8th January 2010 at 00:00
Surely some mistake? amp; Sliding scale

Surely some mistake?

Ah, a new year. Time to take stock, reflect on the past and set unrealistic expectations for improvement. Or you could take a cue from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and give yourself a pat on the back for your mistakes.

Such must have been the thinking when officials looked back on a year that began with college students waiting for education maintenance allowance payments that had been delayed for months and ended with university students waiting for loan payments that had been delayed for months.

Not to mention the previous year's overspend on student grants, which resulted in millions of pounds being diverted from further education budgets, never to be seen again.

Clearly, the best way to deal with these lingering problems was to give an OBE to someone in the student finance policy team - so congratulations, senior executive officer Karen Duncan. Trebles all round.

Sliding scale

Come on, now, lecturers. We have been not unsympathetic to the idea that you are underpaid local heroes who deserve to be better rewarded. But when one of you goes and buys a house just so he can watch it slide into the sea, well, you're not helping.

This means you, Kane Cunningham, landscape painter and art lecturer at Yorkshire Coast College. The 48-year-old bought a clifftop bungalow near Scarborough for pound;3,000, despite an imminent threat of destruction by coastal erosion.

He'll use the house as a studio and document its eventual collapse into the North Sea.

"The purchase of this house on my credit card is a deliberate financial transaction suggesting the link to credit, sub-prime mortgages, property ownership, debt, loans, the financial markets, property speculation, boom and bust," Mr Cunningham said.

That's all very interesting, but don't be surprised if this comes up next time you ask for a pay rise.

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