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Former top civil servant calls for industry levy to fund Treasury

Former Cabinet Secretary Lord O’Donnell says the Treasury should consider levying financial services firms to fund its work in the financial sector.

Speaking in yesterday’s debate in the Lords on the Financial Services Bill, O’Donnell suggested the civil servants working on financial services regulation for the department should be funded in the same way as the FSA. This would exclude the minister responsible for that brief, Treasury financial secretary Mark Hoban.

O’Donnell, known during his time in Whitehall as GOD, said the department is at risk of being “swamped” by its workload, adding that the “imbalance” between its resources those of the industry needs to be addressed.

O’Donnell said: “The Treasury is a brilliant department and I was proud to be its Permanent Secretary, but it is in danger of being swamped by the pressures placed upon it.

“It is in the interests of all of us that the Treasury is able to continue attracting the best staff and retaining their skills and experience. To avoid this being at the expense of the taxpayer, perhaps the part of the Treasury dealing with financial services and stability should be funded in the same way as the Bank and the FSA, namely by the financial industry which benefits from their work. Otherwise, the Treasury is in danger of cutting off its arms as well as its nose to make its hair shirt fit.”


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There are 10 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Just what we need – another uncapped cost that will spiral as soon as it is no longer funded by Government. Still, should be good if you are a Civil Servant looking for 5 Star accommodation and good food…

  2. This beggars belief. I’m curious exactly how the industry benefits from their work and also the profits from financial services are already taxed so I think the industry already funds the department and some.
    Nice view from his ivory tower!

  3. Utter nonsense.
    Civil Servants cost too much already. So, how about they deliver more value by working smarter and concentrating on the things that matter.
    For example, why allow people who come to the end of a secondment/special project to stay at home on full pay until there’s something else to suit – even if it’s 9 months or a year or longer?

    The real world awaits and let’s hope their appointment with it is soon.

  4. What do my taxes pay for?

    How about the Food Standards Agency being funded by supermarkets or the Enviroment Agency being funded by heavy industry?

    Idiot comes to mind.

  5. Not a Civil Servant 12th June 2012 at 11:49 am

    These people really are off their tiny minds!

    What a bunch of self-seeking drivel, piffle and utter nonsense.

    I agree with all the comments above. If the poor darlings at HMRC are a tad pressed, well join the FS industry and they may understand what ‘pressure’ really is!

    Seems to me that if the taxation system was simpler and tax rates ‘fairer’, to use that vile newspeak term, the HMRC may not have such a difficult work load, poor darlings!

    GOD – That’s the problem. He’s been carted off to the Lords as he has actually started believing his own ranting!

    Save us from these peasants, please!

  6. Michael Fallas 12th June 2012 at 2:22 pm

    And if the Government and the FSA didn’t make everything so complicated and stop introducing regulations and legislation then life at the treasury would be a lot easier. Funny how he does not mention that aspect.

    We are however living in an environment whereby no one want to take responsibily for anything and wants to have regulations and legislation to protect them, so to some extent the consumer is to blame.

  7. Julian Stevens 12th June 2012 at 2:41 pm

    An army of civil servants, comfortably ensconced in those plush and extremely expensive offices at Canary Wharf, with London-weighted salaries and an all but guaranteed 15% yearly bonus, already works on regulation ~ independently from the government, so they’d have us believe (even if they know full well that nobody actually does).

    Yet now, it seems, the FSA is, after all, just a puppet of the Treasury and this O’Donnell fellow considers that the Treasury too should be entitled to drink liberally from the inexhaustible fount of money that, somehow or other, the FS industry is perceived to be.

    Doubtless this latest idea for bleeding the industry even harder and even drier was concocted with the help of Messrs Sants and Hoban over a fine dinner in one of London’s most lavishly expensive restaurants.

    At this rate, the FS industry will be levied to pay for every and any branch of government anyone can think of ~ we’re already having to pay for the MAS to provide debt advice in place of all the agencies funded hitherto by local and central government. What next ~ yet more levies to fund absolutely everything the CAB ever did?

    At this rate, half our turnover will be confiscated to pay levies of one sort or another for everything and anything under the sun.

    Perhaps providers and intermediaries need to add to their existing charges a supplement labelled specifically REGULATORY LEVIES.

  8. Years back most of us believed that the House of Lords was inhabited by semi-retaded octogenarians who had either received their titles from being the inbred product of ancient money or had been rewarded for political favours, err, I mean services.

    Lord O’Donnell is in danger of cementing these views as we again see a careerist mentality which knows best how to spend everybodys money but his own.

    O’Donnell’s CV confirms that like too many he has risen to mediocrity by virtue of having never worked in the real word and by typifying that old school institution of being promoted well above your capability level.

    In short, he should shut up and retire gracefully.

  9. Agree with Julian

    And do you know what: its rather sad that the “I’m alright jackers” are still pushing for RDR thinking that all these costs and levies are going to go away as we will have a better run and compliant profession, we may will have: but I very much doubt it !!

    We are a bubble than is going to burst very soon and do FSA, Government & civil servants care ? not really they will bleed us dry and revel in thier own self gratification laying blame to the ones who have left to sunnier climes only for them to return the compliment.

  10. Spilled my coffee when I read this man’s complete drivel. You couldn’t make it up.

    Whilst we’re at it Sir GUFF, how about levying a deduction on every member of the Armed Forces’ paypacket to fund the DISGUSTING waste of money in MOD procurement. You know it makes sense.

    If the light had faded in my office and the lights were off, the room would be nevertheless be bright with my incandescence.

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