Sunday, November 19, 2006

Recent Bonfires- 40

In the news this week:

Olympics cost hits £8bn- "Public support for the 2012 Olympics is in danger of draining away because costs are likely to reach an astonishing £8 billion, according to a devastating report by members of the London Assembly... The £8bn figure is considerably higher than the £5bn revised budget for the event produced just last week... Brian Coleman, the Assembly chairman and a Conservative member, said last night: 'We were told the £2.4bn figure was robust and rigorous. It turns out that it was a back-of-the-envelope fantasy job. The question now is: who pays?' Assembly members yesterday said they fear that London's Games could end up being the most expensive ever." (Observer 19.11.06)

£40 per hour for yobs' media training- "Teenage criminals are receiving media training – costing up to £40 an hour - in a police campaign to improve the public's perception of young people. About 25 serial and former offenders, aged 13 to 17, sit on the 100-strong Essex police youth forum, which advises officers on how to tackle youth offending. Sergeant Ian Carter, programme manager of the £1.3m Proactive Essex Police Youth Strategy (Pepys), said the media training would help to tackle "misperceptions" among adults about young people and anti-social behaviour." (Sunday Telegraph 19.11.06)

£53m wasted on deathtrap army taxis- "The four soldiers killed in Basra last week... were not on "a routine boat patrol", as the MoD claimed. They were being transferred up the Shatt al-Arab waterway, from one British HQ to another, in "water taxis". This is because we have no transport helicopters for this purpose and no vehicles sufficiently protected against roadside bombs to transfer them safely by road.... The MoD could have supplied our troops in Basra with mine-protected RG-31s, as used with similar lifesaving success by the Canadians in Afghanistan. But instead of paying £280,000 apiece for the RG-31s they had on trial in 2003 (and could by now have in service in Basra), the MoD preferred to spend £413,000 each on 401 highly-vulnerable Italian-made Panthers, which in any counter-insurgency would be useless [413,000-280,000 x401= £53.3m]... It has preferred to spend billions equipping our forces to play their part in a fantasy "European army" of the future rather than spend very much less to equip them for the real wars they are actually having to fight now. (Sunday Telegraph 19.11.06)

Livingstone's Venezuela debacle cost £29,637- "KEN Livingstone has revealed his stop-over in Cuba and aborted trip to Venezuela cost Londoners a "modest" £29,637. The mayor was left stranded in Cuba last week after Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez said he was "too busy" electioneering to sign an oil deal. Livingstone and his four officials stayed in Havana for six days at a cost of more than £13,146, including £11,086 on flights, £1,530 on accommodation, £132 on meals, £195 on transport and £202 on phone and internet lines. Another four officials flew directly to Venezuela at an estimated cost of £16,491, including £12,948 on flights." (This is Hertfordshire 14.11.06)

Total for week: £8,054,329,637

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