Archive for the 'Accountancy' Category

25
Jun
09

south tyneside council guilty of discrimination

Many of council’s male employees are set to get an early Christmas present after South Tyneside Council was found guilty of discriminating against male employees in low paid jobs .

As a result of yesterday’s landmark ruling more than 12,000 men across the UK won the right to bring equal pay claims against their employers and the bill for these discriminatory practices will run into hundreds of millions of pounds.

In a test case, 300 men working as care assistants, caretakers, drivers and leisure attendants lodged discrimination claims against South Tyneside, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough Borough Councils.

Their claim was based on what they say are discriminatory bonuses paid to male workers in better paid jobs, such as gardeners and refuse collectors.

The men lodged their claims at the same time as those by women in low-paid jobs who were also claiming that the bonuses were discriminatory. The women succeeded in their claims and were offered financial settlements but the men had not and continued to be paid less both than the better paid men, and also the women.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal ruled that the men should have been offered the same back pay as the women.

Mr Justice Underhill, president of the tribunal, said: “The case where men and women do the same job but receive different rates of pay is the paradigm of the kind of situation which the Act was intended to prevent: how would it seem if – unusually, but not impossibly – the roles were reversed and the ‘piggyback’ claimants were not men but women?”

After the ruling, Yvette Genn, a barrister who specialises in equal pay law said: “This is an important decision as it demonstrates that equal pay laws can be applied not only by women who compare themselves with men, but also by men who are comparing themselves with better paid men. Even though women historically have received lower pay than their male counterparts, it is too often forgotten that the law applies equally to men as it does to women.”

Mr Monkey reckons local solicitors will be inundated with claims for equal pay by men who have worked for or are still working for South Tyneside Council – they’ve got nothing to lose especially as any legal fees they incur will have to be picked by the council.

IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A CLAIM IT’S WORTH TALKING TO A SOLICITOR AS WELL AS THE UNION – REMEMBER UNION OFFICIALS ARE VERY FRIENDLY WITH COUNCILLORS AND COUNCIL OFFICERS AND MAY NOT PUT YOUR INTERESTS FIRST.

It seems that the council’s chief executive, Irene Lucas knew the writing was on the wall and is jumping ship before the chickens come home to roost .

22
May
09

Labour councillors paid almost half a million pounds

Its Labour’s turn to face Mr Monkey’s how much do they cost the taxpayer test.

When bloggers look at the figures it’s easy to see why so many Labour stalwarts have been around for so long. No wonder they squeal like pigs on the way to the slaughter house when they face the prospect of being dragged away from the trough.

Mr Monkey also reckons that this is why their lives are decimated when the electorate kick them out and why so many of them try and grab someone else’s seat on the council. This is the only way they can get their snouts back in the trough – there’s never been any honour amongst thieves especially when it comes to money.

Here are some of the highlights from The Labour Greed List,

• Coun Iain Malcolm made the highest claim at £32,435 (£623.75 a week)

• Coun Alan Kerr claimed at £23,319 (£448.44 a week)

• Coun Ernest Gibson claimed a record £4,932.27 for travel and subsistence

• Coun Rob Dix treated himself to a new BMW when he was elected. This delivery driver receives an annual boost to his salary from the taxpayer of around £14,000.

• After replacing Paul Waggott as leader of the council, Coun Malcolm promptly put the boot in by not giving Coun Linda Waggott a place at his trough. She was the only Labour councillor not to receive a special responsibility allowance.

Mr Monkey was staggered to learn that almost half a million pounds of taxpayers money was paid to just 31 Labour councillors and for what? Most of them can’t string a sentence together and couldn’t care less about the people they represent, that is until it’s time for their re-election.

The cost of each Labour councillor to the taxpayer in 2008 – 09 was a staggering £15,029.83.

Name

Allowance

Travel

Subsistence

Total

Weekly Cost

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anglin, J

11,760

11,760

226.15

Bell, J

16,464

16,464

316.61

Boyack, P

13,833

691.25

152.33

14,676

282.23

Brady, W  E

16,464

16,464

316.61

Clare, M H

16,464

16,464

316.61

Dix, R

14,112

14,112

271.38

Dixon, T

15,352

1,566.80

315.62

17,234

331.43

Donaldson, A

8,168

129.63

8,297

159.55

Foreman, J

16,464

800.15

214.01

17,478

336.11

Gibson, E

16,186

3,431.90

1,500.37

21,118

406.12

Hanson, T

16,464

16,464

316.61

Kerr, A

22,408

733.47

177.63

23,319

448.44

Leask, E

14,112

14,112

271.38

Lewell, E L

11,760

11,760

226.15

Malcolm, E

16,464

1,253.10

605.91

18,323

352.36

Malcolm, I

31,817

239.00

379.82

32,435

623.75

Maxwell, N E

16,464

228.50

72.94

16,765

322.40

McAtominey, E

12,962

638.40

53.12

13,653

262.56

McCabe, J G

14,112

14,112

271.38

McMillan, A

11,481

11,481

220.78

Meeks, J

14,112

334.60

160.61

14,607

280.90

Perry, J

16,464

16,464

316.61

Piggot, T

11,760

11,760

226.15

Punchion, O

11,760

102.40

11,862

228.11

Scorer, B

14,112

211.20

111.75

14,434

277.57

Sewell, J

16,464

658.75

734.78

17,857

343.40

Spraggon, S

11,203

151.20

11,354

218.34

Stewart, A M

13,833

114.90

88.47

14,036

269.92

Strike, A

11,760

56.00

11,816

227.23

Waggott, L I

7,056

7,056

135.69

Walsh, A

8,486

372.00

15.42

8,873

170.63

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTALS:

450,321*

10,892.37

4,712.41

465,925*

8,973.16

*These figures do not include pence

20
May
09

how much does a progressive councillor cost the taxpayer?

It’s the Progressives turn to face Mr Monkey’s how much do they cost the taxpayer test. 

Like the Real Independents, these closet Conservatives have effectively been bought by Miss Piggy as he tries desperately to cling on to power. Sadly this once major force in South Tyneside politics has been reduced to a handful of has beens that are well past their sell by date, but they do all have one thing in common – they’re useless, and in some case clueless. 

Take councillor Hetherington, one of the Ugly Sisters from West Park, she accepted the position of vice chair of the Riverside Community Area Forum thinking it was a paid position and when she found out it wasn’t she spent the rest of the year sulking. 

Name

  Allowances   

  Travel   

  Subsistence   

Total

  Weekly Cost   

J. Capstick

£11,760

 

 

£11,760

£226.15

K. Hickman

£11,203

 

 

£11,203

£215.44

E. Hetherington

£7,056

 

 

£7,056

£135.69

M. Robinson

£7,056

 

 

£7,056

£135.69

L. Nolan

£7,056

 

 

£7,056

£135.69

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTALS

£44,131

£44,131

£848.66

 The cost of each Progressive councillor to the taxpayer in 2008 – 09 was £8,826.20

15
May
09

how do you claim £17,393 in expenses and allowances for attending just 12 meeting?

Mr Monkey has been reviewing some of his older posts and came across this one CLICK HERE about the Conservative group leader’s money grabbing antics.

No one can argue that councillor David Potts has an abysmal record when it comes to attending meetings and in the last 12 months he’s attended just 12 meetings out of a possible 71 and has been paid more than £14,000 in allowances and claimed £3393 in expenses.

That’s a massive £17,393 for the year which is equivalent to £1,449 a month, £334 a week or nearly £1,500 a meeting.

Mr Monkey hasn’t been able to work out how this greedy bastard has the nerve to claim £282 in expenses for every meeting he’s attended, unless of course he travelled back from Edinburgh – where he was standing as a Tory candidate – at the taxpayers expense.

15
May
09

councillor gibson is top of the class when it comes to expenses

'Caught! Who's paying for that Ernest?'

'Caught! Who's paying for that Ernest?'

Over the last 2 days Mr Monkey has revealed how Conservative group leader David Potts, and his colleague Jeff Milburn have milked the expenses system by pocketing nearly £7,000 in just 12 months. CLICK HERE and HERE.

Today Mr Monkey can reveal that screwing the expenses system is not exclusively a Tory thing. It seems that the local Labour party were keen to get in on the act; they have the greediest bastard of them all.

According to figures released earlier this week, Labour councillor Ernest Gibson, who represents Whiteleas, tops the list when it comes to expense claims. In 2008 – 09 he claimed nearly £5, 000 for travel, hotels and subsistence – that’s almost £100 a week. 

Councillor Gibson who is renowned for his love of freebies and can more often than not be found downing large quantities of alcohol and stuffing his ample frame at the buffet table – all funded by the taxpayer – claimed £3,431 in travel expenses and £1,500 for hotels and meals.  

It seems councillor Gibson’s appetite for all things free and his desire to screw the system knows no bounds, but then Mr Monkey reckons he’ll tell the public that it’s all within the rules – so isn’t it time the rules were changed Ernest?

09
Mar
09

the audit commission gives council top marks for losing £10 million

'Rewarding failure'

'Rewarding failure'

Council leader Iain Malcolm Miss Piggy and the borough’s Dominatrix, Irene Lucas might want to put their celebrations on hold following last week’s announcement by the Audit Commission that South Tyneside Council is rated a 4 star authority.

Mr Monkey has learned that the Audit Commission and it’s inspectors have become a laughing stock after they announced that Cambridge City Council won top marks for sound financial management and value for money – despite investing £9 million in Icelandic banks and a potential loss of £618,000 on Cambridge Folk Festival ticket sales.

The top score of four marks was awarded by the Audit Commission for the council’s use of resources and it was one of the 13 top performers in the country.

The award focused on strategic financial management, sound governance, effective financial reporting and giving taxpayers value for money.

Council leader Cllr Ian Nimmo-Smith said: “The Audit Commission is aware of the financial issues in relation to the Icelandic deposits, which affect many councils, and the Folk Festival tickets. I can’t say to what extent they have been taken into account.”

He added: “I’m very pleased the successful way which we run things in Cambridge has been recognised by the Audit Commission. This endorses the recent survey results that showed that residents in Cambridge rated the city council as providing value for- money services at a higher level than other districts in the county.”

At the recent budget setting meeting, Cllr Lewis Herbert, Labour group leader, likened the Liberal Democrats’ management of council finances to a “road crash” with Cllr Nimmo- Smith at the wheel.

He said the Icelandic investment and Folk Festival losses, after an internet ticket sales company went into liquidation, were “self-inflicted”. He said he was surprised the council still received a four-star rating.

He added: “Losing £9 million in Icelandic investments and over £1 million in interest and the Folk Festival tickets represents a shocking failure of the council’s control systems.”

For the second year running, the finance and value for money element of the inspection gave the county council the top score of four.

Cllr John Reynolds, cabinet member for corporate services, said: “I am delighted that our inspection found that the way we manage our budget and spend council taxpayers’ money is of the highest order. We continue to work within an extremely tight financial climate but this score shows we are among the best councils in the country when it comes to financial management.”

These weaknesses are now most evident. For a Council to be declared “excellent” in the same week that it cuts services and raises taxes, and in the same year that it slashes staff pay, is crazy.

The Council have released a special issue of their staff newsletter to congratulate everyone on the achievement.

At the top of the list of high performing services are the Revenues and Benefits service, who deal with Council Tax payments and the administration of benefits to the needy. They too have received a top 4 star rating and yet a mixture of bad laws, bad government and crazy local decision making has seen many of the staff in that department lose a crushingly large proportion of their salary this year.

There’s nothing about this in the congratulatory press releases issued by the Council, the Audit Commission and the government.

Mr Monkey can’t help wondering what South Tyneside is hiding?

09
Feb
09

GAZETTE: The End Is Nigh

Mr Monkey reckons the newspaper industry has moved towards the end of middle-age, growing increasingly aware of its own mortality.

Like someone nearing retirement, it might well expect to have a couple of decades left before it’s ready to start pushing up the daisies.

However, the reality is many groups haven’t led the healthiest of lifestyles. Instead of investing for the future, they became greedier and greedier in the margins they chased.

It wasn’t so long ago Johnston Press, whose titles include the Shields Gazette and the Sunderland Echo, were the toast of the industry. Thirty per cent profits.

Why aren’t we making that, they chorused in boardrooms up and down the land.

Now look at them; they’re shares are not worth a bag of crisps.

It’s easy to be wise with hindsight but like all newspaper groups, they never really “got” the internet until it started getting to them.

In late middle-age it seems Johnston Press may well be prone to a sudden heart attack.

Mr Monkey can’t help wondering how long the banks are going to put up with their debt mountain – which is approaching half a billion pounds – and given they’re falling revenues it won’t be long before they decide it’s time to foreclose.

It must be worrying times for those employed by the Gazette – do yourselves a favour and get out before it’s too late – apparently Papa John Szymanski is already looking.

17
Jan
09

Well Done Joe The Printer

Mr Monkey tips his hat to Liberal Democrat councillor Joe Abbott for confirming what most of us already know; On View, the council’s spin machine magazine is a waste of money.

According to this piece in the Shields Gazette, Malcolm Fanzine, CLICK HERE councillor Abbott welcomes the proposal to reduce the number of the council’s On View magazines published each year from six to five – saving £20,000. But he reckons the council should reduce the number further and said: “Why not make it a quarterly? Many residents put it straight in the bin anyway.” 

Seems the Liberal Democrats have realised that On View is nothing more than an expensive  ‘hobby horse’ for Irene Lucas and at the same time she’s allowed it to become the ruling Labour group’s unofficial magazine. How else can you explain why every edition is swamped with articles and photographs of Labour councillors, activists and their relatives?

Mr Monkey reckons that councillor Abbot deserves credit for his comments but thinks that he didn’t go far enough – come on Joe it’s time to bin On View for good.

Spending £120,000 per year on council and Labour party propaganda is unacceptable when the same people are proposing to hike the cost of meals provided at luncheon clubs and daycare centres from £2.80 to £3.80 and also plan increasing the cost of council home-care services from £9.80 to £10.80 an hour.

This chimp wonders whether anybody in the chief executive’s or leader’s office has a conscience?

02
Jan
09

Gazette Imposes Pay Freeze

The Gazette’s long term future may be in doubt after it’s parent company imposed a pay freeze on all it’s staff by deferring next year’s basic salary reviews for six months – the company claims that the salary reviews are being deferred a result of the continued severe downturn in advertising.

However, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) accused the company of making its employees “pay for management failure” and “reneging on a number of two- and three-year pay deals that have already been agreed”.

The company’s chief executive, Tim Bowlder said, “Regrettably, in the light of falling revenues and continued uncertainty, this decision is necessary to help safeguard the future of our companies.”

“In six months’ time, we hope our operating companies will be in a better position to determine the impact of the recession and to decide whether or not a salary increase can be afforded. Over the few next weeks, our company [managing directors] will be holding meetings with our employees and trade union representatives to explain the decision and discuss how it impacts local agreements.”

In November, the company announced that revenue from property advertising had plummeted by nearly 50% year on year since the end of August, as the effects of the latest financial crisis hit home.

During the same period employment ads were down by 32.1% year on year across the group, while motoring ads were down 24.3% and display ads down 12.1%.

The NUJ issued a strongly worded statement accusing the company of “appalling financial mismanagement”.

“Our members simply don’t accept that they have to pay the price for corporate failure. It’s incomprehensible that a company which made operating profits of over £178m last year can’t now afford to keep promises to its staff,” said the NUJ general secretary, Jeremy Dear.

“This is all about the appalling financial mismanagement of Johnston Press. The company prided itself on massive and unsustainable profit margins, taking cash out of the business, whilst putting the company in the red.”

“Now as those debts are being called in, managers can be found floundering, without any strategy except to cut back on already stretched editorial budgets.

“The bad faith being shown by the company is unbelievable. We’ll be consulting our members about how they want to respond to the announcement, but anger is already running high so the prospect of action can’t be ruled out.”

The shit being churned out by the likes of Paul Myles Kelly, Terry Kelly, David Maclean, Leah Strug, Lisa Nightingale, Angela Taggart, Andy Hughes and Verity Ward won’t be doing circulation figures much good so it’s hardly suprising advertising revenues at the Gazette are also down year on year.

If you’re stupid enough to waste 42p on a copy of the Gazette you certainly won’t be buying it for it’s news content, it’s not exactly packed with news is it?

But there’s plenty of worthless stories that are of little or no interest to the majority of readers including; a spattering of regurgitated old news (which has often appeared on blogs up to 2 weeks earlier), pages of advertising, an occasional cheap and shoddy competition and the odd ‘giveaway’ – remember the free packet of crisps promotion?

But in these uncertain times you can be sure of one thing – the Gazette will be full of Labour party propaganda, council spin and happy smiley pictures of Labour councillors; most of whom are up for re-election in 2010. You decide whether it’s coincidence, or piss poor editorial control by John Szymanski who appears to be answerable to his new found friends in the council rather than his employer.

Perhaps Mr Szymanski would like to explain to his dwindling readership why the Gazette didn’t publish this story?

16
Dec
08

EXCLUSIVE: Creative Accountancy or Cooking The Books?

EXCLUSIVE: Seems South Tyneside is about to cover up reveal another black hole it’s finances.

Readers will recall that several years ago an £11 million  ‘Black Hole’ mysteriously appeared in the council’s finances and in the best traditions of local government spin they some how managed to pass the buck and keep their jobs. But this time a source close to the leadership has expressed concern that they might not be able to get away with it.

Apparently senior councillors and officers are concerned that a combined opposition will latch on to this latest financial scandal and demand answers which may prove difficult to provide without incriminating themselves. They’re also concerned that this issue will unify the opposition parties in the run up to 2010 local elections and fuck any chances Miss Piggy might have of doing a deal to stay in power should Labour lose it’s majority.

Mr Monkey has been told that Corporate Governance and Adult Services are the two departments affected and between them they’ve managed to overspend by a massive £12 million pounds.

Seems Miss Piggy, council leader Iain Malcolm’s pledge to keep the council tax down is just pie in the sky. Either that or they are going to have to cook the books do some pretty creative accountancy between now and March.




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