In the news this week:
£45m on fake Roman spa- "Bath Council's attempt to build a modern answer to the city's Roman baths involved everything from the Three Tenors to mating mallards, but so far not one happy bather. The spa, initially due for completion in Easter 2000, remains unopened after leaking floors, legal wrangles, and allegations of council "blank cheques"...Fears of disturbing a nesting pair of mallards caused the first delay. Two weeks after Pavarotti sang, paint in the hot pools was peeling...The floor started leaking and all 274 windows needed replacing at a cost of £700,000...the original water filtration system had to be replaced at a cost of £91,000. The council-run project has more than trebled in cost to £45 million...and will cost more than five per cent on council tax in 2006/7 and every year thereafter." (Sunday Telegraph 7.4.06)
£212m extra for worse GP service- "Medical care at nights and weekends when GP surgeries are closed is a shambles with slow response times and escalating costs, according to a report by the National Audit Office. From January last year, responsibility for most out- of-hours cover was switched from GPs to primary care trusts, who frequently contract out the work to private companies. But the costs of the new service have risen by more than £200m, increasing the financial pressure on NHS trusts, and it is failing to meet its quality standards." (Independent 6.05.06)
£70bn on consultants- "..Labour will have spent £70bn of state funds on management and IT consultants by the end of its third term...an eye-watering number. Far more disgraceful than the size of the expenditure, however, is the scale of waste. In "a catalogue of catastrophes", the Government has tipped billions down the drain. Customs & Excise, for example, spent £28m on 300 consultants in two years with no identifiable benefits. And while the National Health Service is overseeing the closure of hospitals, it's still hiring consultants whose charge for a couple of weeks' work is not far short of what many nurses earn in a year." (Telegraph 5.5.06)
More overspend at £500m Scottish quango- "Scottish Enterprise ran up a £34m overspend on its 2005-06 budget of £500m by approving funding for too many projects, then failing to rein in...has asked ministers to plug a £60m hole in its budget this year." (Herald 3.5.06)
Total for week- £70,757 million.