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SOLTIMES AUGUST 2010
Britain To Challenge Eurocrat Salaries
Britain is set to challenge European Union salaries after the number of its most senior officials, earning up to £180,000, rose to 100 at a time of deep cuts to national public sector budgets
The European Commission has been accused of breaking its own rules over the promotions of eurocrats who are paid more than David Cameron. Britain is already trying to block a Commission demand for a six per cent budget rise next year and is now demanding a review of how the EU rewards its staff.
“Given the current economic and financial situation, the EU institutions need to ensure that they are not out of step with the situation across the continent, where millions of employees have
faced pay cuts or even lost their jobs in recent months,” said a British diplomat. The latest promotions bring the number of Commission director generals to 100, an increase of a fifth over the last three years, breaking a target ceiling for the top post set at 87. Over the same period the ranks of Commission directors, officials who also earn more than Britain’s Prime Minister, has reached 313, 25 over the planned number. It means that 997 European civil servants are earning £146,267 to
£179,703. Mr Cameron’s annual income is £142,500. Inge Grassle, a senior German Christian Democrat MEP, compared the Commission to a “self-service shop” where officials can pick senior job grades off the shelf. She also accused of deliberately approving the latest promotions during the summer recess to avoid them being spotted by MEPs and the public.
She said: “While member states are cutting down their budgets and slashing posts - roughly 10,000 have gone in the German Federal administration alone - the
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EU is increasing the number of ‘thoroughbred’ officials.”
A Commission spokesman said the latest round of promotions were part of EU plans to step up fiscal “surveillance” to make sure governments were cutting their national “sovereign” budgets after the Greek debt crisis. ”To broaden and deepen country surveillance, it is necessary to dedicate more resources to it,” he added. Almost 40 Brussels posts have even been created to check that
governments, including Britain, are implementing domestic austerity programmes. In 2010, the British taxpayer’s share of the £6.5 billion cost of the Brussels bureaucracy amounted to £891 million, a bill that is projected to rise 4.5 per cent next year. Godfrey Bloom, a Ukip MEP for Yorkshire, said: “This is further evidence that the eurocrats live in a different solar system to the rest of us. The taxpayer lives on the planet ‘austerity’, the eurocrat circles on one of the moons of the great gas giant, ‘waste’.”
‘Hypocrisy’ Of Speeding Middle-class Motorists
Speeding motorists are hypocrites guilty of “middle class anti-social behaviour” who believe they can get away with breaking the law, one of the country’s longest serving chief constables has claimed
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Julie Spence, the outgoing head of Cambridgeshire police, says drivers consider speeding as acceptable and change their minds only if they lose a child in a road accident.
the head of the Association of Chief Police Officers, who became the first senior officer to suggest that front line policing could be undermined.
She claims, during an interview with the Telegraph, that the biggest problem perceived by the public in her county is speeding drivers in rural areas and illegal parking by parents outside schools: “Speeding is middle-class anti-social behaviour,” she says. “People think we should be able to get away with it. They wouldn’t tolerate lawbreaking by somebody else but they do it themselves without thinking. It all seems OK until something tragic happens, like their child dies because of a road traffic accident.”
But it is her criticism of motorists that is likely to cause controversy. Many motorists who are caught speeding complain that they are “soft” targets used to produce funds — speeding fines raise about £100 million a year — and that the police should be targeting serious criminals instead.
Mrs Spence says that while anti-social behaviour is usually defined as rowdy youths or vandalism, “for too many it is the antics of drivers who refuse to accept that speed limit signs apply to them.
Mrs Spence’s comments on the potential impact of spending cuts are the most outspoken yet by a serving officer. Chief constables fear that their budgets could be cut by up to 25 per cent in the autumn spending review. “That scenario is ‘undoable’ — just not achievable if you want any semblance of a police service,” says Mrs Spence.
“Driving without care or consideration for other road users is probably among the worst kind of anti-social behaviour in its truest sense, because serious offenders can, and do, kill,” she says. Mrs Spence, an outspoken police chief who has claimed that much of police time is spent on “social work”, says many social problems in the past decade stem from a “have-it-all” society. “Easy credit, drink as much as you can, have it when you want, buy this, buy that and buy the other,” she says. “This irresponsibility costs — you play while others pay — and I think we have got to the point where we need to have a little more responsibility.
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“With the public purse in such dire straits we need a responsible public who don’t cost public services unnecessarily.”
Mrs Spence warns that cuts to police forces could lead to an “anorexic” service. In voicing fears about the impact of the Government’s austerity drive, she is following Sir Hugh Orde,
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Exceeding the speed limit or going too fast for conditions was reported as a factor in 4,187 deaths and serious injuries in 2009, according to the Department for Transport.
The effects of the cuts are magnified in smaller county forces such as Cambridgeshire, which has a £130 million budget and 2,500 officers and staff. Mrs Spence says some of the better-funded forces have to take a bigger proportion of the cuts to save the 16 whose funding is under the national average. She also suggests that officers would be willing to take a pay cut, or a change in their rates of overtime and allowances, if it meant saving jobs. “Talking to officers and staff they do not like it, but they’d rather jobs were kept and pay was reduced,” she says. “Everyone understands the economic climate we’re in and they recognise they have a role in trying to support the country out of it.”