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Topic Title: Ex-Permanent Secretary at DECC wins public cash jackpot
Topic Summary: Moira Wallace's £471,968 tops the Whitehall's payout charts
Created On: 04 July 2013 02:17 AM
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 04 July 2013 02:17 AM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1041
Joined: 05 September 2004

Following the stories about BBC golden goodbye's and gagging bribes amounting to nearly £30 million of public money, the papers have now moved on to the vast sums that Whitehall pays out in exit payements each year to the civil service "elite".

"£500,000 Whitehall pay-offs show gravy train is still rolling"

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new...is-still-rolling.html

"Moira Wallace, the former permanent secretary at the Energy Department, was handed an exit pay-out worth £472,000 amid suggestions she left after clashing with Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary.

The payment, which was sanctioned by the Treasury, is thought to be the biggest ever severance package and was made despite ministers announcing that such payments were to be capped at far lower levels."


Congratulations to Moira Wallace on being top of the payout charts.

"Miss Wallace left "voluntarily" after 26 years in the civil service and a "record of considerable achievement", a spokesman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said. "

Yes this "record of considerable achievement" is still compounding in complexity and cost, and with such momentum that no one can now stop before it hits the buffers...

This "record of considerable achievement" started with the "Draft Energy Bill", and following lots time and money spent earnestly debating and modifying terms of maximal incomprehensibility, will from a consumer point of view, act rather like a computer virus that inflates energy bills for no clear and transparent reason.

Once analysed by independent experts it will be found that the new "levy virus" siphons money from consumer's bank accounts and channels the cash, via some complex arrangement no one currently understands or can explain, into the bank accounts of government, National Grid and certain selected energy suppliers and energy generators.

A mode of operation very similar to computer virus's that steal money outside the law.

The only clear and transparent rule is that this cash siphoning process cannot under any circumstances be called a subsidy.

I have made an interesting and surreal connection between the current Energy Bill and the Corn Laws introduced almost exactly 200 years ago.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_Laws

"In 1813, a House of Commons Committee recommended excluding foreign-grown corn until the price of domestically grown corn increased to 80 shillings (£4) (2010 equivalent: £202.25) per quarter (1 quarter = 480 lb / 218.8 kg). The political economist Thomas Malthus believed this to be a fair price, and that it would be dangerous for Britain to rely on imported corn because lower prices would reduce labourers' wages, and manufacturers would lose out due to the decrease of purchasing power of landlords and farmers.[3] Nevertheless, 80 shillings a quarter was so high a price that domestic grain never attained it between 1815 and 1848. David Ricardo, however, believed in free trade, so that Britain could use its capital and population to its comparative advantage."

This could be rewritten 200 years later in parody as

In 2013, the House of Commons recommended fixing the price of domestically generated nuclear energy at £XXX per MWh. The [Secretary of State at DECC] believed this to be a fair price, and that it would be dangerous for Britain to rely on cheaper energy because lower prices would reduce energy infrastructure investment, and manufacturers and consumers would lose out due to increased power cuts. Nevertheless, £XXX per MWh was so high a price that domestic free market energy never attained it between 2015 and 2048. James Arathoon and others, however, believed in free energy market using a slowly ramping Carbon Tax, so that Britain could use its capital and population to its comparative advantage.

James Arathoon

P.S. If people sign gagging clauses for money (in the public or private sector), do they have to admit to this in public registers of interest, for example if they later become MP's or Lords or civil servants or public officials in quango's etc? It seems to me that not being able to criticise a former employer (especially if it is government) is just as much something to be declared as actively receiving an income.


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James Arathoon
 04 July 2013 03:19 PM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1041
Joined: 05 September 2004

By the way I could of been clearer on the P.S. part of the last post.

If you read the telegraph article you will realise that Moira Wallace will soon be taking the job of provost at Oriel College, Oxford.

Now I do not hold personal grudges and wish her the best of luck in this new career. However I do fully understand that she may want to use some of her time in this illustrious academic institution to reflect on her past career in the civil service, talking to Dieter Helm for example (author "The Carbon Crunch" and professor of energy economics at New College Oxford)

I am worried that in taking the public sector pay-off she may have inadvertently signed some associated gagging clauses; I am concerned that if this is not clarified she could be seen wrongly as taking a sort of intellectual corruption, involving censorship by reason of prior contract, into the heart of a free and healthy academic system.

Indeed for all I know the opposite may be true she may not have compromised her integrity and thus will be totally free to criticise and talk to others openly about the deficiencies of the civil service system from whence she came.

James Arathoon

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James Arathoon
 05 July 2013 03:12 PM
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Ipayyoursalary

Posts: 265
Joined: 21 November 2009

If she clashed with Ed Davey she can't be all bad. The man's driving our grid toward blackouts with unreliable green energy scams, driving businesses overseas with skyrocketing green taxes, driving pensioners to hypothermia via intentionally forcing their energy bills to skyrocket, driving our countryside to destruction by ruining it with thousands of industrial wind turbines and by felling forests on the other side of the world to burn in his idiotic biomass power subsidy plants - all cheered on by the IET's Energy Policy Panel I hasten to add. The whole lot of them should be up on charges for gross incompetence and irresponsibility.
 05 July 2013 04:55 PM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1041
Joined: 05 September 2004

no one is all bad.

Its nothing personal, its just that Moira Wallace was one of the original architects of this mess, along with Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband, who originally created and ran DECC respectively. Chris Huhne then made things worse by reheating much the same set of policies, so that they could be adopted in a rhetorical and uncritical by the coalition; including the green deal and electricity market reform to roll out new third generation Nuclear stations.

When the Treasury realised that DECC had the power to bankrupt the country with its ineptitute in regard to what it was trying to achieve (e.g. solar subsidies), Moira Wallace was apparently encouraged to resign with a big pay-off. The Treasury effectively has held firmer financial control of the department ever since, via its over-arching "Levy Control Framework".

The culpability of Ed Davey and the current permanent secretary in all this now is a debateable point. They seem to me to have very little power to change things even if they wanted to. They are too low down in the food chain to be worth the effort of my criticism.

As a member of the Liberal Democrats I am now much more willing to lay the blame for the governments current intransigence in regards to energy policy, onto the shoulders of Nick Clegg and David Cameron.

There is little reason to criticise the IET policy panel over this mess. I can't remember anyone from this institution being offered adequate and significant time to discuss the facts of the matter (engineering and economic) in front of a parliamentary select committee for instance.

Parliamentarians seem to have little enthusiasm for discussing the matter with professional engineers! Not only do our opinions not matter, it's almost as if we don't exist.

My belief is that the IET as a professional organisation, along with academics, can only get to work properly on this (in a fully considered way) once DECC opens up its knowledge and evidence databases to full external public audit. We can then see if the claims they make (e.g. in terms of their ability to pick winners) are backed up by real evidence.

James Arathoon

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James Arathoon
 08 July 2013 02:47 PM
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acsinuk

Posts: 153
Joined: 30 June 2007

I agree with your sentiments James. The green idea is great if it can be achieved economically in the long term. But short term we must keep the lights on! No more closing coal stations on environmental grounds; until we are absolutely sure we can meet the winter peak.
CliveS
 09 July 2013 12:22 PM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1041
Joined: 05 September 2004

Another DECC official bites the dust as he takes a career break.

A new director for Electricity Market Reform (EMR) from the Treasury will start from 5 August this year.

See Utility Week Story

http://www.utilityweek.co.uk/n...ad+Decc+market+reform

Whether this means our government will change its communication strategy in regards to discussions and consultations with the engineering community, including this Institution and its members I have no idea.

James Arathoon

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James Arathoon
 09 July 2013 01:03 PM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1041
Joined: 05 September 2004

A related story in the Telegraph

"Mandarins oppose 'dangerous' civil service shake-up"

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new...service-shake-up.html

Are there any civil servants who want to suggest a way of enacting a civil service shake-up that isn't shouted down as "dangerous"?

Leaving things as they are is hardly an option. If senior civil servants feel hard done by, then they only have themselves to blame, especially at DECC.

If the senior civil servants want to be of greatest value to this country and its future they need to have the quality necessary to reflect and decide whether others with a different portfolio of skills and experience might serve the country better given the current set of circumstances.

People with lots of social connections at the top of government will always be in a more favourable position to others (i.e. without the same number and quality of social connections) in terms of getting a new private sector job or starting a new private sector business. So I suggest they stop whinging and using the word "dangerous", and be thankful for how lucky and influential they've been in life.

"Dangerous" what poppycock!

No one is suggesting the aboition of parliamentary oversight of the executive and in any case oversight could always be beefed up in certain respects if there are legitimate concerns raised in the lower ranks of the civil service on how disagreements with the minister are to be discussed, managed and arbitrated in future.

James Arathoon

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James Arathoon
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