Saturday, 24 August 2013

The Grand Fromage

There has been a certain amount of poo being thrown in the direction of the largest fan by the Canal and River Trust. Once more displaying a sensitivity and awareness of the thoughts and wishes of a significant group of waterways users. The boaters. Boaters who contribute 30% of the income of the trust. The 'fallout' to give it another name has ruffled the feathers of a sizable contingent of boaters. What was the 'merde' that came in contact with the fan so to speak. A comment about boaters from John Dodwell CaRT Trustee pretty well sums it up. "They [the boaters] produce not far off 30% of the gross income. But boats do not pay their way." 

I purchased a boat and in doing so, gave a significant financial commitment to the waterways for the foreseeable future. A commitment where I would hope I have some recognition from the Canal and River Trust. 
Not only that but I pay a significant amount as a boat licence fee to the Canal and River Trust, I think that bestows some sense of having a right to be consulted and recognised in issues concerning the Inland Waterways. That seems to go up now at inflation plus two percent.
I also pay a mooring fee to the Canal and River Trust, I happen to think that bestows some concept of rights as well. A mooring fee that goes up and up every few months. 
I have committed to continue to pay those charges for however long I own a boat or keep it on CaRT waters. That commitment in itself must be worth something. Or does it.
I also as a boater pay for bank side services that contribute to CaRT's various income streams. Even if it is only for a pump out or when I contribute for the electrical supply I consume from a bollard.  Both of which have gone up by a significant amount that bears no resemblance whatsoever to inflation figures.
I am, like most of the population above a certain age a taxpayer.  I think that should also bring with its some notion of rights. The same rights as every other tax payer.

I am aware that cyclists no longer have pay for a permit to use the towpath but as taxpayers I acknowledge they also contribute. Walkers, ramblers and those who see the towpath as a dog latrine, as taxpayers they also contribute. Fishermen however pay the Environment Agency for a licence, but they also contribute as tax payers. Fishermen may also add additional contributions as day or season permit holders for sections of canal and river. However, as a fisherman you can apply for a disability concession rod licence if you have a Blue Badge parking concession or receive Disability Living Allowance. There are as far as I am aware no concession licences for leisure moored boats for anyone with a disability  I am also not aware of any state benefits for leisured moored boats. This may be the case for residential boaters. So compared to walkers, ramblers, cyclists and certainly fishermen we could be depending upon our circumstances be at a disadvantage.

There are many various interests that will want to have a say in the dispersal of CaRT funding. Environmentalists, heritage and history groups, wildlife groups, the list goes on. I wonder if there will be a reciprocal arrangement where boaters can allocate funds of the various wildlife charitable organisations. Many of those interests will only have a minimal per capita payment into the system. I wonder what the actual contribution figure is per year, for each person in the country. It would be interesting to have such a figure as a bench mark for allocating rights.

The mid 2012 estimate for the population of the united kingdom was 63.1 million head of population. The CaRT figure for the grant in 2013 is £156 million. So thats around £2.44 per head of capita.
But there is one long term caveat, as a taxpayer my commitment is time limited. Because one day in the not so distant future, I shall no longer be paying the significant sum of  £2.44 a year as a taxpayer. 

As we all know, the Canal and River Trust will have secured a good financial status by then. I'm sure that Ruth Ruderham could assure us of the financial future from her projections. Maybe one day we will see licences abandoned because the cash flow is so good. Free moorings in marinas because the cash flow is going to allow such recognition of the roles of boaters in achieving such status. I can live in hope! 

Otherwise the directors will walk away, marking the end of their commitment to the inland waterways. Their reward will either be OBE or some other way of marking their passage. Like a good pension, now that is a given! The question is, does my commitment to the inland waterways as a boater confer more rights. Well I for one think so. Should those rights be recognised or ignored. That is someone elses choice to make.

So how well has the dash for punters cash, (also known as 'fleece a friend') gone in the first year? Invested £1.8 million with a mind blowing return of £900,000 which is a significant benchmark for CaRT's future performance.

Chief Executive (Richard Parry) salary in the range of £175,000 to £200,000. Finance Director (Philip Ridal) pay between 70% and 80% of Chief Executive salary circa £140,000 to £160,000. Operations Director (Vince Moran) pay at a similar 70%-80% £140,000 to £160,000. Marketing and Fundraising Director, (Simon Salem) £120,000 to £140,000. Thats about £660,000 and counting.

That leaves corporate services director (Nigel Johnson) pay at a similar 70%-80% £140,000 to £160,000. Performance related pay scheme with a maximum of 15% for all director. Last but not least property director (Stuart Mills) pay at a similar 70%-80% £140,000 to £160,000. Property Director will have the potential to earn up to 30% of salary in the performance related pay scheme. So that's around £980,000 plus up to 15% extra (£147,000) as a bonus. A real eye watering sum but is it value for money at £1.127 million. So 'fleece a friend' has not raised enough to pay the salary of those who dream up such schemes.

I don't expect any significant change in attitude in the foreseeable future.  But you can bet there will be a change in the size of the 'grand fromage' individuals pension pot. There will be a change in the size of the 'grand fromage' bonus pot. If you listen very carefully, shush a moment, can you hear that faint noise. Thats the sound of the trustees gently sleeping.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please put your name to your comment. Comments without a name may automatically be treated as spam and might not be included.

If you do not wish your comment to be published say so in your comment. If you have a tip or sensitive information you’d prefer to share anonymously, you may do so. I will delete the comment after reading.