Sunday, October 22, 2006

Recent Bonfires- 36

Your choice mate

In the news this week:

£300m pa to remove tattoos: "THE National Health Service spent millions of pounds removing tattoos last year... doctors carried out the procedure, involving either skin grafts or lasers, on 187,063 tattoos. Even conservative estimates of the cost of removing a small tattoo under anaesthetic on the NHS put the bill for 2004-05 at £37m, but some consultants suggested a figure of £300m. Because tattoos penetrate under the skin, removing them is expensive. The tattooed area must be cut out and skin grafted over the gap. Removing tattoos with skin grafts in the private sector can cost £1,000-£2,500. Laser surgery costs from a minimum £200 to more than £2,500... Earlier this year a health trust in Manchester agreed to spend £2,500 removing the tattoos of Tanya Bainbridge, a 57-year-old transsexual. The former merchant seaman, previously called Brian, claimed the large tattoos on her forearms were “not ladylike.” (Sunday Times 22.10.06)

£55m pa blown on bungled prosecutions- "POLICE officers and prosecutors are accused of an “alarming” catalogue of bungling and inefficiency leading to delays in magistrates’ court cases that cost taxpayers £173 million a year. Hundreds of cases collapse each day because of poor administration and incompetence, MPs on the Commons Public Accounts Committee say. Blame for nearly a third of the money wasted in delayed trials can be laid on the police and the Crown Prosecution Service, which have jointly incurred £55 million in wasted costs, it has found... Most delays caused by the CPS are avoidable — files are mislaid or not updated owing to poor case tracking; insufficient time is allowed to prepare cases; and inadequate prioritisation of cases means that urgent action is not completed before the next hearing." (Times 19.10.06)

£1bn Child Support Debt written off- "A PROMISE to track down more than £1 billion owed to thousands of single mothers by absent fathers has been abandoned by the Government. Ministers will change the law to authorise the Child Support Agency to write off debts where there are “limited prospects of recovery”. The decision means that about 130,000 single parents will never see an average of £14,000 in unpaid maintenance. Critics say that the CSA has already given up on many cases. Buried in the small print of the agency’s most recent accounts, it classified £1.9 billion of its £3.5 billion debts as “probably uncollectable”. In many cases that means that the CSA has lost track of the errant father. It has a poor record of keeping tabs on absent parents and has no powers to require people to inform them of a change of address." (S Times 20.10.06)

£1.10p for convicts to play scrabble- "VIOLENT and disruptive prisoners are being paid by the Prison Service to play Scrabble, look after fish tanks and learn the guitar. Offenders with a long history of causing trouble in prisons are being paid to undertake a range of activities in a “jail within a jail” at Whitemoor top-security prison. A Prison Service spokesman said “Prisoners in close supervision are encouraged to take part in constructive activity and, through a cashless system [worth £1.10 a session], they can buy approved items within the prison.” (Times 18.10.06)

Total for week: £1,355,000,001.10

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