Christmas is coming and many of our top public sector workers are getting financially fatter by the year.
In fact some of them are so well paid out of the taxes we pay they’re losing their grip on reality.
We know all this thanks to the combined efforts of the TaxPayers’ Alliance and a national newspaper which have spent months wheedling the information out of the relevant authorities through thousands of freedom of information requests.
The Daily Mail this week has been publishing the stories and they make for sorry reading. In short many public sector bosses, including police chiefs, those who run hospitals, council executives and top academics have been bleeding the Treasury dry in order to sustain their millionaire lifestyles all the while cutting back on services within their particular disciplines.
Austerity? These top public sector workers do not know the meaning of the word when it comes to their own lifestyles.
In this column I have had no truck with Sinn Fein and others who won’t approve welfare reforms leaving us unable to move forward politically. But I’ve been sitting here this week wondering why welfare should be cut to the poor and those on low incomes when the very people at the top have been helping themselves to pay rises which in some cases amount to over £30,000 a year, well above the average yearly salary of say a trained nurse or even a journalist.
Not only that, this major expose’ has revealed that town hall heads and police chiefs are given private healthcare on the taxpayers. They can also write off to the taxpayer the cost of a missed holiday and get holidays paid for if they’re under stress.
One NHS fat cat had a pay deal worth £850,000 yet claimed less than £5 for two bus tickets on expenses.
Public money pours into their pension pots and all kinds of tricks are in place to allow them to pick up big pension pay-offs and return to another wonderfully paid job in the public sector the next day.
All across the country many of these bosses are heading up failing hospitals and councils which are cutting back on the small things that make life easier for the rest of us.
Well paid police chiefs are cutting back on investigating crime – some of them won’t attend house burglaries now - at the same time making sure their annual increases are what they expect. As they say, you couldn’t make it up.
They reward themselves at the expense of the public yet most of them wouldn’t survive a week in private industry where every penny has to be accounted for.
In Northern Ireland we have 15 council bosses earning £100,000 a year while we all face rates hikes and fewer services. Severance pay in the public sector bears no relation to private industry. I know because I have worked in both.
Now we have fewer councils and in theory that should mean substantial savings. But Council bosses are quite likely to demand higher salaries now that they are heading up larger councils. I’d put money on that happening.
When I see top public sector workers being interviewed on television I can usually judge how much they earn by the clothes and jewellery they wear not to mention the carefully coiffured hair styles and professionally applied cosmetics.
This major expose of salaries in the public sector helps us understand why hospital waiting lists are chronic and medical services rationed.
With many head teachers and heads of councils also now earning more than the Prime Minister we can only wonder where all this largesse ends, if ever. Welfare reform shouldn’t just apply to the poorest in society. Reform of public sector salaries would need an urgent public inquiry with a view to massive reductions.