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25 Nov 2007 ~ Staff offered £40,000-a-year for life 'bribes' to quit shamed ministry Defra
is the headline in this Evening Standard article. One insider is quoted: "They can't believe their luck. There are retirement parties all the time stretching into next spring. It seems an odd way to save money but no one is complaining. Some intend to take the money and then work in the private sector."....
".....the £300 million "voluntary retirement" scheme was devised as part of emergency measures to save money after Defra was fined £300 million by the EU for failing to pay farm subsidies on time.
The department's budget has come under further strain as a result of foot-and-mouth disease, bird flu, the floods and a failure to meet earlier job-reduction targets.
But some officials say the job-cutting scheme is so generous that Environment Secretary Hilary Benn is "throwing good money after bad....
". As one emailer writes this morning, "Cost sharing? £40m a year from the livestock sector. Why not, instead, take it from those responsible for the losses, instead of rewarding them with handouts from the farmers’ and taxpayers’ pockets? Will this loss of Defra staff be indiscriminate? There are good and competent people at Defra. This may be a welcome opportunity for them to leave. “Some intend to take the money and then work in the private sector.” Can we, at least, be assured that they will not be gagged with threats of losing their pensions?"
(In view of the imminent publication (see Telegraph) of the report by the cross-party Better Government Initiative, this Memorandum by Sir Christopher Foster, to the Select Committee on Public Administration, on the subject of how the relationship between government and civil service has changed, is relevant.)