Sunday, November 05, 2006

Recent Bonfires- 38

Cutting NHS emissions

In the news this week:

Carbon trading costs NHS £5.8m- "Hospitals have lost nearly £6 million since a controversial Government scheme to cut carbon emissions was introduced. The chaos caused to essential public services by Labour's participation in the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme is revealed in a series of emails and documents released under the Freedom of Information Act. One of the big losers was North Glasgow, whose four hospitals lost nearly half a million pounds. Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley lost £284,390, the Queen Elizabeth Medical Centre in Birmingham £347,349, and Leeds Royal Infirmary £175,000. Twenty-two hospital trusts lost a six-figure sum while a dozen more lost between £50,000 and £100,000. When it was launched last year, carbon trading was trumpeted as a way to curb the damage big business does to the environment. But the oil company Shell has made £49.9 million selling its unused allocation and BP has made £43.1million, while public bodies are struggling to break even." (Sunday Telegraph 5.11.06)

£91,000 pa (not) to change lightbulbs- "HOW many overpaid union officials does it take to change a lightbulb? Just one if you are lucky enough to work for the bright sparks at Birmingham City Council. For they are paying "signals operative" Ian Smith a bloated £71,000 salary topped up with £15,000 "stand-by" and £5,000 overtime bonuses - even though he has been off sick for 12 months. Residents were furious last night when they learned his official job was just to change street LIGHTBULBS. However, Mr Smith is believed not to have gone "on the road" for years because he is a full-time convenor for Amicus". (Mirror 1.11.06)

£10,700 for more dud streetlights- "COUNCIL chiefs bungled a major street lighting scheme at a busy York junction - by failing to provide electricity. The project to install the lights in Haley's Terrace, York, cost taxpayers £10,700 and caused massive traffic disruption in the area. But, more than nine months later, the lights are still to be switched on because the order to contractors was "lost or misplaced" to equip them with a power supply. Rectifying the bungle will cause further disruption to pedestrians and motorists because the road would have to be dug up again." (York Press 1.11.06)

£20m BBC overspend- "The BBC has been accused of wasting money on a grand-scale after it was revealed that plans to give its most famous building a lavish face-lift are now £20m over-budget and over two-years behind schedule. Corporation chiefs are now facing claims that the no-expense spared project on Broadcasting House is in danger of becoming a "white-elephant" at a time when the BBC wants a massive hike in the licence fee. The project, which was initially meant to cost £813m, covering both construction and development costs, is now running "approximately £20m ahead of the original plan" according to the corporation. Officials cannot say how much the project will now cost." (This Is London 30.10.06)

Another £400,000 on "art"- "More than £400,000 was spent last year buying art for government offices and embassies - including a bill in excess of £130,000 for experimental and abstract art in the new Home Office headquarters... The art for John Reid's headquarters includes a five-metre high revolving structure with green neon lights, commissioned for £35,000 from Gary Webb, and a film entitled Elliptical Returns by Runa Islam, for £35,000. This consists of a screen submerged in water creating abstract patterns of coloured light." (Independent 5.11.06)

Total for week: £26,311,700

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