This is an unusual story for our time. Just when the snatch it all culture from money grabbing bonus seeking bankers and utility bosses, and golden goodbyes for multi billionaires dominate the media, someone has a conscience.
In July 2012 Mick Laverty was made compulsorily redundant when the government axed West Midlands Advantage as part of the government’s closure of all the regional development agencies. This little bureaucracy bashing exercise supervised by Vince Cable, the business secretary, has led to an amazing £60m in payouts to the 2300 staff. According to a report from IPPR North (http://www.ippr.org/images/media/files/publication/2013/03/UKfirst-northern-FDI_Mar2013_10500.pdf ) it has contributed to Britain’s downturn outside the bloated London and the South East with inward investment dropping drastically,particularly in the North and Midlands.
Among the super size redundo package was an award of £14o,772 to Mick Laverty – and the last accounts of the agency record he got some £351,000 (including the redundo) in the last 15 months in the job.
At the time the Department of Business Innovation and Science said none of these highly paid mandarins were going to get any new jobs in Whitehall.
And yet just six months later he was appointed as the new chief executive of the Students Loans Company to replace Ed Lester – a name familiar to this website after his amazing deal where he avoided paying tax or national insurance at source led to a huge crackdown across Whitehall when Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury, discovered 2500 civil servants were doing the same thing.
And guess who approved his appointment none other than the Department for Business. Furthermore as is reported in Exaro News, his salary is £160,000 a year plus up to £25,000 in bonuses, some £45,000 more than his predecessor. See http://www.exaronews.com/articles/4902/ed-lester-to-depart-from-student-loans-company-this-month
But there is a rather nice silver lining – at least for the taxpayer. To his credit Mick Laverty decided to return £82,117 redundo to the Treasury entirely as a voluntary gesture since he is entitled to the money under the Civil Service Compensation Scheme. I tried to talk to him about it but he seems very publicity shy and wouldn’t comment. People around him say he believes it was the right thing to do as he was only six months without a job.
If only some of our other big fat cats in Whitehall,local government and the banks thought the same Britain might be a fairer place. But sadly the National audit Office tell me that is very rare in Whitehall, they didn’t know of another instance.