Sunday, April 23, 2006

Recent Bonfires- 13

In the news this week:

NHS pay and transport blunders cost £635m- "The Department of Health has admitted that it miscalculated the cost of new contracts for nurses by £220 million and for consultants by £90 million, in addition to the £300 million overpayment on salaries for GPs. It can also be revealed how £25 million of taxpayers' money is being spent by hospitals on taxis to ferry patients around - a figure that has trebled over the last five years. In some areas, cabs are used for round-trips of more than 100 miles, costing trusts hundreds of pounds. David Hobbs, an Essex taxi driver, said he was "making a mint" driving NHS patients. "They waste so much money it's unbelievable." (Sunday Telegraph 23.4.06)

£20,000 on Blunkett country retreat- "DAVID BLUNKETT has disclosed he is living at taxpayers’ expense on one of Britain’s grandest landed estates, even though he has a home just 15 miles away in Sheffield. Blunkett, who also has a mortgaged home in London and until earlier this year enjoyed the use of a grace-and-favour property in the capital, has claimed more than £20,000 for a country retreat on the 35,000-acre Chatsworth estate in the Peak District." (Sunday Times 23.4.06)

£3m pa for prison dentist- "A SOUTH coast dentist is receiving up to £3m a year from the NHS — and channelling payments to an offshore firm. Richard Marques, who runs two dental surgeries with his two brothers, is paid by the NHS for looking after his patients in Weymouth and for dental care in prisons. NHS income for the Weymouth practice is sent to a company which documents suggest is based in the British Virgin Islands. “These dentists have hit a goldmine,” said one source with knowledge of the practice. Marques’s brother confirmed the prison service work was worth about £2m a year." (Sunday Times 23.4.06)

The ambassador blows another £294m- "A GRANDIOSE mansion in Moscow and a 16-bedroom residence in Washington have become the showpieces of a “stealth” European Union diplomatic service. The houses are part of a growing property portfolio housing a cadre of “ambassadors”, who include Tim Clarke, the brother of the home secretary, and John Bruton, the former Irish prime minister. As Britain and other nations sell prime sites and slim down their diplomatic presence, so Brussels has almost doubled its spending. Its diplomatic budget rose from £168m in 2001 to £294m in 2005. The grandest residence is in Washington. Built for a steel and railway tycoon, it has 16 bedrooms, a grand dining room, and a hall of polished marble. At the back lies an Italianate garden, complete with palisade and classical statues in bronze. In late April, with summer approaching, blossom from the ambassador’s cherry trees drifts across the uncovered surface of the swimming pool....Most of those who sit down to dinner, cooked by the ambassador’s Belgian chef, are trade officials and lobbyists." (Sunday Times 23.4.06)

This week's total- £932,020,000

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