Saturday, October 07, 2006

Recent Bonfires- 34

In the news this week:

History of pockets cost £140,000- "A Government quango which spent £140,000 of taxpayers' money to fund research into the history of pockets was accused today of "totally wasting" public funds on frivolous projects. The grant was awarded to Southampton University by the Arts and Humanities Research Council to study the topic over three years. Researchers used the cash to explore the history of the tie-on pocket, which were worn by women under their petticoats or aprons from the late 17th century. Their aim was to "bring them back into the public consciousness and to understand more clearly what they meant to the women who wore them." (Press Association 6.10.2006)

£3,000 grapes- "A wine-maker has accused the Government of a "colossal" waste of taxpayers' money after four officials were sent to his vineyard to pick 10 bunches of grapes as part of a European Union sampling exercise. Bob Lindo, an award winning wine producer in Cornwall, estimated that as much as £3,000 of public money was wasted. The team comprised two officials from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), a member of the Food Standards Agency and an inspector from the Wine Standards Board. "I can't think of any reason for four people to come down," said Mr Lindo."Clearly these people were just on a jolly down to Cornwall to enjoy a spot of grape picking at the taxpayers' expense. If you multiply salaries for two days, train fares, hotel rooms, breakfasts, lunches and dinners by four, it must have cost something in the region of £3,000 to pick a few grapes." (Telegraph 6.10.06)

£30,000 fried chicken fiasco- "TWO supermarket workers who were the subject of a £30,000 trial for allegedly stealing fried chicken thighs worth less than £2 walked free yesterday after a judge said they had no case to answer. Describing the decision to prosecute the two women as a waste of taxpayers’ money, Judge Mushtaq Khokar yesterday threw out the case at Manchester Crown Court. He criticised the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for repeatedly ignoring his advice to reconsider the prosecution. The Judge said : "Here are two ladies who to all intents and purposes can be treated as having good characters. There does not seem to be anything that can be thrown at them which would make the charge brought against them stick. We are talking about £1.84. Is it really in the interests of the public and taxpayers that we spend two days trying to sort this out?” ( Times 7.10.06)

£2m on useless red lines in Solihull- "Solihull's MP has slammed the latest red route to be introduced to the borough as a 'waste of taxpayers' money'. Lorely Burt asked for the cost of the Lode Lane/Blossomfield Road/ Marshall Lake Road scheme and discovered it cost £2 million, three times more than any other red route in the borough. Mrs Burt said: "Whilst some of the safety improvements are welcome, they are totally outweighed by the unnecessary waste of taxpayers' money by painting red lines and festooning the streets with notices to solve a problem which doesn't exist. I have never seen a car parked on Lode Lane unless it has broken down." (Solihull News 6.10.06)

BBC puffs cost £76.1m pa- "Yesterday, BBC One revealed its new channel “identity” in a £1.2 million rebranding campaign. The eight 30-second films, costing £150,000 each, feature surfers, stunt motorbike riders, kite fliers and hippos, whose activities converge in the shape of a spinning circle — or a globe, to older viewers. A further seven films, known as “idents”, will be produced, taking the total budget of the campaign to £2.25 million. The new campaign is more expensive than the dancers series, which cost £700,000 for six films. The glossy new films feature exotic locations... The surfers were filmed at Puerto Escondido in Mexico, with cameras mounted on jet skis. Another film, known as Moon, was shot on the Kamenjak peninsula in northern Croatia and features a group of people in fishing boats piecing together a giant moon on the horizon... Last year the BBC spent £76.1 million on on-screen promotions, marketing, consumer research and publicity — more than the annual programming budget for Radio 4." (Times 27.9.06)

Total for week: £78,273,000

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