Thursday, July 15, 2010

And how, exactly, are we going to control it?

A Written Question from Lord Stoddart of Swindon deals with those Brussels salaries.
To ask Her Majesty's Government which European Union Commissioners and officials receive a higher salary than the Prime Minister.
The reply is only partial since you cannot expect civil servants to find out the facts required. However, the following was put down in the name of Lord Howell of Guildford:
My right honourable friend the Prime Minister's salary of £142,500 equates to approximately €170,000 (at current exchange rates). All 27 members of the College of Commissioners receive a higher salary than this. We do not hold information as to which EU officials earn a salary in excess of €170,000.

We do not have access to the salary details of individual EU officials. We do have access to salary scales and the approximate number of officials in each grade. Officials in grades AD 16 and AD 15 (director-general level) have scales in which the minimum is above the salary of the Prime Minister. There are some 300 staff in these grades.
One could argue that it is right and proper that members of the real government should earn more than their regional representatives. All the same, that is rather a lot of people who earn over £142,500 out of the public purse, Europe-wide though it may be. Let me emphasise that this only the salary. Both Westminster and, especially, Brussels provides generous perks and expenses.

The last paragraph of the reply is interesting in its own way:
At a time when Governments across the EU are reining in their spending, it is only right that the EU institutions think carefully about every euro that they spend to ensure that they get the most from their money. We are currently pushing for a freeze in the 2011 budget and expect salary levels to reflect the current economic conditions.
And if it does not happen? We'll thcream and thcream until we are thick? If only we did have a Violet Elizabeth Bott to negotiate on our behalf.

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