Sunday, March 04, 2007

Recent Bonfires- 54


Worth £450 grand of anyone's money


In the news this week:

Another £200m on temps- "Spending on temporary staff by Whitehall has run up a bill of £200 million over the past four years at a time when the Government is supposed to be firing thousands of civil servants. The surge in the use of expensive agency staff has sparked criticism that the efficiency review launched by Gordon Brown, the Chancellor, is no more than "smoke and mirrors". Some departments are now hiring twice as many agency staff as they did before the cost-cutting initiative was launched two-and-a-half years ago. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport spent £1.2 million on temps during 2005-6, compared with £452,000 in 2003-4. The Department for Constitutional Affairs hired 24,439 temporary staff last year - 80 per cent more than two years before. And in the past two years alone, the Immigration and Nationality Directorate - part of the Home Office - has spent nearly £60 million on agency staff." (Sunday Telegraph 4.3.07)

£450,000 to rename Passport Agency- "THE Passport Service has spent almost half a million pounds of public funds – just to change its name. Renaming it the Identity and Passport Service cost £450,000, Home Secretary John Reid has admitted. This is the latest in a series of huge outlays just to alter names or logos on initiatives and agencies linked to the Home Office.And it comes two months after Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott caused fury by spending more than £1,300 on a new office sign, stationery and website." (Express 26.2.07)

£63,000 Riviera trip- "Regional development agency One NorthEast has committed itself to spending up to £63,000 leading a delegation of property professionals for a four-day conference on the French Riviera. The agency will "underwrite" the costs of leading a delegation of 12 regional property firms and local authorities to the MIPIM conference in Cannes next month... The conference... has become a byword for excessive spending of taxpayers' money after John Prescott booked a £5,000-a-night hotel suite last year." (icNewcastle 28.2.07)

£3,000 Barcelona trip- "A GROUP of senior Royal Bolton Hospital managers is to travel to Barcelona for a three-day conference at a cost of almost £3,000 - despite hospital bosses preparing to axe 95 jobs to balance the books... Last April, hospital chiefs sent a nine-strong team on a £9,000 trip to America to look at best practices in Wisconsin, just days after announcing 130 job cuts and the loss of 68 beds." (This is Lancahire 2.3.07)

£300,000 early retirement- "A SENIOR local government official is to be paid more than £100,000 in taxpayers' money on top of a £200,000 retirement package after convincing councillors to make him redundant. John Lindsay, the chief executive of East Lothian, persuaded his council to abolish his department... Mr Lindsay, 59, who would have been entitled to retire this year anyway, told councillors they must make him redundant "on grounds of efficiency". The Labour leader of the council has confirmed that this payment will be the maximum available under a scheme just adopted by the council - a sum of more than £130,000. That will be paid on top of his pension of £55,000 a year and a lump payment of £155,000." (Scotsman 01.3.07)

£7m to sort Dome invoice fiasco- "Lord David James, who was called in to sort out the Dome's finances after it opened seven years ago, recalled a phone call from a businessman whose firm had worked on the Dome and was receiving a £100,000 cheque every month. "I said: 'What do you get it for?' He said: 'Well, we couldn't balance our invoices so the Dome CEO agreed we could have £100,000 a month to keep us going and we would sort the invoices out later'." Lord James said he later had to spend £7 million on experts to deal with £35 million worth of unresolved invoices. He said similar blunders must be avoided at the Olympics." (Mail 3.3.07)

Total for week- £207,816,000

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