Sunday, March 26, 2006

Recent Bonfires- 9


In the news this week:

£10m to fund unions- 'Millions of pounds of taxpayers' money is being used to fund the trade unions. The Union Modernisation Fund is giving up to £10 million to pay for computer projects and other initiatives. Cash was awarded to the train drivers' union Aslef to create a website, to Amicus to "improve the communication efficiency of branch secretaries", to the RMT transport union to create "a web-based membership system" and to the TUC for development and testing of "an online support system". The Transport and General Workers' Union was given money to establish a migrant workers' support unit. Alan Duncan, the shadow trade and industry secretary, claimed that it was a "payback" for the unions' funding of the Labour Party. During 2005, £11 million, more than half of Labour's £21 million funding, came from the unions. "With deals like this, no wonder so many suspect money buys influence over policy." (Sunday Telegraph 26.3.06)

Brown's £56bn wasteful spending spree- 'SURGING public-sector inflation and tumbling productivity in the government sector are costing the UK economy at least £56bn a year in wasted resources, a devastating analysis reveals...The same volume of government services could have been provided for some 21.5% or £56.2bn less in 2005, if public ­sector productivity and price discipline had matched that in the private sector. This is over and above any waste that already existed in 1997 and therefore means the total squandered in the public sector is likely to be tens of billions a year higher. David Smith, chief economist of Williams de Broë, said: “Any private-sector finance director who had increased his expenditure budget by almost 66% between 1996-97 and 2005-06, or from £313.2bn to £519.6bn, at a time when the price level rose by 15%, and then had the temerity to ask for more, would be dismissed out of hand, not promoted to chairman of the board.” (The Business 26.3.06)

£4m on BBC art- 'From pavement poetry to cones of light, BBC chiefs are spending more than ever on...public art ...which will set licence fee payers back more than £4m. The most expensive work...costing more than £1.6m...is a paved floor inscribed with lines of latitude and longitude and names of places and regions across the world. Barcelona-based Spanish artist Jaume Plensa....at a cost of £897,000... has built a 33ft inverted cone that will sit on the roof of Broadcasting House through which a light will be beamed 3,000 ft into the night sky. Ellis Woodman, of the magazine Building Design, described it as the 'most misconceived public artwork in London since the Queen Mother's gates'. (Observer 26.3.06)

This week's total: £56,014 millions

PS Another £23,000 blown on posh BBC party- 'Marco-Pierre White's Criterion restaurant was the scene for a £23,000 Christmas party held by the BBC for some of its highest-paid radio stars. While the corporation undergoes swingeing budget cuts, it still found £238 a head to wine and dine Radio 2 DJs including Terry Wogan, Clive Anderson and Jeremy Vine, which has angered BBC staff and listeners alike. News of the party leaked out when the Radio 2 disc jockey Sarah Kennedy boasted on air about the evening, which did not cost her a penny." (Telegraph 27.2.06)

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