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Friday, February 10, 2012 

The new fat cats (or nice work if you can get it).

Nice as it is to see the Daily Mail getting stuck into A4E and Emma Harrison, their splash is overly kind to both her and the company she set up. Rather than it being just the bulk of the £8.6m she awarded herself coming from the state coffers (her salary being topped up by the dividend paid out, 87% of which went to herself), the entirety of it did, as A4E's CEO Andrew Dutton confirmed to the public accounts committee yesterday. All of the company's £160-180m turnover derived from government contracts, with Margaret Hodge noting that it effectively owes its existence to the taxpayer. The Graun's piece incidentally doesn't even feature in today's paper, bizarrely.

Stephen Hester can at least make an arguable case that he's steering RBS in the right direction; Harrison's firm by contrast missed its target of getting 30% of those going through the Pathways to Work scheme back in employment by a significant margin. The committee suggested it had only achieved 9%, although the company last night rebutted that and said the true figure was 24.2%. Either way, it didn't achieve what was expected of it. And yet A4E was still awarded a significant proportion of the Work programme contract, while Harrison herself has been made the "troubled families" tsar. Still, good to know that while those on the programme are used as cheap labour for supermarkets and high street retailers Harrison is getting rewarded for failure, isn't it?

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