Get lost, Chris Moyles

His cherished salary is just what is wrong with the BBC

For years, since I was exposed to BBC Radio 1 by cooler fellow students, I have thought that Chris Moyles is exactly the sort of supposed "talent" that the misguided, extravagant and bloated BBC is so wrong to bankroll. His entirely forgettable, amoral ramblings are not just pointless but mean that there is so much less music on the station when he is in behind the microphone. He is the wannabe trendy BBC at its worst, and I prefer "More Music, Less Talk" Magic FM.

As I put to Mark Thompson in a recent interview, single mothers on council estates, say, find it quite hard to pay the license fee, and it needs to be carefully spent. Thompson argued that if you want the best, you need to pay for the best.

From the interview:

Asked how [spending] can be justified to, say, a single mother on a council estate struggling to pay the bills, Thompson pauses and then says: "That is true and important. The BBC is owned and paid for by the British public, many of whom are living on small incomes.

"The licence fee is a significant expense, and it is very important that every penny of it is spent wisely. At the same time, you know, most people outside the UK and probably most people inside the UK want the BBC to be the world's greatest and best broadcaster. It costs us billions of pounds to be that."

So, is "every penny" of Chris Moyles's salary "spent wisely"? It's certainly a lot of pennies, as he is said to be paid some £600,000 per year. No wonder he is so put out by a computer problem meaning he temporarily missed out on two months' salary: £100,000 is what the average person around five years to make.

Here are a couple of the nicer things he said in a characteristically foul-mouthed tirade on his "show":

I am very, very angry, I can't tell you how furious I am. I haven't been paid since the end of July and no one cares about it. No one is bothered.

...It is a two-way street and what annoys me is that I mentioned it to people this week. Fix it.

Moyles has since said he is "bemused" that the rant has caused a row.

And the BBC's response, according to the Mirror:

The BBC said: "It is a computer glitch. His payments are being processed." A Beeb source insisted his salary could even be in his bank before he starts his show today.

Phew. That's a relief. Thank goodness for that.

How about another suggestion: let's correct the "glitch" by making it permanent, so that Moyles -- who once told a caller from Newcastle "You've got three kids from some fuckin'..." -- can stop being funded on the back of harder working and more deserving people than him, and take his "talent" to where it will sink or swim in the private sector.

UPDATE: You can donate to poor Chris Moyles via this Just Giving site.

James Macintyre is political correspondent for the New Statesman.
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Stability is essential to solve the pension problem

The new chancellor must ensure we have a period of stability for pension policymaking in order for everyone to acclimatise to a new era of personal responsibility in retirement, says 

There was a time when retirement seemed to take care of itself. It was normal to work, retire and then receive the state pension plus a company final salary pension, often a fairly generous figure, which also paid out to a spouse or partner on death.

That normality simply doesn’t exist for most people in 2016. There is much less certainty on what retirement looks like. The genesis of these experiences also starts much earlier. As final salary schemes fall out of favour, the UK is reaching a tipping point where savings in ‘defined contribution’ pension schemes become the most prevalent form of traditional retirement saving.

Saving for a ‘pension’ can mean a multitude of different things and the way your savings are organised can make a big difference to whether or not you are able to do what you planned in your later life – and also how your money is treated once you die.

George Osborne established a place for himself in the canon of personal savings policy through the introduction of ‘freedom and choice’ in pensions in 2015. This changed the rules dramatically, and gave pension income a level of public interest it had never seen before. Effectively the policymakers changed the rules, left the ring and took the ropes with them as we entered a new era of personal responsibility in retirement.

But what difference has that made? Have people changed their plans as a result, and what does 'normal' for retirement income look like now?

Old Mutual Wealth has just released. with YouGov, its third detailed survey of how people in the UK are planning their income needs in retirement. What is becoming clear is that 'normal' looks nothing like it did before. People have adjusted and are operating according to a new normal.

In the new normal, people are reliant on multiple sources of income in retirement, including actively using their home, as more people anticipate downsizing to provide some income. 24 per cent of future retirees have said they would consider releasing value from their home in one way or another.

In the new normal, working beyond your state pension age is no longer seen as drudgery. With increasing longevity, the appeal of keeping busy with work has grown. Almost one-third of future retirees are expecting work to provide some of their income in retirement, with just under half suggesting one of the reasons for doing so would be to maintain social interaction.

The new normal means less binary decision-making. Each choice an individual makes along the way becomes critical, and the answers themselves are less obvious. How do you best invest your savings? Where is the best place for a rainy day fund? How do you want to take income in the future and what happens to your assets when you die?

 An abundance of choices to provide answers to the above questions is good, but too much choice can paralyse decision-making. The new normal requires a plan earlier in life.

All the while, policymakers have continued to give people plenty of things to think about. In the past 12 months alone, the previous chancellor deliberated over whether – and how – to cut pension tax relief for higher earners. The ‘pensions-ISA’ system was mooted as the culmination of a project to hand savers complete control over their retirement savings, while also providing a welcome boost to Treasury coffers in the short term.

During her time as pensions minister, Baroness Altmann voiced her support for the current system of taxing pension income, rather than contributions, indicating a split between the DWP and HM Treasury on the matter. Baroness Altmann’s replacement at the DWP is Richard Harrington. It remains to be seen how much influence he will have and on what side of the camp he sits regarding taxing pensions.

Meanwhile, Philip Hammond has entered the Treasury while our new Prime Minister calls for greater unity. Following a tumultuous time for pensions, a change in tone towards greater unity and cross-department collaboration would be very welcome.

In order for everyone to acclimatise properly to the new normal, the new chancellor should commit to a return to a longer-term, strategic approach to pensions policymaking, enabling all parties, from regulators and providers to customers, to make decisions with confidence that the landscape will not continue to shift as fundamentally as it has in recent times.

Steven Levin is CEO of investment platforms at Old Mutual Wealth.

To view all of Old Mutual Wealth’s retirement reports, visit: products-and-investments/ pensions/pensions2015/