Public sector fatcats to be named and shamed as Brown targets cuts

BBC chiefs and fat cats on huge salaries will be 'named and shamed' under Government plans to rein in the bloated public sector unveiled by Gordon Brown today.

Highly-paid BBC staff, GPs, judges, NHS bosses and local government chiefs will all be forced to publicly justify their earnings of more than £150,000 under the reforms outlined by Labour aimed at tackling the 'culture of excess'.

They will have to write to the relevant secretary of state setting out why they are worth such a large sum and then face the embarrassment of having the letter released.

Names and salaries - within £5,000 bands - of those involved will be published. The same restrictions will apply to anyone earning a bonus of £50,000-a-year or more.

'Organisations found to be squandering public funds or over-generous in their salaries at the expense of services for people will be named and shamed,' Mr Brown said.

BBC director general Mark Thompson (L) earns £834,000-a-year, his deputy Mark Byford (R) earns £485,000 and Director of Vision Jana Bennett £515,000

The BBC has at least 53 people on £150,000 or over who will be affected by the shake-up.

It is part of a last-gasp attempt by Labour to crack down on spiralling pay and bonuses in the public sector as it looks to a General Election next year.

Mr Brown said the Government had identified another £3billion in savings since the Budget in April and would now save £12billion over the next four years.

In the keynote speech this morning, he tried to paint Labour as the party of reform as he set out his plans for the economy and efficiency savings for the next few years.

His aim was a 'slimmer, more streamlined' State, which would be achieved through the most sweeping changes in administration in Britain for half a century, he claimed.

As Britain battles to shake off the recession, he said 'every penny spent by Whitehall must count'.

'The days of "Whitehall knows best" are over. The days of the citizen in charge of the service have started,' he added.

The what? Simon Nelson is paid £177,000-a-year as the BBC's Controller of Multi-platform and Portfolio which he admits is a 'completely barmy' job title

Plans in Labour's 'Smarter Government' report include:

  • Slashing senior civil servants' pay by 20 per cent, raising £100million a year.
  • Cutting Whitehall's spending on consultants by half and reduce marketing costs by a quarter, saving £650million a year.
  • Abolishing around 120 quangos over the next three years, saving £500million.
  • Moving most government services online within five years, starting with student loans, benefit applications and tax credit forms, to save £665million.
  • Axing civil service early retirement terms, cutting redundancy pay for top staff, and stopping people returning to work after pay-offs to save half a billion.
  • Increased energy efficiency across the public sector, saving £300million.
  • Ordering local government to save £550million by reducing the number of inspections and cutting their budgets.
  • Relocating another 10 per cent of civil servants out of the south east.

Mr Brown said other unspecified savings across the public sector will save £500million, helping Labour achieve its aim of halving the deficit over four years.

Despite reticence in Labour ranks about adopting a 'class war' against the Conservatives, he kept to the argument that they were only seeking to help the rich.

He claimed they were fixated on the State being the problem, when it was actually vital to helping some of the worst off in society.

Mr Brown directly attacked David Cameron's claim in his conference speech earlier this year, in which the Tory leader said: 'This is my DNA: family, community, country.'

The Prime Minister countered: 'I am afraid that in the DNA of those who believe that Government is always the obstacle, their conclusion appears to be remove the obstacles from the powerful and successful to keep doing well and the rest of society will somehow be able to take care of itself.

'In my DNA is the belief that a good society is a fair society, that Government is best seen as what we choose to do as a community together and that Government can be a force for good and fairness.'

Gordon Brown: 'Every penny spent by Whitehall must count'

Critics used the admission that the public sector is handing out huge salaries and needs drastically to be cut back as proof of Mr Brown's own failings while he was Chancellor and now Prime  Minister.

Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman Jeremy Browne said: 'Gordon Brown has spent over 12 years signing the cheques for an increasingly inefficient and centralised system of Whitehall bureaucracy.

'Greater efficiency is always welcome, but we will not get the improvements we need until there is fundamental reform in Whitehall. Central government is too big, too powerful and too expensive.'

Shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, Phillip Hammond added: 'Labour have had repeated efficiency drives over the last 12 years which have identified billions of pounds of potential savings yet they have only achieved a fraction of the savings claimed.

'Efficiency reviews are not the problem - Labour is. Waste and inefficiency remain endemic after 12 years of Labour government.

'Why should we take this latest offering any more seriously when all it contains are re-heated announcements and attempts to copy Conservative policies? The truth is real public service reform is not in Labour's DNA.'

The Tories revealed that Sir Peter Gershon, who headed up the Government's last major Whitehall efficiency review, will lead work on their own plans for cuts.

Under Labour's measures on public sector pay, anyone recruited for a job subject to ministerial approval which has a salary above £150,000 or bonuses above £50,000 will in future also have to be approved by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

At bodies not directly under Government control, organisations will have to publicly justify any salaries about the threshold.

The measures will affect senior civil servants, quango bosses and heads of public corporations including the BBC, as well as NHS managers, GPs, judges, local government chiefs and senior armed forces personnel.

The measures have been stolen from the Conservatives, who pledged to create more transparency in top public sector pay.

Mr Brown said: 'Of course, public service is admirable, important and it deserves fair reward and we must never forget that our priority is excellence at the front line.

'In the wider public sector, some senior pay and perks packages have lost sight with this goal and lost touch with the reality of people's lives.

'Money which should be spent on health, schools, policing and social services is in some cases going on excessive salaries and unjustified bonuses far beyond the expectations of the majority of workers. This culture of excess must change and will change.'

A public sector 'rich list', published last week, revealed that more than 800 individuals now enjoy pay and perks worth £150,000 a year – more than most cabinet ministers.

The figures were a conservative estimate since they did not include local authority chief executives, GPs, judges or university vice-chancellors.

The BBC has at least 53 staff on £150,000 or over, including director general Mark Thompson on £816,000. Transport for London has 50 members of staff on or above £150,000.

The attempt to use transparency to drive down public sector pay comes as Gordon Brown sets out measures to save money through efficiency savings in Whitehall.

Chancellor Alistair Darling also indicated yesterday that part of the expensive new NHS IT system is to be scaled back to save money. The budget for the system has spiralled to more than £12billion.

Mr Brown insisted the Government will be 'relentless' in finding new ways to save money and take the 'tough decisions' needed to realise them.

'To protect the frontline services we value at a time when budgets are tighter it means we need to do what households up and down the country do to prioritise the necessities and postpone the things we can do without,' he said.

'The proposals we are setting out in this plan will go further than we have ever gone before in streamlining central government.'