Tag Archives: Seb Coe

How much is Seb Coe paid?

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How much is Seb Coe paid for fronting up the Games? I should preface the following remarks by saying that I have no objection in principle to the idea that he should be paid something. He is not (in contrast to his fellow London Organising Committee (LOCOG) board member Lord Moynihan) a third-tier sportsman who has been over-promoted solely for reason of past service to the Tory party. Coe, who received his peerage before the Olympic bid, did of course also have a long and undistinguished career with the Conservatives, but he is where he is primarily because he is an Olympic gold-medallist and a multiple world-record-breaker, and the former holder of one of the greatest world records of all time (the 800 metre record set at Florence which lasted until 1997). By all accounts he works very hard indeed; and it seems generally accepted by people who followed the process closely that the 2005 speech he made to the IOC was instrumental in swinging the Olympic Games London’s way.

Seb Coe controls a large organisation with a significant budget. I would consider him at least as socially useful (say) as the head teacher of a large secondary school, or the vice chancellor of a modest university, and if the total amount of money that he was set to make from the Games was comparable to other public sector managers of that standing, I would see no reason in posting about it. But he is being paid rather more than that:

First, Seb Coe draws from LOCOG an annual salary of £357,000 p/a (2010-2011). This is determined by LOCOG’s remuneration committee, attended by Coe and five other LOCOG committee members. It met just twice in 2011. (The details of this salary are available in LOCOG’s accounts).

Second, according to his entry in the House of Lords Register of Interests, Coe has a a number of paid directorships, etc:

  • Non-executive Director, AMT-Sybex Group Ltd (which sells software to energy and transport businesses)
  • 0800 Reverse Limited 0800 Reverse Ltd (this appears to be a company marketing a “Battleship”-style gambling game)
  • Consultant, Chelsea Football Club
  • Speaking engagements (4 of these in the last 12 months) (Coe markets himself as a public speaker and can be booked through The Edge agency for c£10,000 per evening (Dwain Chambers gives the figure in his autobiography). This is relevant to Coe’s public activities, because the topics he speaks to (Leadership, The Art of Winning, Formulating the Perfect Team) relate to his present, publicly-funded role as Chairman of London 2012, not his past life as a private athlete.)
  • Seb Coe Health Clubs – Jupiter Hotels (he owns a number of health clubs in Leeds, Bolton, Kidderminster, etc)
  • Special Adviser, Nike International

According to the Register, Coe pays all remuneration from these sources into a company The Complete Leisure Group Limited of which he is the Sole Director.

The Complete Leisure Group appears to be a successor to “Seb Coe Ltd” (see below).

Tax

There is also the interesting question of whether he has been paying tax at the correct amount.

Just concentrating on Seb Coe Ltd first.

What the above figures appear to show is that in the two years in question (1 Jan 2007 – 31 Dec 2008) Coe was paid (ie received into his bank accounts) a total of £634,754.

Of this he has declared (just under) £20,000 as profit, and paid tax only on this smaller figure.

How did he do this? In 2008 Coe spent £41,760 on administering this company (i.e. presumably his accountant’s fee, and maybe some other similar disbursements), but in 2007 his “administrative expenses” were a whopping £587,359.

In essence, these administrative expenses have been set against both year’s income, turning a series of very high salaries into a very low profit.

It would be interesting to know why the administrative expenses were so much higher in one year than another. To my untrained eye (and as a non-accountant), the higher figure gives every appearance of an artificially generated tax loss.

I’ve attached the full accounts here for 2008 so that readers can read them for themselves. If there is a benign explanation, please do set it out in the comments box.

Now, when Seb Coe Ltd became the Complete Leisure Group here was a considerable change in the accounting model, which now confirms to those of a larger and more complex business than anything I’ve seen at first hand. Just to give one indication of its size, one of the business’s acts in 2010 was to write off £3 million in capital:

It “may” be that this figure of £3 million corresponds broadly to the real salary that Coe is now paying himself; but I’d be lying if I pretended to have the knowledge of high-end accounting to say this with any conviction.

I’ve attached the full accounts here for 2010; comments invited in the box below.

The neo-liberal Games; Newham teenagers banned from central Stratford

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Thanks to the Newham Monitoring Project for circulating the news that the police have applied for, and obtained, a dispersal notice, banning groups of people from congregating in “Stratford Town Centre, including the Magistrates’ Court, the main transport hubs in Stratford and the areas along West Ham Lane commonly known as the West Quadrant”.

In a previous life (well, 6 months, actually) as a criminal barrister, I had frustratingly extensive experience of how dispersal notices were used elsewhere in London by the Met – which is, is the name suggests , to”disperse” any groups (i.e. 2 or more people) of teenage children, doing anything. Inevitably, the children who lived in the vicinity of the dispersal notice, would be stopped again and again from such terrible anti-social behaviour as – walking down the streets, going into shops, riding bicycles, etc.

As dispersal became a habit, there would be friction between the children and the PCSOs (who, being cheaper to hire than ordinary police officers, seem to have the actual job of implementing the dispersal zone). PCSOs would go into secondary schools, to get the names of the children. And in double quick time, full ASBOs would be sought against them. Within a month, say, of the original dispersal order,  there would be application to the Magistrates Courts for ASBOs containing curfew orders (banning named children from leaving their homes after say 5pm), exclusion orders (banning them from any part of the estate on which they lived), etc, etc. Within 3 months, there would breaches, and the children would be in detention.

Dispersal orders are not intended to stop protesters or demonstrators (this is done under distinct powers found in the Public Order Act), nor indeed adults, perhaps because the police officers and the Magistrates recognise that an off-duty police officer or Magistrate might not be distinguishable from any other member of the community. This is rather all about banning teenage children from the streets.

And we can be more specific still: no-one is seriously suggesting that tourists should be banned from taking their children to Statford tube station, the Westfield shopping centre, or the Olympic stadium. Nor are there any calls to ban the teenage children of Seb Coe, or any of the other Olympic administrators, whose rights to shop at Prada and Jimmy Choo are a central priority of the Olympic organisers and of the police.

Rather, this is about turning central Stratford into a “Green Zone”, where children will be allowed so long as they are nicely-scrubbed, properly dressed, and identifiably middle-class. Should they look like the children of the poor, multiracial borough that is Newham; they can confidently expect a PCSO to move them on.

This is the message of Seb Coe and the London Organisers to the people of Newham: your sort aren’t welcome here.

Jeremy Hunt’s Olympics

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It is a late summer evening, and the Leader settles into the back seat of the Olympic BMW which the Games Organisers have kindly provided. He or she is Kabila perhaps, or Mugabe, or Myanmar’s Thein Sein. Beside the Leader sits a senior official, whose task is to protect the Leader from any unwelcome publicity. “We will be meeting the British in half an hour”. “The Queen?”, the Leader asks with a smile. “No, the Minister in charge of the Olympics, a Mr” (the official searches through his papers, “Hunt”. “I have read about him”, the Leader responds sourly, before asking, “now … should I let myself be photographed shaking his hand?”

Most British politicians in the past decade have been willing assistants to the Murdoch empire; it takes a special character to be caught so flagrantly in the act.

2012 wasn’t supposed to be like this. For the Right Honourable Jeremy Hunt MP it was meant rather to be a glittering step on the way to high political office. At the start of March, the Telegraph was still tipping Hunt to be a future Leader of the Conservatives, and the minister would not have blushed when the paper described him as enjoying the “best job in government”.

Hunt’s main priority, in that interview, was to stake a personal claim to credit for the Olympic Games, in which his department of course has barely any role whatsoever, save for oversight and scrutiny of the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG), that fantastic quango, which has been able to turn £2 billion of public money (its original budget) into £11 billion of public money (its present spend) and counting.

Hunt’s Department, far from restraining Coe, Moynihan and their chums, has done everything in its power to shield LOCOG from criticism – playing the same “old pals” game, that he was previously playing with Murdoch’s BSkyB bid.

This is how Hunt described his Department’s role in preparing the Games, “We have put a huge amount of thinking into what we call, in the organisation of the Games, ‘the last mile’. It’s basically the distance between whatever public transport you arrive on and actual entry to an Olympic event, and we want to make sure that it’s as clearly sign-posted and as pleasant an experience as possible.”

And this Hunt speaking about his own role in the Games: “I am obsessed not by what people say about me now, but what people will say about what I’ve done in office when they look in 10 years’ time. The curse of modern politics is that too few politicians get to leave a real legacy. If I could deliver a fantastic Games for the country, along with people like Seb Coe, who are doing such a fantastic job; if I could deliver super-fast broadband to most of the country by the end of this Parliament; if I’m able to help bring in a new era of local TV companies; and if we can weather the most incredible financial storm since the Second World War, then I’ll be able to look back on this period and feel incredibly proud of what I’ve done.”

Local TV companies: whatever Hunt does, this is not going to happen. (The plan will break on the centralising tendencies of the British economy, which for the past 30 years have been dragging resources and talent, repeatedly, to London).

End of recession: it will happen. All recessions in history have ended. Parts of the country (the richest 1%) have never even been in recession. If you look at the balance sheets of the FTSE 100, the companies are cash rich. The only distinctive thing about this recession is that the very rich have used it to take more money out of the majority’s pockets than any previous recession since 1914.

Faster broadband will happen (Moore’s law) whatever Hunt does or doesn’t do.

The only interest in all this guff is Hunt’s reflection on the Olympics which he modestly describes himself as leading “along with people like Seb Coe”.

I have many criticism of Coe, some of which I’ve written about previously, others of which I’ll post about over future weeks. But Coe is working on the Olympics full-time, which is likely to mean 60-70 hours a week. As for Hunt … I’ll be surprised if the Olympics have taken up as much as an eighth of his workload. He is not the Games’ organiser nor their planner. He is supposed to be the gatekeeper, a role he has singularly failed to play. He is not the organ-grinder, he is barely even the monkey.

Meanwhile, David Cameron (whose constitutional role includes upholding the Ministerial code, and ordering investigations when it is breached) has proposed that a decision as to whether or not to investigate Jeremy Hunt should be taken only after he has been before Leveson at the end of May. But Leveson is making an inquiry into the future of the media, and has no role at all to consider breaches of the ministerial code. Hunt is a barely a sideshow to the inquiry (this is one reason why Murdoch was asked so little about him).

So Cameron’s initial decision is that Hunt – arguably one of the worst of all the wretched ministers this country has suffered in the last thirty years – may be investigated, but not before the summer at the earliest, by when (Cameron no doubt hopes) press coverage will have turned elsewhere.

Assuming Hunt survives, we will return to the spectacle of the Olympics: the Murderers meeting Rupert’s Apprentice. If I was Kabila or Mugabe I would shake Hunt’s hand and smile in admiration.

That Olympic Legacy: Sunday Trading

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I’ve posted before about the Olympic promise: “To demonstrate that the UK is a creative, inclusive and welcoming place to live in, to visit and for business.” An early sign of how the Olympics will change Britain, came with George Osborne’s announcement last week that Sunday trading laws will be relaxed for eight weeks over the summer.

The Sunday Trading Act 1994 (as heavily amended) prohibits Sunday opening for more than 6 hours altogether between 10am and 6pm. While at one stage, the legislation limited the powers of businesses to make workers work on Sundays; in practice all that is left is a restriction on big businesses’ ability to force small businesses out of the market. “We’ve got the whole world coming to London – and the rest of the country – for the Olympics,” Osborne was quoted as saying. “It would be a great shame – particularly when some of the big Olympic events are on Sunday – if the country had a closed for business sign on it.” But if people are watching the Olympics, they’ll be at the games, not in Tesco.

This isn’t aboutmaking life easier for tourists, or shoppers generally. There is no bolder vision than to recreate Britain afterwards as a place where businesses can trade without taxes or responsibilities.

That Olympic Legacy: G4S

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In the Olympic bid, five promises were made regarding the long-term benefits of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games:

1. To make the UK a world-leading sporting nation
2. To transform the heart of East London
3. To inspire a generation of young people
4. To make the Olympic Park a blueprint for sustainable living
5. To demonstrate that the UK is a creative, inclusive and welcoming place to live in, to visit and for business.

One business indeed set to do very well from the Olympics is G4S (previously Group 4), probably still best known in the UK for its cornering 20 years ago of the market in transporting prisoners between court and detention. 

G4S will generate £284 million in turnover from the Olympics. According to the company website: “As the Official Security Services Provider for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games we will be working alongside the police, local authorities, venue and London Organising Committee Olympic Games (LOCOG) volunteer workforce to provide a range of security solutions including:

•           Search and screening 

•           Perimeter protection 

•           Mobile and river patrol protection 

•           CCTV monitoring 

•           Command & control”

 The company as a whole reports trading as follows:

Annual turnover £7 billion

Annual profit £300 million

Highest paid director’s salary: £1,656,000

Increase over last 5 years: 22.12%

Among the non-executive directors Lord Condon (previously Metropolitan Police Commissioner) alone trousers £125,000k p/a as a non-exec director – i.e. for presumably less than a full day’s work a week. 

Condon has not been the only prominent person on G4S’s payroll. The company has a track record of offering jobs to washed-up former politicians: John Reid from New Labour and Norman Fowler, in a previous generation.

No doubt they have considered offering Seb Coe a similar sinecure post-Olympics.