And the two faces of government aren’t helping either.
On one side, we have the public face of Alistair Darling, who tells us the government has run out of money and it is going to halve the public deficit through stricter spending guidelines and a smaller public sector with fewer people on the payroll.
The other face is still demonstrating its addiction to debt; we are still seeing a raft of pointless public-sector jobs being advertised for worthless roles that are sucking at the public finances.
As an example, respected business journalist Jeff Randall has done something I would never dream of doing and opened the job pages of The Guardian – the home of the coffer-draining public sector employment opportunities! He found an advert for the role of Head of Diversity at the UK Film Council (a government-funded body) for £70,000 a year plus benefits. That would pay for two nurses or a pair of army sergeants – a far more worthy use of public money.
Meanwhile, news comes of a publication that’s issued to Treasury staff, which says, wait for it, it’s okay to make mistakes! In the 72-page Introduction to Stress Awareness and Management, which suggests deep breathing and yoga, the Treasury’s 1,400 workers are told that they must adopt the mantra that they should "allow themselves to make mistakes by recognising that sometimes they will make mistakes and it’s okay to make them". I despair.
I’d like to share some good news from the John Holt Cancer Support Foundation, one of the charities I worked with on Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire. The Warrington-based charity has been awarded a £22,500 grant from the Morgan Foundation, which gives money to groups that address specific community needs.
This money means the John Holt Cancer Support Foundation will be able to completely kit out its new premises. I’m really glad the charity is getting the recognition it deserves and I hope that, in some way, the exposure from Secret Millionaire has contributed to this. I know that everyone at the organisation worked really hard to qualify for this funding so I would like to say a big well done to everyone there.
After this week’s disappointment of the 0.1 per cent growth in the economy, which is supposed to mark the "end" of the recession, I have to say that this has really made my day.
Charlie Mullins launched Pimlico Plumbers in 1979 with just a bag of tools and a very old van bought at auction. It now has over 133 professional plumbers and a support team of around 35 staff, with a turnover of more than £15m.