Daily Archives: December 10, 2010

The story broke earlier today that Andy Coulson, head of press at 10 Downing Street, would not face prosecution over allegations that he was aware of phone hacking by staff when he was editor of the News of the World. For those who are interested, here is the statement from the Director of Public Prosecutions. (Curiously it is not on the Crown Prosecution Service website but rather on the CPS ‘blog’.)

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer QC, said today:

“In September 2010 the New York Times published allegations that phone hacking at the News of the World newspaper was more widespread and more widely known than was outlined at the 2007 prosecution of Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire.

“This prompted a number of associated reports and wide media coverage and speculation.

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George Osborne told the story at yesterday’s press lunch about how he tried to buy a Treasury Christmas tree for £40 – after learning his predecessor had paid about £900 last year – but became embroiled in a struggle with a PFI contractor.

Here is the relevant memo:

MEMO: HM Treasury Christmas Tree
To: CX Office
Some facts below about the Christmas Tree.
- We normally get our Christmas Tree from Exchequer Partnerships, our building supplier; as part of our PFI deal.
- The catalogue had a choice of “Hollyday”, “Indulgence”, “Enchantment”, “Icicle”, or “Decadence” trees, or bespoke tailor made trees, from £130-875.
- The tree we last year would have cost £875, for a 13 foot tree, which arrives dressed.
- We spoke to EP about whether we couldn’t buy a tree from B&Q for £40 instead of spending £900.
- They were concerned about:
Who would go and choose the tree from B&Q? How would we get the tree into the building from B&Q? Who would dispose of the tree after Christmas, and how would we do this? Wouldn’t we need a van? And a place Read more

This is one of those subjects which seems rather dry until the consequences are spelled out in your monthly pay cheque.

Yet the implication of an official document published on Thursday is jaw-dropping.  That is: that many state workers could see their pension contributions more than double in the future.

Lord Hutton’s interim report into public sector pensions has already recommended that pension contributions by state workers should rise in April 2012 by 3 per centage points from their current level (typically between 3 and 11 per cent of pay depending on the job). This is to remedy an imbalance between employee/employer contributions. But will the increase stop there?

With riots outside and conflict in the Commons yesterday was a fantastic day to bury dull but important news. And the Treasury did indeed release its consultation paperon the discount rate used to set unfunded public service pension contributions“. Read more