11th June 2010 at 01:00
Revealed, more or less amp; Mind those cutbacks

Revealed, more or less

A quick glance at the newly published list of civil servants pocketing more than pound;150,000 a year reveals a shocking truth: Stephen Marston, director general of universities and skills at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), is not on it.

Not content with treating further education as the neglected middle child of education for many years, the Government has also been starving its most senior civil servant of resources.

How must he feel walking through the BIS car park, past the Ferraris of the director general, innovation and enterprise, and the director general, finance and commercial, then bumping into the director general, business, lighting a cigar with a fifty? Assuming that ever happens.

Still, on the bright side, permanent secretary Simon Fraser could soon be receiving a visit from Mr Marston, who may be clutching a spreadsheet in one hand and a list of pay demands in the other.

FErret wonders whether the new publication rules will be of more benefit to those who want to keep pay at realistic levels or to senior civil servants who now know if they're being paid below the going rate.

Mind those cutbacks

New BIS Secretary of State Vince Cable paid a moving tribute to the power of further education in his first speech in the job.

FErret had concerns about the wholly private and grammar school education of the BIS ministerial team, but Mr Cable revealed that his family's experience with FE runs deep.

His father taught building trades at the local technical college. "My mother was a housewife and when I was ten, she had a major nervous breakdown and spent time in a mental hospital," he said.

"When she recovered, she saved her mind through adult education - learning for the first time about history, literature, philosophy and art." Let's hope he continues to remember that at budget time.

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