pretty good idea of what's what. My bank (and I am not going to mention any name), satisfies me with it's wide diversity and non dependence on narrow activities like quite a few others; thankfully it's exposure was minimal to the USA Sub Prime nonsense, and profits were only down by a third.

As to shares and the like, it's actually quite a good time to think of buying - after some very careful watching. Many significant companies are worth considerably more than their low share price, and it won't be too long before things improve. It is surprising how some in the financial world seem to be panicing like amateur investors, but one wonders whether there is a motive here... a low market offers good future profits. As to property, well, it's not quite bottomed yet, and there will be opportunity for some to buy well even at this stage - a buyers mkt. now as we all know.

The reason I mention all this, is that one would have thought that Finance Depts. of Councils could have weighed all this up at least five + years ago? - since lot's of councils have been caught out by this, they must have been following what the Association of County Councils were suggesting - and some people in this body should obviously be shot! The first warning signs that things were starting to get unstable was in 1999, and when the property mkt. went silly a year or so ago this was a very significant red light. Nothing new in what's happened... it's happened before, it's happened now, and it will happen again - though I suspect there will be strong Govt. regulation to help it not happen again (partic. with councils who should definitely not be permitted to freely invest in the same way as private individuals - and very very particularly not overseas!). If councils hadn't invested so unwisely, now would be a good time to have invested in increasing their housing stock - I was always against the selling off of council houses - unless they were replaced.

Regards, Bernard

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Colin Bishop

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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #71 on: October 12, 2008, 12:21:27 AM »

I think I should point out that I am not trying to defend the indefensible, simply attempting to get the facts straight where they are being used to support people's arguments. Yes, there are a lot of valid criticisms  which can be made of the local government system, as can of central government and the private sector. In order to have a fighting chance of putting some of it right you do have to have a basic understanding of how the system works (or doesn't!)

In case anyone thinks I am particularly partisan, my redundancy and early retirement was not totally unconnected with the fact that I made something of a nuisance of myself with senior managers by speaking out against a computer system that IBM assured us would meet just about all the Council's needs at a cost of around 25m and save millions of pounds in the process. I and a few others expressed our strong opinions that it was not fit for purpose but the senior managers and elected members preferred to listen to IBM and gave them a ten year contract to install and manage it. Five years later the contract with IBM has now been terminated as it did not deliver the promised benefits and savings. They are still saddled with the system though! In my particular area of work i reckoned we couldhave got a decent up to date semi bespoke system for around 125k whereas the IBM offering cost over 2m and has never worked properly. It was very frustrating and I'm glad I'm out of it.

Colin
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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #72 on: October 12, 2008, 08:34:55 AM »


Colin

As Will Rogers said.

"When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging!"

Malc


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Bryan Young

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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #73 on: October 12, 2008, 09:02:49 PM »

Colin

I'm sorry if my point was a little too close to home for you?

Just to put the record straight, I wasn't paraphrasing the Daily Mail, I was making my own point and I rather regret your accusation - it was totally uncalled for.

At the end of the day, I'm a subject of Her Majesty, a voter, and a taxpayer and damn it, I'm entitled to the benefits of free speech that those attributes in this country afford me.  If that hurts you, please learn to live with it.

Malc
And just is what is wrong with the "Daily Mail"? They appear to get things right more often than the licking reports of the so-called "broardsheets"
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Colin Bishop

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Re: Financial Meltdown
« Reply #74 on: October 12, 2008, 10:41:34 PM »

I always find the "Daily Wail" a bit whinging in most respects. Although they sometimes make some good points, too many of the columnists seem bent on looking for the worst in things rather than reporting objectively. Years ago, before it went tabloid and downmarket, I used to be a Daily Mail reader (Moomin days!). having I tried most of the other papers I find that the Times is the only one I am tolerably comfortable with but I think that everything you read in the press needs to be taken with a pinch of salt and cross referenced against other sources wherever possible.

How do I know what's in the Mail? One of my daughters takes it.  :-)

Colin
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