John van de Laarschot, the Chief Executive of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, will be asking the cabinet to waive the usual tendering process in order to secure a multi-million pound contract for his favoured consultants to initiate a ‘transformational change programme’ at the authority.He’d like the contract, which could be worth as much as £4m, to go to Buckingham-based Vanguard Consulting – a firm he’s familiar with from his previous post as Chief Executive of Torridge District Council.
David Cameron is a very lucky man. A span of 24 hours separated his triumphal anointment as head of a coalition from the possibility of a Lib-Lab pact and deposition as a failed reformer. A Damoclean experience indeed.But here we are today. William Hague is the new Foreign Secretary. Other Cabinet posts are emerging every hour. But who is the Europe Minister? Who will be responsible for Fisheries, or for fighting the corner against EU Defence Procurement under Liam Fox? These pointers will give us a much clearer understanding of pending crisis points in the governing coalition.
Britain has a new Government - and the first true coalition Government in over half a century. Whilst the ink is barely dry on the deal, and the full Cabinet and policy platform is yet to be announced, the first bits of information are surfacing about the tax policies they are likely to pursue.On public spending, where many absolutely crucial decisions must be taken to battle the deficit and then reduce the national debt, we have yet to hear anything (other than an encouraging rumour about removing the Tory ringfence on NHS spending). We, of course, will be lobbying and campaigning hard to see the ideas for spending cuts contained in the TPA Manifesto and How to Cut Public Spending (and still win an election) adopted - but we won't really know more until the emergency budget in around 6 weeks. So what do we know on the tax side so far?
It’s Wednesday again and time for our weekly non-job, and this week the public sector are advertising for 359 positions on the Guardian jobs website. There are some 84 roles listed within the salary band £40,000-£50,000, and that’s where we found this week’s nomination, a vacancy posted by Warrington Borough Council.
The story of Sadie Boucher is one that I was almost surprised to read in the papers. The mum-of-seven, who lives in Gloucester, does not work and has never worked. She lives of around £30,000 a year in benefits and claims she was £200 a week worse off when she was married . She adds that she won’t settle down with a partner again because she’ll lose those generous hand-outs.
“Before we tied the knot we were coping, but as soon as we got married we were left high and dry. Suddenly my benefits were cut and we went seven weeks with no money while they decided what tax credits we were entitled to. It was a nightmare.”
What surprised me was that her story made it into the papers, because it is not that unusual or uncommon for young mothers to find themselves in her situation. She’s not exactly your average single parent, because she has seven children, but she epitomises our broken welfare system in many other ways.