Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Waste Meters Still Running

Updates this morning on three old favourites:

1. Defra Airmiles- The department that likes to lecture the rest of us on cutting greenhouse emissions continues to clock up the airmiles:

"In the past financial year, Miliband's staff at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have clocked up fees of more than £1.75m on airline travel. According to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, nearly £1m of that figure was spent on flights outside the EU, an increase of two thirds on the previous year. Around £255,000 of it was spent just on flights within the UK."

We've blogged the dire Defra many times- see here for its nomination as Britain's very worst government department. The big increase in travel outside the EU is presumably down to its Great Ape Film Initiative.

2. NHS training bungles- We've paid for their training- £250,000 each in the case of doctors- but now the money's run out, our newly qualified doctors and nurses can't find NHS jobs:

"Thousands of young doctors could be driven abroad in a £ 1.4billion brain drain because of a critical shortage of jobs. The British Medical Association fears Government reforms could leave 11,500 doctors without the specialist training posts needed to advance their careers. This could prompt a mass exodus of doctors who may leave the NHS to work abroad or quit medicine altogether."

Yes, of course we understand the BMA is a trade union and they would say that wouldn't they. But as we blogged here, this situation is a classic of boom and bust public expenditure management, and it's only too familiar to students of Big Government fiscal policy. Recruitment was cranked up far too rapidly, necessitating wholesale recruitment from overseas. The jobs are now filled by those recruits (some of them dubiously qualified, not least in terms of language), so its our own guys who have to emigrate. Fantastic.

3. Miners compensation- This half-baked scheme is still proving a sensational little earner for the lawyers who've got their snouts wedged firmly in the trough:

"Nobody would have guessed it, but the UK's richest lawyer lives not in the leafy streets of North London, but in Warrington. In August The Lawyer revealed that Andrew Nulty, senior partner at Avalon Solicitors, took home a profit of £13m in 2006. £14.4m of its £21.2m turnover came from the controversial coal health compensation scheme."

We blogged this particular outrage here, and we're relieved to note that someone is finally taking action. It's not the government of course, but the Law Society, who are concerned lest we get the impression all lawyers are money-grubbing oligopolists exploiting the poor ignorant public. And according to the Lawyer, Mr Nulty himself is now facing "an alleged charge of actual bodily harm".


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