Staff at axed Seeda receive £6m in payoffs

Daily Echo: Jeff Alexander Jeff Alexander

ALMOST £6m of taxpayers’ cash has been given to workers volunteering to quit a doomed regional quango.

One boss at the soon-to-be axed South East England Development Agency (Seeda) received a half-a-million-pound payoff for leaving the discredited Hampshire taxpayer-funded body.

Campaigners have reacted angrily to the revelation that a total of £5.7m of public money has so far been used to pay off 111 workers at the organisation.

Seeda was formed in 1999 to help boost business and stimulate job opportunities across the region, but earlier this year attracted condemnation after it was revealed it had spent almost £25,000 for every job it created in 2010.

Despite boasting a £245m annual budget it claimed only to have “created or safeguarded” 10,000 jobs.

The body has repeatedly been dogged by allegations of wasting money.

Seeda spent more than £17m on three offices between 2005 and 2010.

Its former boss, James Braithwaite, infamously spent £1,000 of taxpayers’ money per week on taxis and a personal driver.

The Government has now moved to axe all nine English regional development agencies by March, to be replaced by Local Enterprise Partnerships made up of business leaders and councillors.

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And already half of Seeda’s 220 workers have left and received redundancy payments averaging £51,000 each.

But one member of staff – believed to be £141,800-ayear executive director Jeff Alexander – received up to £500,000.

A total of 15 staff received packages worth more than £100,000.

Mr Alexander is understood to have taken early retirement, aged 53, in March last year. His payoff includes pension provisions, which gave him a lump sum of £51,000 and a further £48,000-a-year income.

Former chief executive Pam Alexander, who quit her £218,000-a-year role last month, is also understood to have received a huge payoff.

Robert Oxley, from the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said the redundancy payments are unjustifiable and called for the Government to step in.

He said: “The closure has been long overdue. It’s unacceptable for bosses at the agency to leave the taxpayer with a £6m bill for golden goodbyes.”

But Seeda said the payments are all in line with Government rules and payments made since December have been lower because of a change to those guidelines.

Chairman Rob Douglas said: “Seeda’s board has always sought to achieve value for money for the south-east, the agency and the taxpayer.

“This has been a difficult and challenging time for our staff who continue to work hard and with great professionalism.

I know that they are conscious of their reputation and are rightly proud, as I am, of the work they have done for the south-east.”

Comments (20)

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9:45am Tue 30 Aug 11

wishilivedabroad says...

what the heck is a quango?!?
what the heck is a quango?!? wishilivedabroad
  • Score: 0

9:53am Tue 30 Aug 11

Elgy says...

Paying them off is better value for money than keeping them in employment until retirement age though surely?
Paying them off is better value for money than keeping them in employment until retirement age though surely? Elgy
  • Score: 0

9:54am Tue 30 Aug 11

Ant Smoking MP says...

Who are the TPA? Who do they represent? They dont represent Tax Payers seeing the head of the TPA lives in France and doesnt pay Tax in this country.
Who are the TPA? Who do they represent? They dont represent Tax Payers seeing the head of the TPA lives in France and doesnt pay Tax in this country. Ant Smoking MP
  • Score: 0

10:42am Tue 30 Aug 11

StEmmosfire says...

Once again people getting rich off the back of failure.
Once again people getting rich off the back of failure. StEmmosfire
  • Score: 0

10:47am Tue 30 Aug 11

Maine Lobster says...

Ant Smoking MP wrote:
Who are the TPA? Who do they represent? They dont represent Tax Payers seeing the head of the TPA lives in France and doesnt pay Tax in this country.
If we are talking about non tax payers, let's think about the corporate non tax contributors and ultra rich UK nationals who live and/or register themselves in tax havens to avoid paying UK taxes and then get courted by various Governments,shall we?
[quote][p][bold]Ant Smoking MP[/bold] wrote: Who are the TPA? Who do they represent? They dont represent Tax Payers seeing the head of the TPA lives in France and doesnt pay Tax in this country.[/p][/quote]If we are talking about non tax payers, let's think about the corporate non tax contributors and ultra rich UK nationals who live and/or register themselves in tax havens to avoid paying UK taxes and then get courted by various Governments,shall we? Maine Lobster
  • Score: 0

10:50am Tue 30 Aug 11

Condor Man says...

Rewarded handsomely for failure, groups like SEEDA were a mess from the start. Far too many people have been lining their pockets out of tax payers money.
Rewarded handsomely for failure, groups like SEEDA were a mess from the start. Far too many people have been lining their pockets out of tax payers money. Condor Man
  • Score: 0

11:02am Tue 30 Aug 11

For pity sake says...

wishilivedabroad wrote:
what the heck is a quango?!?
Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisation. Do you know nothing? ;-)
[quote][p][bold]wishilivedabroad[/bold] wrote: what the heck is a quango?!?[/p][/quote]Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisation. Do you know nothing? ;-) For pity sake
  • Score: 0

11:04am Tue 30 Aug 11

Ant Smoking MP says...

Maine Lobster wrote:
Ant Smoking MP wrote:
Who are the TPA? Who do they represent? They dont represent Tax Payers seeing the head of the TPA lives in France and doesnt pay Tax in this country.
If we are talking about non tax payers, let's think about the corporate non tax contributors and ultra rich UK nationals who live and/or register themselves in tax havens to avoid paying UK taxes and then get courted by various Governments,shall we?
Totally agree!!
[quote][p][bold]Maine Lobster[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Ant Smoking MP[/bold] wrote: Who are the TPA? Who do they represent? They dont represent Tax Payers seeing the head of the TPA lives in France and doesnt pay Tax in this country.[/p][/quote]If we are talking about non tax payers, let's think about the corporate non tax contributors and ultra rich UK nationals who live and/or register themselves in tax havens to avoid paying UK taxes and then get courted by various Governments,shall we?[/p][/quote]Totally agree!! Ant Smoking MP
  • Score: 0

12:49pm Tue 30 Aug 11

Georgem says...

wishilivedabroad wrote:
what the heck is a quango?!?
http://lmgtfy.com/?q
=what+is+a+quango
[quote][p][bold]wishilivedabroad[/bold] wrote: what the heck is a quango?!?[/p][/quote]http://lmgtfy.com/?q =what+is+a+quango Georgem
  • Score: 0

12:52pm Tue 30 Aug 11

The Wickham Man says...

Ant Smoking MP wrote:
Maine Lobster wrote:
Ant Smoking MP wrote: Who are the TPA? Who do they represent? They dont represent Tax Payers seeing the head of the TPA lives in France and doesnt pay Tax in this country.
If we are talking about non tax payers, let's think about the corporate non tax contributors and ultra rich UK nationals who live and/or register themselves in tax havens to avoid paying UK taxes and then get courted by various Governments,shall we?
Totally agree!!
I enjoyed the pop at the head of the TPA - much deserved! But I'm glad that this story has prominence becuase it illustrates that senior public sector management pay and benefits have spiralled ludicrously out of control where it now costs less to keep some executives on the payroll until retirement rather than trying to make them redundant - even if they stay home and play golf for years! When their retirement day does finally come their index linked final salary pensions are so overgenerous that councils end up losing binmen and social workers to balance the books. That is the obscenity. If we didn't have so many retired civil servants, public sector managers and executives soaking up valuable taxes to keep them in unaffordable luxury and all pretending the crisis is nothing to do with them we would have a better welfare state with more jobs.
[quote][p][bold]Ant Smoking MP[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Maine Lobster[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Ant Smoking MP[/bold] wrote: Who are the TPA? Who do they represent? They dont represent Tax Payers seeing the head of the TPA lives in France and doesnt pay Tax in this country.[/p][/quote]If we are talking about non tax payers, let's think about the corporate non tax contributors and ultra rich UK nationals who live and/or register themselves in tax havens to avoid paying UK taxes and then get courted by various Governments,shall we?[/p][/quote]Totally agree!![/p][/quote]I enjoyed the pop at the head of the TPA - much deserved! But I'm glad that this story has prominence becuase it illustrates that senior public sector management pay and benefits have spiralled ludicrously out of control where it now costs less to keep some executives on the payroll until retirement rather than trying to make them redundant - even if they stay home and play golf for years! When their retirement day does finally come their index linked final salary pensions are so overgenerous that councils end up losing binmen and social workers to balance the books. That is the obscenity. If we didn't have so many retired civil servants, public sector managers and executives soaking up valuable taxes to keep them in unaffordable luxury and all pretending the crisis is nothing to do with them we would have a better welfare state with more jobs. The Wickham Man
  • Score: 0

12:54pm Tue 30 Aug 11

kevin007 says...

No wonder this country is in a mess with cash being thrown away like this its crazy someone must be held accountable
No wonder this country is in a mess with cash being thrown away like this its crazy someone must be held accountable kevin007
  • Score: 0

12:56pm Tue 30 Aug 11

Tony S says...

Ant Smoking MP wrote:
Who are the TPA? Who do they represent? They dont represent Tax Payers seeing the head of the TPA lives in France and doesnt pay Tax in this country.
The tax payers alliance are funded by volentary contributions. unlike our MP's.

MP's have failed to control Quangoss and thier vast spending whist in government and opposition.

Some of these MP's have also been on the Gravy Train. They have also been photographed with regional developmet agencies to share in the glory of n"new Jobs" without checking out the value for money.

My other bug bear is these financialy ineficient green investments that are only "profitable " because of EU grants or Electricity being bought at 3 times the commercial rate for the next 25 years. (This will be paid for by the poorer people who cant afford £15k for solar pannels, or those who dont own thier own building)
[quote][p][bold]Ant Smoking MP[/bold] wrote: Who are the TPA? Who do they represent? They dont represent Tax Payers seeing the head of the TPA lives in France and doesnt pay Tax in this country.[/p][/quote]The tax payers alliance are funded by volentary contributions. unlike our MP's. MP's have failed to control Quangoss and thier vast spending whist in government and opposition. Some of these MP's have also been on the Gravy Train. They have also been photographed with regional developmet agencies to share in the glory of n"new Jobs" without checking out the value for money. My other bug bear is these financialy ineficient green investments that are only "profitable " because of EU grants or Electricity being bought at 3 times the commercial rate for the next 25 years. (This will be paid for by the poorer people who cant afford £15k for solar pannels, or those who dont own thier own building) Tony S
  • Score: 0

1:10pm Tue 30 Aug 11

phil maccavity says...

Agree that SEEDA was a waste of money.
However their budget pales into insignificance compared to similar Quangoes elsewhere, particularly the North of England where Quango budgets were measured in billions of £ and money was frittered on obscure and wasteful projects
Agree that SEEDA was a waste of money. However their budget pales into insignificance compared to similar Quangoes elsewhere, particularly the North of England where Quango budgets were measured in billions of £ and money was frittered on obscure and wasteful projects phil maccavity
  • Score: 0

1:10pm Tue 30 Aug 11

wishilivedabroad says...

For pity sake wrote:
wishilivedabroad wrote:
what the heck is a quango?!?
Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisation. Do you know nothing? ;-)
clear as mud LOL :o
[quote][p][bold]For pity sake[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]wishilivedabroad[/bold] wrote: what the heck is a quango?!?[/p][/quote]Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisation. Do you know nothing? ;-)[/p][/quote]clear as mud LOL :o wishilivedabroad
  • Score: 0

2:19pm Tue 30 Aug 11

Sir Ad E Noid says...

QUANGO = A group of unelected nobodies who spend our tax money on spurious causes, and get paid handsomely, and when it goes to the wall they take a fortune in pay offs. A favorite of Government, especially the recent Labour Government and passed Tory Governments, that thankfully are getting thinned out by PM Cameron.
QUANGO = A group of unelected nobodies who spend our tax money on spurious causes, and get paid handsomely, and when it goes to the wall they take a fortune in pay offs. A favorite of Government, especially the recent Labour Government and passed Tory Governments, that thankfully are getting thinned out by PM Cameron. Sir Ad E Noid
  • Score: 0

2:21pm Tue 30 Aug 11

wishilivedabroad says...

Sir Ad E Noid wrote:
QUANGO = A group of unelected nobodies who spend our tax money on spurious causes, and get paid handsomely, and when it goes to the wall they take a fortune in pay offs. A favorite of Government, especially the recent Labour Government and passed Tory Governments, that thankfully are getting thinned out by PM Cameron.
Love it !
[quote][p][bold]Sir Ad E Noid[/bold] wrote: QUANGO = A group of unelected nobodies who spend our tax money on spurious causes, and get paid handsomely, and when it goes to the wall they take a fortune in pay offs. A favorite of Government, especially the recent Labour Government and passed Tory Governments, that thankfully are getting thinned out by PM Cameron.[/p][/quote]Love it ! wishilivedabroad
  • Score: 0

2:31pm Tue 30 Aug 11

kls192 says...

Don't be too quick to jump on the QUANGO bashing. Some may be wasteful and that should be addressed. However many do a valuable job such as protecting consumer rights and service user rights
Don't be too quick to jump on the QUANGO bashing. Some may be wasteful and that should be addressed. However many do a valuable job such as protecting consumer rights and service user rights kls192
  • Score: 0

5:07pm Tue 30 Aug 11

Sir Ad E Noid says...

You are right, not all QUANGOS are useless and a drain on the Tax Payer. But many, many QUANGOS hemorrhage money with no discernible benefit to you, me or the people they were set up to serve. Billions of pounds has been wasted over the years.
You are right, not all QUANGOS are useless and a drain on the Tax Payer. But many, many QUANGOS hemorrhage money with no discernible benefit to you, me or the people they were set up to serve. Billions of pounds has been wasted over the years. Sir Ad E Noid
  • Score: 0

6:21am Wed 31 Aug 11

Poppy22 says...

It's about time these public sector organisations realised they're tin-pot local/regional groups and they're not FTSE100 companies! And it just goes to show how no-one at the top in the public sector seems to have an ounce of business sense and definitely no respect for spending the public's money! Sack the lot of them and get existing workers doing the roles as part of their normal jobs and as projects. The public sector has become way too big for its own boots and too full of its own importance, with individuals concerned only with lining their own pockets. And get some HR experts in so that these huge payoffs aren't in contracts!
It's about time these public sector organisations realised they're tin-pot local/regional groups and they're not FTSE100 companies! And it just goes to show how no-one at the top in the public sector seems to have an ounce of business sense and definitely no respect for spending the public's money! Sack the lot of them and get existing workers doing the roles as part of their normal jobs and as projects. The public sector has become way too big for its own boots and too full of its own importance, with individuals concerned only with lining their own pockets. And get some HR experts in so that these huge payoffs aren't in contracts! Poppy22
  • Score: 0

11:38am Wed 31 Aug 11

Vonnie says...

wishilivedabroad wrote:
Sir Ad E Noid wrote: QUANGO = A group of unelected nobodies who spend our tax money on spurious causes, and get paid handsomely, and when it goes to the wall they take a fortune in pay offs. A favorite of Government, especially the recent Labour Government and passed Tory Governments, that thankfully are getting thinned out by PM Cameron.
Love it !
Totally agree. Too easy to tar all quangos with the same brush. Where would a lot of people be without quangos such as the Citizens Advice Bureaux, for example. The largest amount of their funding comes from Government Grants.
[quote][p][bold]wishilivedabroad[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Sir Ad E Noid[/bold] wrote: QUANGO = A group of unelected nobodies who spend our tax money on spurious causes, and get paid handsomely, and when it goes to the wall they take a fortune in pay offs. A favorite of Government, especially the recent Labour Government and passed Tory Governments, that thankfully are getting thinned out by PM Cameron.[/p][/quote]Love it ![/p][/quote]Totally agree. Too easy to tar all quangos with the same brush. Where would a lot of people be without quangos such as the Citizens Advice Bureaux, for example. The largest amount of their funding comes from Government Grants. Vonnie
  • Score: 0

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