Murky finances

Devon County Council has outsourced most of its education support services to Babcock LDP.

The six directors of the parent company of the latter, a conglomerate called Babcock International Group, earned £12.6 million between them in 2014/15.

The highest paid director received £4.16 million. The average remuneration was £2.1 million. Pity the lowest paid director who only received £1 million – albeit for only eight months of work.

There’s nothing in that company’s report and account which states how many of their employees had a remuneration of more than £100,000. They’re not obliged to disclose this in their report and accounts, and, of course, they aren’t subject to the Freedom of Information Act. So they’re not obliged to disclose such details at all.

Bear in mind that this is a company that, by its own admission, draws 80% of its customers from the public sector. So taxpayers ultimately pay these people. Not only that, they also fund the dividends that these companies pay to their shareholders.

The county council has outsourced most of its highways work to South West Highways whose accounts are far more opaque than those of Babcock. Total emoluments for the directors in their last annual accounts was stated as being £172 thousand of which £43 thousand related to pension contributions.

They had eight directors, but only one director benefitted from those pension contributions. I think it’s fair to say that there was only one executive director and that he/she received more than £100 thousand in emoluments.

South West Highways is jointly owned by Colas Ltd and Eurovia Ltd.

The former’s highest paid director received total emoluments of £315 thousand whereas the highest paid director of the latter received £410 thousand.

Colas Ltd. are ultimately owned by the French group Bouygues and Eurovia’s ultimate owner is the French group Vinci SA.

I have no idea what their directors, let alone highest paid employees, ‘earn’.

So, Taxpayers Alliance, please turn your somewhat myopic vision elsewhere. Let’s have a very good look at what all these private companies that benefit from the government’s (or rather taxpayer’s) largesse pay their directors and employees.

In particular why don’t you turn your beady, albeit extremely blinkered, eyes on PFI, and those many private companies that are making immense profits from this particular piece of financial engineering. All to the detriment of the taxpayers and the biggest con of all.