Activity at the Despatch Box

Lord Norton

Both Houses are now in recess, though one would not necessarily know that given the work that is still going on.  It will become quieter as we go further into recess, despatchbut today the Palace remains a hive of activity.   The Despatch Box is still in considerable use, albeit not in either chamber.  Despatch Box is the name of the snack bar (pictured) in the atrium in Portcullis House.

The atrium in Portcullis House is an important social space within the Palace.  It is spacious, light and attractive and there are plenty of tables.  It is an area where parliamentarians can meet staff or chat to guests.   It is extremely busy during the day, especially around lunchtime.   Like the Bishops’ Bar, about which I have previously written, it constitutes a useful place for strategic dining.  I like to use it, not least because the Despatch Box does a good cup of tea, but also because it is a good spot to interact with other parliamentarians and with others who work in the Palace.   I was there this afternoon and was interrupted twice, once by an MP – we arranged to meet later to discuss important business – and once by a colleague from the Lords.  Watching the comings and goings gives one a good feel for the place. 

Like a number of catering outlets, the Despatch Box will be open throughout the summer.  Though there will be less activity than when Parliament is sitting, there will be people working throughout the recess.  Having said that, catering arrangements during the summer appear premised on the assumption that no one wants to eat in the Palace in the evening.  The catering outlet that will stay open the latest is Jubilee Cafe, the public cafe in Westminster Hall.

41 comments for “Activity at the Despatch Box

  1. Kyle Mulholland
    22/07/2009 at 11:14 pm

    Do they still sell Federation bitter at Strangers’?

  2. 22/07/2009 at 11:53 pm

    And now doubt these watering holes are exempt from the draconian smoking ban foisted on our public houses, clubs and cafes and one quarter of the population?

    • Emma
      23/07/2009 at 8:57 am

      Actually you have to go outside to a wind tunnel between two buildings if you want to smoke. You get no mobile reception above the ground floor, the escalators are constantly down for service, and the lifts are operated by chaos monkeys.

  3. lordnorton
    23/07/2009 at 12:19 am

    Kyle Mulholland: Not sure asking someone who is teetotal is the best way to get an authoritative answer to that particular question!

    John H Baker (Fc2): Like everywhere else within the Palace, smoking is banned. Anyone wanting to smoke has to go outside.

  4. 23/07/2009 at 8:33 am

    If places like this are so busy, why is Parliament’s catering fund always so deeply in the red?

  5. lordnorton
    23/07/2009 at 10:03 am

    Alfred: It may be something to do with the extent to which the food and drink are subsidised.

    Emma: There are various external areas on the estate that smokers can employ. There is actually a dedicated smokers’ canopy (it looks like a bus stop canopy) in Black Rod’s Garden. I appreciate that is not especially convenient for anyone at the other end of the estate in Portcullis House.

    • Emma
      23/07/2009 at 10:13 am

      According to the Summer Works program we’re scheduled to get a new covered area between Portcullis and Norman Shaw. Apparently non-smokers are sick of us sheltering under the walk way when it rains. Hope its like the one at Black Rod

  6. Nick
    23/07/2009 at 11:12 am

    And just how much of my money was splurged on the place?

    It just shows how incompetant government is.

    You’ve stolen money from us with threats to spend on your own luxurious treatment.

    It’s just another indication of the expenses, and that is just an indication of the general waste in government.

    The government debts and liabilities, pensions, PFI, debts, the lot come to 8-9 trillion.

    300,000 pounds per working person, plus interest to pay off, and Portcullis house is just a part of it.

    That’s the legacy of the kleptomaniacs currently in charge

    • Rob
      23/07/2009 at 1:43 pm

      Before Portcullis House was built, there were 500 backbench MPs who had to share access to 150 rooms. Staffers had a working space that was 7ft by 7ft.

      Gently submit that it’s actually not all that bad an idea for our parliamentarians to actually have an office of their own with which to deal with constituents.

      (Although having said that it would be nice if Portcullis House didn’t leak quite so much when there’s a thunderstorm.)

  7. 23/07/2009 at 11:50 am

    Well, that’s one myth scotched – that smoking is allowed in the bars etc in the Palace. Bang goes my plan to stand as MP, then.

    Politics never takes holiday, of course, but I suppose with the recess on, keeping political blogs going may be a little more difficult.

    Though LordsoftheBlog has produced some excellent blogs over the short period I’ve been following it, there do seem to be large areas of live contentious legislation left thus far unblogged upon.

    At this point, Lord Norton is probably detecting my passion over Part 2 of the Policing and Crime Bill arising again, so I had best be careful, but it did result in some very good debate and I am wondering if one of the protagonists, like Baroness Stern or Baroness Miller, or from the other side, perhaps Lord Waddington, might be tempted to join the normal LordsoftheBlog scribes?

    I wish all Lords and Ladies a pleasant recess, and hope they emerge recharged for the Autumn battles!

    • lordnorton
      23/07/2009 at 5:37 pm

      stephenpaterson: I think I may need to revisit the Policing and Crime Bill! Thanks for your comments. In my case, my batteries will still need to be running throughout the recess, as it is the one opportunity I have to get on with sustained writing and research.

  8. 23/07/2009 at 1:15 pm

    Subsidised? Why? I hope that all Peers and MPs have this assessed as a benefit in kind, by the taxman, as happens to us little people.

  9. Nick
    23/07/2009 at 2:42 pm

    Subsidised? Why? I hope that all Peers and MPs have this assessed as a benefit in kind, by the taxman, as happens to us little people.

    No, no, no.

    Don’t you know they have a special act of Parliament that exempts all these little and not so little payments from taxation?

    Why do you think Brown was so keen on the per diem allowances? Tax free, 42K a year for turning up and signing in.

    Now, if that applied to the rest of us, a 42K tax free per diem allowance I’m sure all companies would rearrange how they paid their staff.

    It’s pork, its fraud, and they are going to get away with it.

    • lordnorton
      23/07/2009 at 5:40 pm

      Nick: What Act of Parliament?

  10. 23/07/2009 at 4:06 pm

    Nick + Alfred: A little over the top, surely? Office and works canteens are commonly subsidised in the nation at large, and it’s surely wrong to assume that only MPs and Peers have access to these facilities.

    Besides which, for us provincials, it is comforting to know that there may be somewhere where one can eat and drink in the nation’s capital without having to take a second mortgage on our homes.

  11. Nick
    23/07/2009 at 4:33 pm

    Nick + Alfred: A little over the top, surely? Office and works canteens are commonly subsidised in the nation at large, and it’s surely wrong to assume that only MPs and Peers have access to these facilities.

    =================

    Not at all. It is a matter for private companies if they want to reduce their profits by doing so.

    I’m not forced to pay for their subsidies.

    Tell me how much I can knock of my tax for all these subsidies and what I tell the tax man when he comes knocking on my door threatening me like the maffia.

    As for Portcullis house. Why aren’t you discussing the budget and how much it actually cost.

    It cost over 1 million per office place. There are far more economic means of getting office places for MPs.

    It is just because you are spending other people’s money and use threats to get it that you’ve pissed it away on expensive offices.

    The goverment has trillions in debts to pay off. It’s not 700 billion, it is trillions.

    If I am a bank, and I take money for people’s retirement I have to record it as a liability.

    Government spends it. That’s trillions it owes back. Now down to your little fiddle that its a promise and government doesn’t have to pay it, it spluges it on things like Portcullis House.

    It is fraud. Its a ponzi scheme. Portcullis house is just a symptom of politicians splurging that money on their own benefit

    Nick

    • 23/07/2009 at 11:25 pm

      Nick, free or subsidised meals are considered a benefit and thus not liable to tax. If you consider that a benefit is income by another name, then you are being “forced” to pay extra tax to make up for such shortfalls.

      £235m for Portcullis House does include a lot of luxury, but it does buy a building that should last 200 years. Given your figure of gvt debt of £700 trillion, I’m over it.

  12. lordnorton
    23/07/2009 at 5:33 pm

    I think I should point out that the taxpayer actually makes a profit from catering within the Palace of Westminster. The income from banqueting is substantial and dwarfs the expenditure on catering. The profits from banqueting go straight to the Treasury. Having said that, I would have no objection if catering for Members was done on a market basis; it would, though, be the staff who would be hardest hit.

    The cost of Portcullis House was high, though closer to the estimated cost than was the case in respect of the Scottish Parliament. The latter resulted in a public inquiry. Portcullis House in my opinion was the better value for money. A new building was, in any event, necessary as the old building on the site was in a parlous, indeed, dangerous state. My own preference at the time, though, was to take over the old County Hall, just across the river, though I am told that the cost of conversion for parliamentary use would have been very high.

    Nick: I think you seem to be adopting what may be described as a tabloid line. The figure you give could only be reached by someone travelling to London, attending virtually every day, and claiming the full allowances. Though some peers may only pop in to claim their allowances – I notice the Sunday Times claims a figure in the region of 50-100 but names only two – the vast majority do not. Comparing the time spent on public business relative to the allowances claimed, the House of Lords offers remarkable value for money. For every peer who just pops in there are probably two devoting themselves to the work of the House at what constitute well under market rates. If peers were paid market rates, the cost would go up enormously. I will probably do a separate post on the costs, since the annual report of the House of Lords, with the most recent figures, has just been published.

  13. 23/07/2009 at 9:02 pm

    Nick + Alfred: A little over the top, surely? Office and works canteens are commonly subsidised in the nation at large

    Obviously, I worked at the wrong places. My point was that all Lords and MPs should take great care, after recent events, to show that they are being treated the same as everyone else, tax wise and expenses wise. If works canteens are normally subsidised then that’s fine. It is good to hear that the catering makes a profit. I don’t think it was that long ago that it made a whopping loss.

  14. baronessmurphy
    24/07/2009 at 10:16 am

    Nick, and others, can I point out that all NHS hospitals and clinics also provide subsidised catering for their employees, yes paid by the taxpayer. Like Lord Norton I would rather pay the full whack, it’s a very small sum anyway. And all that banqueting profit goes to the Treasury. What’s your gripe exactly? Apart from the general resentment.

    But I want to defend Portcullis House. One of the saddest things in Britain is the scrimping on the quality of public buildings. Compare the quality of many Victorian hospitals, town halls and factories with the cheap utilitarian buildings today that fall apart from lack of maintenance within a year or two. Our urban landscape needs fine buildings to stir the spirit and from across the river Portcullis House does that for me. Inside, the detailing is of good English oak that will last for generations. Emma, there’s obviously some disadvantages I haven’t spotted but I love the place.

  15. Nick
    24/07/2009 at 11:35 am

    What’s my gripe?

    Well, the goverment has liabilties around the 8 trillion mark.

    Most of that are pension liabilities. The assets to back up those liabilties are zero.

    There is a small fund of about 5 months payments. However, the assets here are effectively zero. The reason is that the government has written itself an IOU and says that’s an asset.

    Now, with interest payments on government debt of around 4.5% currently, if the government was paying those liabilities then there would be next to nothing to pay for services. The only way it current survives is by borrowing more and putting more on the bill to be paid later.

    Now, if you think paying 4 or 5 times the cost for your future treatment is a good thing, think again.

    If you think not having benefits, having to pay for schools, health on top of what you are currently paying is a good thing, your nuts.

    Portcullis house is a good example of what’s wrong. 1.5 million per office. It’s a crap use of tax payer’s money. Crap. Period. It’s not value for money. It never will be. The implication in 100 years that the money will be good money ignores the fact that it is all borrowed, and the real cost over 100 years will be 7 times the actual cost. Good value? Nah

    It’s is MPs spending other people’s money on themselves.

    Give them a choice of a pokey office or renting else where, and 1.5 million in cash, and they would take the cash. Put an even lower figure, and they would take the cash.

    Why then do they spend the money on the office? They weren’t given the choice and what the heck, its not my cash.

    If you want the nice buildings, I’ve a great idea. The public pays the cheapest cost. Then people who want the expensive buildings can put your hand in your pocket and pay for them.

    You could even invest all your pension in them. However, the goverment will only pay the lower cost.

    That way, you get the nice buildings to look at. You won’t be allowed in.

    So will you stump up the 50,000 to help the rest of us out? Cheaper than an MP

    Nick

  16. 24/07/2009 at 3:38 pm

    Oh dear. More grist to the mill of my Virtual Chamber idea, however, in which Parliament is conducted without anyone having to move out of their home or office. No second homes required then. It will happen, I’m convinced, the only question is when.

    Part of the great problem of the Palace, I think, is that while the edifice is splendid architecturally, full of nostalgia and history, and an important international symbol, if one were to design a modern building from which to conduct the nation’s affairs in the 21st century from scratch, one would not start with the Palace.

    One might not even place it in London, which is by far the most expensive place to put anything. Furthermore, the presence of MPs and members of the Upper House in London for the duration of their careers tends to result in legislation which is unduly influenced by the situation in London, which in many way is the least typical part of the realm.

    The near impossibility of moving Parliament tends to result in a kind of make-do-and-mend
    attitude, I think, with the Palace, and quite apart from the expense one tends to wonder whether this is in the long-term interest of the infrastructure?

    Pariament has long ago outgrown the Palace, yet the costs of physical expansion are prohibitive. So the question, I think, should be seriously posed whether Parliament is in the right place – after all, there is an awful lot more rock on which to be.

  17. Nick
    24/07/2009 at 4:41 pm

    yet the costs of physical expansion are prohibitive.

    =================

    Not more government and more spunking money up the wall.

    Half the number of MPs. Directly elect 100 peers and not have nearly 1000.

    Why do we need more MPs and peers?

    • 24/07/2009 at 7:55 pm

      Nick – Constituencies are for too big already, thank you very much. The cost of the MPs and Lords, and indeed local councillors, are a tiny micro-fragment of the costs of the machinery with which they have to deal. Yet together, they represent the only democratic means of addressing that machinery.

      If you were propose a bottom-up – as distinct from top-down – devolution of power from Westminster, for example by giving local councils constitutional rights, then perhaps I might agree that a reduction in representation at Westminster may be a good thing. Such a move may even reduce apathy by involving citizens in a greater say in their lives.

      But the idea of halving MPs and reducing the Lords to 100 in the current situation seems to me akin to setting off to drive a car by wrenching off the steering wheel and throwing it out the window.

  18. baronessmurphy
    25/07/2009 at 9:30 am

    So a virtual parliament with a web server in Birmingham seems to be the answer?
    Nick, quite happy to reduce the numbers as you suggest, although I might point out that of the over 700 peers only 350 actually come…most are retired and pose no cost on the tax payer at all.

    Aesthetics is not important to everyone I acknowledge, perhaps that’s why we have ruined so many of out towns with cheap developments. A trip to the postwar cities of eastern europe should tell you why we should spend money on beautiful but things like well-designed buildings of good quality. But I guess if you can’t see it I can’t help you.

  19. Nick
    25/07/2009 at 12:19 pm

    Only 350? I suggested 100. Even that is a large number. The US gets away with 100 and a population that is multiples of the UK.

    The cost of politicians in the UK is huge. Lets cut that spending drastically.

    If you want to have the nice buildings, why don’t you donate money? There is nothing stopping you getting in touch with the Inland Revenue and helping out.

    However, I suspect you want to force other people to pay for your special interest.

  20. lordnorton
    25/07/2009 at 2:37 pm

    Nick: The US Senate has only 100 members because of the number of legislatures – with elected politicians – in each of the 50 states. All bar one of the states has a bicameral legislature. Most law in the USA is state law, not federal law.

    The cost of politicians in the UK is not huge. If you want to find huge costs, look at the USA. The relevant figure is not the number of politicians but rather the cost of supporting them. In the UK, replacing members of the Lords with a smaller number of elected politicians will not necessarily reduce the cost. Peers receive no salaries and the costs of peers’ expenses in 2008-09 amounted to just under £19m out of a total cost of just under £104m. Staff costs exceeded the cost of peers’ expenses. The overall cost is itself extremely modest and the 2008-09 expenditure lower than that for 2007-08.

    Stephenpaterson: For the reasons discussed in a much earlier post, I am not persuaded of the case for a virtual parliament. Virtual debate can never be an effective substitute for the real thing. If it requires a physical presence, then I think it will be difficult to find anywhere better than where we are. The location is rather like Churchill’s definition of democracy: not ideal, but it is better than the alternatives. The building is old and London is expensive, but nonetheless the building serves its purpose in a way that would be difficult to replicate. Being in London makes it accessible to the public in a way that it would not be if it moved out of the city: the reality is that London is the hub for public transport. And if you constructed a brand-new parliament you would run up against the likes of Nick objecting to the cost.

  21. Nick
    25/07/2009 at 2:44 pm

    Saying that the cost of politicians isn’t high just proves the delusional world in which politicians live.

    BRITAIN’S 30,000 POLITICIANS COST US £500M A YEAR

    http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/113783/Britain-s-30-000-politicians-cost-us-500m-a-year

    We can easily make do with 100 lords. That’s a 10th of the current number.

    Nick

  22. Nick
    25/07/2009 at 2:46 pm

    Why do you need to construct anything new?

    With only 100 members, they would easily fit in the existing building.

    Again shows the barmy thinking were you want more space, more politicians and more cost.

    8 Trillion odd in debt, on and off the balance sheet, and you want more politicians.

    That debt is your legacy as a politician.

    Nick

  23. lordnorton
    25/07/2009 at 5:15 pm

    Nick: 100 peers is not one-tenth of the current number. If you were to provide each of 100 peers with the same number of support staff provided for each member of the US House of Representatives, there would not be space in the existing House. Who said the cost of politicians wasn’t high? I wasn’t referring to politicians generically. The cost of the House of Lords is considerably less than that of the House of Commons.

  24. Nick
    25/07/2009 at 5:42 pm

    100 is cheaper than the current number and sufficient to deal with legistalation. US shows that 100 is enough.

    Don’t forget, most of the legistalation comes from Brussels, and you not allowed to do anything about that anyway. You’re a part time upper house, dealing with a percentage of legistlation.

    We can save lots of cash out of the half a billion you cost us. We don’t then need expensive follies like Portcullis house, Scottish Parliament. They all went over budget. The same happens with all the other spending.

    Not that I need to do anything about it. The black hole in the government finances has done the spending splurge in. I expect to see 10% across the board pay cuts, plus cuts in pensions, and another 15% on top cuts in spending. That is just to get the 25% needed to balance the immediate overspend.

    Christ knows what you have to do to deal with an 8 trillion pound debt when your income is 500 billion a year.

    Nick

  25. lordnorton
    25/07/2009 at 6:20 pm

    Nick: What evidence have you that 100 would be sufficient to deal with the current volume of legislation? For reasons I have touched upon, there is no comparison with the US Senate, given the federal structure of the USA and the sheer scale of the support resources provided to Senators. Simply asserting that 100 would be sufficient does not make it so. You would be well advised to research the subject first. The amount spent on the political process is in any event relatively small and you cannot save much money out of the existing cost of politicians, short of doing something like abolishing local councils. The cost of the House of Lords is not only relatively small, but cost less this past financial year than in the previous year.

  26. Nick
    25/07/2009 at 7:05 pm

    What evidence have you that 100 would be sufficient to deal with the current volume of legislation?

    ===============

    1. The US has 100 to deal with the legistlation for 5+ times the population of the UK

    2. The majority of the UK legistlation comes from Brussels, and so is irrelevant for the HoL. They don’t get to scrutinise that.

    3. It’s doesn’t matter anyway. The money isn’t there. You’ve blown it.

    How are you going to pay back the 8 trillion of debts with interest on top (pensions included) when you only have a tax base of 500 billion?

    Future tax payer’s might want some other services too such as education, health, defence, police, ..

    Nick

  27. lordnorton
    25/07/2009 at 7:33 pm

    Nick: The population of the USA you refer to is represented by state legislatures. The US Congress only deals with those matters enumerated in the Constitution. All other matters are reserved to the states. And Senators have rather extensive support in fulfilling their functions. You seem to have difficulty grasping these facts. The amount of legislation dealt with in the UK is substantial. Even EU directives require UK legislation. There is a substantial task in preventing the Government gold-plating the legislation. Only regulations have directly binding effect. Your third point has no obvious relevance to the question posed. Your final question is misdirected – ask the Government.

  28. Nick
    25/07/2009 at 7:40 pm

    And that’s an identical situation to the UK where the bulk of the legistlation is European.

    Which part of that fact aren’t you getting?

    The UK is a mature democracy. Almost everything that really needs legislation has been legistlated for. It’s a done and dusted deal.

    So, come on 8 trilion in debts. How are you going to pay that off?

    100 legislators in an upper house, 300 in a lower house goes some way to reducing the 500 million in costs that you as a politician are running up.

    Cutting your expenses would be another. We know from the house of commons that over half are involved in fraud and nepotism.

    Nick

  29. Nick
    25/07/2009 at 8:32 pm

    It’s not misdirected. You’re part of the problem. You are part of the government of the UK.

    The government of the UK has run up 8 trillion of debts, and you like most of the others are doing what an ostrich does.

    The reason is pretty clear. You owe your living to the person who appointed or allowed you to stay in the Lords and lord it over the rest of us.

    You are now trying to dodge the question of debts. Namely your expenses and costs are crippling this country. There is wide spread fraud in the Lords, and you know it. You’re even going to allow lords who asked for bribes to change legistalation back into your midst. Likewise you haven’t got rid of the criminals who are still sitting there.

    Not answering questions about debt because you haven’t got a clue and want the problem to be someone else’s problem is plain daft.

    You are contributing to the debt by insisting on large numbers of Lords to sit in their comfy club, have subsidised drinks not available to the rest of us, and get paid to do so.

    The public has caught on.

    The state faces a real problem.

    1. People are unionising. All the current unions from the work based one like Unison, to groups like Fathers for Justice are citizen versus the state.

    2. People are starting to record their interactions with the state, beit telephone to photographing the police

    3. The availability of information shows what a crap job politicians are doing, and how you as a group are lining your own pockets at the expense of putting the rest of the public into debt. If you allocate the 8 trillion against the working population, they are in hock to the extent of 300K per worker, plus interest.

    You’re going to be repeatedly caught out as a result. Every crook that gets caught and let off makes it worse. Private prosecutions of crooks like Jacqui Smith are going to drive it home.

    What you should be doing is addressing the debt, and only have 100 or even abolishing the entire upper house is one step on that process.

    After all, your redundant. The government can just use Labour’s enabling act and put all laws into force using dictate. Another one of those little laws you’ve been working hard on

    Nick

  30. lordnorton
    26/07/2009 at 12:36 pm

    Nick: Parliament is not part of Government. There is a rather fundamental difference. You really need to do some serious research instead of regurgitating assertions which have little grounding in fact. People, for example, are not unionising: the trend is substantially in the other direction. The drop in union membership in the UK is quite notable. Politicians are not lining their own pockets: some parliamentarians may have mis-used their allowances or made serious errors of judgement, but people appear willing to generalise about all on the basis of what a minority do.

  31. Nick
    27/07/2009 at 12:45 am

    You’re wriggling like billyo

    Parliament makes the laws. First house of commons, then house of lords.

    It’s the heart of government. All decisions or the ability to make those decisions goes throught parliament.

    The avidence on lining their own pockets is legion.

    250 plus MPs have shown clear neopotism and employed their family.

    Near enough all of the rest have submitted claims for expense that are illegal.

    They have passed laws that give themselves special tax perks that others don’t get .

    Your support for these thieves and continued inability to say how the 8 trillion of debt is going to be repaid, if ever shows that you are part of the problem.

    There are more that one type of unions. There are people like groups of IT contractors, fathers for justice, online groups such as pepipoo. All have the government as the opposition.

    Times are a’changing.

    The government is bankrupt. That means they are goign to have to default. The question is then who carries the can for the default.

    The reason for the debt is government largess, and you’re one of the major reciepients of that largess.

    Get used to it, you’re going to lose. Time to perhaps get more external jobs not based on your membership of the club

    Nick

  32. 27/07/2009 at 12:41 pm

    Nick, you invented this 8 trillion debt last year by some dubious reworkings of existing figures. http://www.johnredwoodsdiary.com/2008/10/21/government-in-debt-now-at-18-trillion/
    Note: the URL would have read 1.8 rather than 18 if it could!

    John Redwood had already stated that pensions had been taken into account but you carried on making your own mythical assumptions, much as you are doing here. Since John Redwood didn’t bother to correct you, perhaps you will do so now.

    Else, by your own standards, the cost of Portcullis House divided by 200 years is c.£1.2m, divided by number of occupants (lets use 200 again to make the maths easier) brings us to a tad shy of £6K per person per year.

    Quite cheap when you put it like that.

  33. Nick
    28/07/2009 at 4:08 pm

    200 years at zero percent interest. No why have you left that off? Are you that financially incompentent that you don’t realise that the government had to borrow the cash to build the place?

    So on the debt figures. Lets just do a litle calculation. Might be beyond you I know, because you didn’t realise the Portcullis house comes with added interest.

    The figure for the state employee pension liabilities in present value terms is 1.15 trillion. That is for 500,000 employees, most of whom the left tell me are poorly paid and won’t be on high retirement incomes.

    Now, we have another 60 million odd who are also due pensions or benefits if they don’t earn enough. Its 5K a year for the state pension.

    So lets say each of the poorly paid NHS workers gets 15K a year which would be more than many are paid, we can say 1.15 trillion would pay the state pensions of around 1.5 million of them.

    The unfunded state pension system is going to screw the lot.

    However, lets look in detail at the total cost of Portculis house with interest.

    4.5%, 200 years, on 235 million.

    10.58 million a year, total payments of 2.115 trillion pounds.

    Your figures

    Nick

  34. Nick
    28/07/2009 at 4:12 pm

    Porker of the day.

    Baroness Uddin, one of your colleagues. No doubt you know the details. The obvious question is why you didn’t stop this odious woman from claiming for an empty property. Then claiming expenses to travel too and from it.

    Just shows how much care Parliament and the Lords take when it comes to spending other people’s money on themselves.

    Just like Portcullis house.

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