Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Money for nothing

Have you ever wondered what the Scotland Office actually does now that the Scottish Parliament controls pretty much everything the office used to do? Well it seems to be that it has one primary purpose that I can tell. It pays David Cairns MP an extra £30,000 a year for being responsible for..... well nothing.

Honestly, I'm not kidding. In recent days there have been questions in Parliament put to the Scotland Office about its staff and responsibilities. It turns out that the office has no role of overseeing anything as such. There are no regulators and/or inspectorates that come under its remit.

As for staff, it doesn't actually have any. OK, it has bums on seats, but it is not responsible for them. All of its staff are "on loan" from other Government departments. The pay is dictated by the other department, as too are the terms of employment. David Cairns, the Junior Minister there, has no actual power of them as such.

Everything leads back to the lending department. Getting a junior ministerial job at the Scotland Office looks to be just a sinecure for a bit of extra cash. Either that or the MP for Inverclyde has something on someone and he's been chucked there to shut him up whilst making sure he can't actually cause any damage.

Good work if you can get it I guess!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes indeed-the SNP Govt have already made representations to have this sillyness abolished(bet you can guess how this request was received by Runner Bean!)

The real reason the office will remain is that Bean despises the SNP and the continuance of this office gives him an excuse not to talk to Salmond directly.

I know this sounds silly but believe you me its true!

anthonynorth said...

The government can't have an empty building. It might get damp.

Ed said...

Can anyone tell me what the Government Office For London does that can't be done by the Greater London Authority?

John M Ward said...

ed said: "Can anyone tell me what the Government Office For London does that can't be done by the Greater London Authority?"

Good question! No, I can't, although that was the office from whom I was myself effectively made redundant back in 1996, when it and the other GOs were doing some quite useful work. These days, I'm not sure what the value of any of them is, but GO London in particular seems to have no real purpose now.

Pity in a way, in that the original idea to merge four Gov't Depts' regional structures was a good one, reducing duplication in the process -- which is why my job went, for one.

Then again, I never really liked GOL's home in Riverwalk House...

John M Ward said...

anthony north wrote: "The government can't have an empty building. It might get damp."

They should do what we are keen to do with council buildings we no longer need (note the word "need" there) which is to sell them. Indeed, we shall have two very nice properties/sites coming onto the market within the next few months -- our Civic Centre in Strood and the Municipal Buildings in Gillingham.

I'd suggest the same be done with the current home of the effectively-redundant Scottish Office, and have Broon pluck up the courage to face up to dealing with Salmond directly in future.

dreamingspire said...

This Scotland Office story is an old chestnut that, like the nuts, comes round every year...

Anonymous said...

John Ward:-

"Broon pluck up the courage to face up to dealing with Salmond directly in future."

The words "Broon" and "courage" do not compute.........do not compute...........