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February 09, 2006


Mark T

When Gordon Brown countered Tory proposed tax cuts of allegedly £35bn saying we would have to fire every teacher, every doctor and every nurse to pay for them, I did wonder where the other £480bn went. I guess this is a start.


Gosh, I think that this post must be easily the worst that I've seen on your estimable blog. Failing to spend my money on the instructions of an international rent-a-crook organisation is mass murder? It's a bigger scandal to buy a few pot-plants than to lavish money on electronics and software that don't work, the former of which needlessly puts the life of our troops at risk. Bollocks, Sir, utter bollocks.


What a daft thing to say. You might as well say that spending on holidays by Britons is mass murder.

Even in the examples which you are say are the real scandal without further information I don't quite see why it's considered so out of the ordinary. Buying pot plants is not waste, all offices have pot plants. Presumably the Damien Hurst is not valueless, in fact the price of Damien Hursts has been rising. Should all British embassies sell their paintings? And most companies buy drinks for their staff from time to time, so without further details I don't even see what is so disastrous there. Unwise maybe, but that's a different thing.

The example I have seen most, the RAF member retraining as a lap-dancer, seems to me to be a very prudent use of the taxpayer's money if reports of her earnings now are correct. In any case most firms offer retraining grants, and unless it is illegal I don't see how you can stop her doing that.

Hawk Eye


The Taxpayers Alliance has done an excellent job in documenting £82 billion in Government waste. This ought to be a national scandal and the Conservative Party says nothing about it.

The best chapter in the Book is the one on The European Union (Pages 143 to 164) – best read when in a calm mood!

The shocking extent of MEPs' perks and benefits was exposed in the book for the first time. The information in the book is based on official documents issued to MEPs and staff leaked from the Council of Presidents of the European Parliament. European Parliament Members can claim expensive benefits and perks from spa treatments and acupuncture to mud baths and hydrotherapy - all paid by taxpayers. Among the freebies worth thousands a year, the most ludicrous come under "medical expenses".

MEPs and their families are each allowed up to 60 sessions a year of a combination of medical massage, medical gymnastics, traction, mud baths, hydromassage and hydrotherapy and may also claim 60 sessions of electrotherapy and 30 sessions of "aerosol" and "beam" therapy, plus 80 per cent off costs of 21 days' "thermal cure" at a spa.

The medical perks come on top of pay, pensions and expenses already enjoyed by MEPs.

The Britain has 78 - each estimated to cost taxpayers £2.4million a year. GREAT VALUE!

On top of salary, they can claim a "daily subsistence allowance" of £185 a day as well as all travel costs to and from the European Parliament.

How anyone can support the European Project after reading this still baffles me!

Another good chapter was on Public Sector Pensions (Pages 138 to 140). We are, of course, still paying for public sector employees even when they stop not working for us. It is a scandal. Because at the same time, there are now an extra 700,000 public sector pensions to pay since 1997, and with bigger pay packets to boot, it means the taxpayer has to fork out for a bigger pensions bill.

Official estimates put the current value of tomorrow's pension promises at £460 billion (March 2004). The actuarial profession as at March 2005 puts it nearer to £690 billion. But even these figures may need to be revised. A study by the Institute of Economic Affairs has found that the government has public sector pension liabilities of £817 billion, well above previous estimates.

So for those in the private sector, as the value of their own pensions fall, they will have to pay more tax to bail out public sector schemes. Council tax bills are already rising, partly to plug deficits in local authority schemes.

There is a pensions time bomb but politicians bury their heads in the sand like ostriches.

By that time the responsible politicians will have long since retired on a comfortable taxpayer-provided and index-linked allowance.

This book should be read all politicians before entering Parliament and especially George Osborne and David Cameron before they go any further down the road of no return.

All taxpayers should be proud of the work done The Taxpayers Alliance.


The following is a list of the SOME of the WORST examples (There are others!) of government waste and the money that could be saved on them.

Axing half of quangos: Quangoland costs at least £22.74bn a year. John Reid promised to half the number of NHS quangos to save £500m. If the same principle were applied to all quangos, taxpayers could save more than £11bn.

Overspend: Government overspent its budget for 2004/5 by £7.1bn.

Retirement age conditions: Aligning the retirement age and pension provision of public sector workers with the private sector would save £7bn.

Central government administration: The government is spending £21.3bn on administration in 2005/6, up more than 40% since 1998/99. During that time, prices have gone up 14%. This 26-point difference captures the £5.54bn of inefficiency and inflation-busting pay rises.

Abolishing the DTI: The LibDems say the Dti is a waste of money and are calling for its abolition, saving £5bn.

Unnecessary incapacity benefit: A third of the country's 2.7m Incapacity Benefit claimants could work immediately. This would save taxpayers' £4bn of the total £12bn bill.

Inefficient local government procurement: The CBI says councils are wasting at least £3bn a year because they are not squeezing value for money out of contractors.

Fraud and error in the benefits system: The NAO says fraud and mistakes in the benefits system cost taxpayers £2.6bn a year. Labour MP Frank Field believes that the real figure could be as high as £7bn.

Network Rail's inefficiency: Rail Regulator said that more than £1bn of Network Rail's annual spending was work "that the company does not need to do" and that £1.5bn could be saved "by eliminating waste and inefficiency."

Overspend on NHS IT: The NHS national programme for IT will cost up to five times the previously stated cost of £6.2bn. The total bill could hit £30bn, overspend of £2.38bn a year for 10 years.

British subsidy to overseas farmers: Britain's net contribution to the EU budget is £4.3bn a year. About 45% of the budget is allocated to the CAP, which means that over £1.9bn of British taxpayers' money went to overseas farmers.

Public sector IT projects: Public sector IT expenditure is in excess of £12.4bn. Assuming just 10% of this is wasteful spending, £1.24bn could be saved.

The growing cost of government regulation: The Government spends £12bn a year regulating our lives and businesses. If all government regulators tightened their belts by 10% taxpayers could save £1.2bn.

Overpayment of benefits: Over £1.1bn is owed to the Department for Work and Pensions.

State sector absenteeism: Public sector employees take an average of 10.7 days off sick a year, against only 7.8 in the private sector. The total cost of state sector sickness is £4bn so the extra time taken off costs taxpayers £1.084bn.

john kerry

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