In the news this week:
£3.2 bn on NHS cost increases- "Of the £3.6 billion cash increase in 2005/6 for the hospital and community health services in England, 87% was absorbed by higher pay and other cost pressures. This has left around £475 million (1.1 per cent over 2004/5) for other developments - such as meeting waiting time targets" ( King's Fund 3.2.2006; we blogged it here)
£2bn on overpriced warships- "The Royal Navy's six new Type-45 destroyers are armed only with one, French-built air defence missile system, whereas we could - like the Australian Navy - have paid £350 million less for a US-designed destroyer, built in British yards, and fitted with a surface missile system and anti-submarine capability as well as anti-aircraft missiles. In...pursuit of the Ministry of Defence's "buy European rather than American" policy, UK taxpayers will end up paying some £2 billion more than necessary, for a much less capable ship." ( Sunday Telegraph 5.2.2006)
£334m on government PR- "Government advertising...is now campaigning to regulate the minutiae of daily life. A television commercial warns of the risks of undercooking the Christmas turkey, while a leaflet reminds holidaymakers to keep out of the midday sun. Next up is a poster campaign against dropping chewing gum in the street. With a budget just for advertising of £165m in 2004-5, the Central Office of Information (COI) is the third biggest advertiser in the UK. Under Labour, total spending on government marketing, which also includes mailshots, PR and sponsorship, has tripled since 1997 to £334m." ( Sunday Times 5.2.2006)
£4.4m on dud movies- "The UK Film Council...has invested millions of pounds of taxpayers' money and lottery grants in a series of box-office flops. 2003 romantic comedy 'The Republic of Love' swallowed up £1,022,222 of lottery funding but failed to secure a release in Britain. 'Ape' received £178,000, and Tomorrow La Scala, which received £205,000, both failed to secure a cinematic release. The French language film 'The Intended' received £1,150,000...and made just £4,528." The top eleven turkeys cost us £4.4m ( Sunday Telegraph 5.2.2006)
Total for the week- £5.5 billions.
PS No I don't know why we British taxpayers are subsidising foreign language films either- we also apparently subbed 'Downfall'. Subsidising any film is bad enough.