Sunday, April 09, 2006

Recent Bonfires- 11

In the news this week:

£500m fiasco at Scottish Enterprise quango- "The £30m "overspend" is a symptom of an accounting system that even the best accountancy and business brains in the country have difficulty understanding. It was described by one source as an "Alice in Wonderland accounting system". There is widely-shared opinion that SE has become bloated and bureaucratic, that too many managers have been there too long and do not impress. "It is difficult to run an enterprise agency with people who are civil servants working towards their pension," said one former employee. "There are people in there who have forgotten what enterprise means." Critics believe it has lost focus, and some struggle to explain exactly what it does - it is time to wind it up and hand over its £500m. One insider said: "I could make your toes curl with the crap." (Scotsman 9.4.06)

£90m for NHS managers cars- 'SENIOR health managers and consultants are being provided with luxury cars including Jaguars, Mercedes and even Porsches at a cost of millions to the National Health Service. As hospitals across Britain face job cuts, new figures show that executives are receiving subsidies of up to £6,600 a year to lease cars that they can subsequently buy at a discount. All maintenance costs are included in the agreements, while some authorities and hospital trusts also cover the costs of insurance premiums. The bill for leasing the 35,000 cars for NHS staff is now close to £90m.' (Sunday Times 9.04.06)

£45,000 Blair expenses unaccounted for- "TONY BLAIR is facing questions over an apparent “black hole” in his parliamentary expenses after claiming more than £15,000 a year for his constituency home in Co Durham. In the past four years, about £45,000 of Blair’s expenses are not publicly accounted for." (Sunday Times 9.04.06)

£300m gift to French arms company- "UK taxpayers put more than £300 million into the development of Sonar 2087, a high-powered system capable of detecting even the quietest of enemy submarines. The device was developed by Thomson Marconi Sonar, a British-based company jointly owned by BAE Systems and the French firm Thales, but BAE sold its share in 2001 and Sonar 2087 became the property of Thales. Since the ownership now rests solely with the French, Thales is free to develop and sell as many sets as it wishes, not just to the French navy but across the world (and, if it wishes, to transfer hundreds of jobs from Britain to France). In other words, the UK taxpayers have made a free gift to Thales of more than £300 million." (Sunday Telegraph 9.04.06)

Total for the week- £890,045,000

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