Camden Council vs the Tax-Payers Alliance caught on camera

sarah5COUNCIL leader Sarah Hayward is not shy when it comes to television work. She must have a taste for it after appearing on the local BBC news programmes, live on Sky News and in one of Newsnight‘s debating chairs already this year. Yet you wonder what she must have been thinking when the cameras stopped rolling on her head-to-head with the Tax Payers Alliance’s Robert Oxley last week.

In Channel 5’s neon news disco, the pair, perched on boy band stools, did several rounds of: ‘No, you’re wrong’, ‘no, you’re wrong’. And that was about it. The TPA say Camden pays 40 people more than £100,000 a year. Sarah and Co say it’s actually 16, and they work hard to get it.

Whatever side of the debate you’re on, this bit of television, a rage over what an unseen piece of paper off camera may or may not tell us about Camden’s accounts, gets pretty tetchy and soon the terms have been upgraded to ‘lying’ and ‘frankly ridiculous’.

The two sides have had this argument before and the TPA say Camden could be more helpful with the figures when they ask. The council say it was one of the first local authorities to take action over senior pay and chief executive Mike Cooke gets a lighter pay packet than his predecessor Moira Gibb as result. By the time Channel 5 switched to something else, there was definitely a sense – with the age old ‘who should earn more than the Prime Minister’ debate forever unsettled – of same time next year?

Once is enough, but Fitzrovia News has uploaded the footage for anybody who hasn’t seen it yet

11 Comments on Camden Council vs the Tax-Payers Alliance caught on camera

  1. This is stupid. Two people arguing about facts that must be easily capable of checking. One of the two is clearly wrong but which? Camden aren’t short of neutral people, capable of checking who is right. Something for its respected local rag to follow up.

    • Sarah Hayward // May 15, 2013 at 12:01 am //

      Indeed you, and anyone else, can, our statement of accounts is here.;jsessionid=2CFB2330D1884BE5465496DC05595983.node2

      Pages 108, 109, 110. It’s 16 if you don’t include pensions (which HM Treasury don’t) OR 25 if you do – which the TPA like to so they can inflate their numbers. The TPA misread them and added the two numbers together (which they somehow got to 40 rather than 41! – shows how bad their maths is). We’d sought to correct this with the TPA and latterly they have acknowledged they were wrong. Sadly despite our best efforts, not til well after they’d gone all over the media with the incorrect information.

      And when, an organisation with considerable media clout, is telling any journo who will listen the wrong information then we’re right to seek to correct it.

  2. Vote Mr Independent // May 15, 2013 at 8:59 am //

    Dear Richard

    My money is on Mr Robert Oxley of the Tax Payers Alliance, and not that of the Camden Council Leader Cllr Hayward. who appeared to be telling “Porkies” !!

    One only had to look at the Leader to make an informed decision that she was blushing like “Coco the Clown” when the truth of the facts and reality was put before her, embarrassing or what??? Although, the “ill fitting” clothes did not help her plea of denial that her little nest egg of £100.000 pound plus officers do exist within her rank and file of pen pushers at the Town Hall, who she claims on national televison work extremely hard for their salaries, someone please give Cllr Hayward a ” sedative” before she actually believes the brief given to her by Cllr Blackwell and officers.

    Someone needs to remind Cllr Hayward that she was on a news slot, and not some tacky commercial advert for clowns which is what British politics and our politicians have become, a running joke by our elected members, to the detriment of the constituents of this borough and the country has a whole!!!!!!!

    Funny Cllr Hayward never divulged her own allowance, maybe she will try and convince the residents of Camden that there is some merit and justification for her band of merry little pens pushers who earn and exceed £100.000 plus whilst many residents within Camden struggle with poverty and financial hardship, with the pending threat of evictions , whereby many residents will have to make the choice of paying rents, bedroom tax or feed their families, this decsion alone will force may evictions for Camden to forecfully remove residents from their homes and vibrant communities, to parts of the country with it’s own shortage of housing. and other social problems.

    Independent candidates for Councillors for Camden Town Hall is the only way forward to rid our society of the current politicians who fail us daily, so vote Independent come the next local elections.

  3. The point is that all of this info is published online on our website. Senior salaries, councillors’ salaries – the lot.

    The TPA double-counted, and unlike local papers they don’t have a letters page to publish clarifications the next week.

  4. Thanks, Sarah. Yes, there is a lot of information on those pages and they seem to bear out what you say except that the figure of 16 is not immediately apparent (or have I missed something?). Should it not be 20? the 25 to include pension contributions which you refer to is confirmed.

    Is it too much to hope for the man from the TPA to justify here his figures, or apologize in view of his aggressive performance?


  5. Miss Know It All // May 15, 2013 at 11:33 am //

    HA HA HA how funny is Councillor Hayward Im glad that she wore a pink top so that we could not see her blushing with embrassment, the people know what Camden Council Officers get and are still waiting to see there value for money !!. They all sit in there glass tower ignoring there tenants they sit with there blacberrys and co operateive cards having lunch and afternoon tea !!. They dont live in a real world and would not know how to live on what the goverment expect you to live on, maybe they need a quick reality check and come back down to earth with a big BANG !!.

  6. Can't Beleive IT !! // May 15, 2013 at 11:48 am //

    Councillor Hayward you are a joker, how can you sit on national tele stating that your Camden Officers do not get so much money when you advertise there wages on your website, obviously you have not even looked at your own website, you also forgot to say about the bonus of your staff performance related pay. I live in Camden and in a Camden Council home that needs repairs, why do you not stop giving your officers so much money so the rich get richer with there luxery homes not in Camden and give us our repairs ?.

  7. Richard Osley // May 15, 2013 at 12:07 pm //

    Always interested in people responding through the comments section, although I think the councillors are more likely to want to respond if they know who they are talking to.

  8. The Taxpayers Alliance website has a very long “explanation” of why they said what they said. From its sheer length, one might suppose that they reckoned they were right. It needs an anorak to scrutinise it. There should be no case for lies or abuse.


  9. I’ve now looked at what the TPA are saying. In their defence, I can see that their job would be much easier is there was more standardisation covering all local authorities.
    However, they have set themselves up as being experts so the main error they made of double counting is hardly excusable. There are two tables which authorities include in their accounts – Camden’s tables were referenced by Sarah earlier in these comments. Islington, for example, makes it clear that no staff are included in both. Camden heads the first one “the number of staff receiving annual remuneration in excess of £50,000 is shown below”. The TPA seems to have assumed, without any justification, that Camden didn’t include those in the second table and so they added the two together – double counting indeed.

    Another, albeit smaller, error indicates a lack of attention to detail. This is what I have posted on the TPA’s comments section:

    “The TPA needs to do more than assert something is a fact for it to be one. For example, it says “the table of staff numbers in remuneration bands lists 6 employees who received between £100,000 and £104,999 …”. Look alongside that statement and you find the numbers of staff in that band being shown as 5. That is not a spur of the moment error which could be made in a TV interview, it is in what should be a considered response to the interview”.

    There are some apparent anomalies that the TPA point out but they are minor and may be explainable. They say it is wrong to quote remuneration without including pension contributions and I agree.

    Brian the pedant

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