Sunday, March 18, 2007

Recent Bonfires 57

If only stardust alone was enough...

In the news this week:

£40bn pa on NHS cost inflation- "Billions of pounds of taxpayers' money pumped into the National Health Service has gone on improving the salaries of GPs and consultants and paying for increased pensions rather than on improvements in patient care and frontline services. A damning report by the highly respected health think-tank, the King's Fund, reveals that productivity in the health service has actually declined, despite the huge injection of cash. The report reveals that only 30 pence in every pound of the Government's record NHS budget has been aimed at directly improving patient care. As well as salaries, the rest has gone on a growing bill for clinical negligence payouts and rising drug costs. The government has increased spending on the NHS by £57 billion since 1997." (70% of £57bn= £40bn; Observer 18.3.07)

£150,000 for NHS interview rooms- "The NHS is spending thousands of pounds to hold job interviews with junior doctors in luxury hotels, football stadiums and even at a racecourse. Meeting rooms in hospitals have been shunned in favour of expensive external locations which include the Reebok Stadium, home to Bolton Wanderers, and Newmarket Racecourse... Interviews in eastern England are being held over seven days at Newmarket Racecourse's Rowley Mile conference centre, where rooms cost from £140 to £2,100 a day. In Cardiff, interviews will be at the five-star Hilton hotel, where conference rooms cost up to £550 a day. The London deanery has spent a total of £150,000 on holding its interviews, including the hire of rooms at the four-star Holiday Inn, in Regent's Park, northwest London." ( Sunday Telegraph 18.3.07)

MOD gives away £300m- "The National Audit Office has delivered a damning indictment of the role of the Ministry of Defence in the privatisation of Qinetiq, accusing it of allowing the management of the defence research group to reap "excessive" rewards. In its draft report into whether taxpayers got a fair deal from the disposal, the public spending watchdog concludes that the MoD failed to seek professional advice on the incentive scheme that was put in place when Carlyle, the US private equity house, acquired a one-third stake in the business in 2002... Carlyle, which paid just £42m for its initial stake, raised some £160m from selling a part of it at flotation. Earlier this month it sold the rest, raising another £140m... The biggest winner has been Sir John Chisholm, the chairman, who paid just £129,000 for a holding that was worth a potential £22m at the time of Qinetiq's flotation last year. Graham Love, Qinetiq's chief executive, paid £106,000 and emerged with a holding that was worth a potential £18m." (160 + 140 - 42 + 22 + 18 = c£300m; Sunday Telegraph 18.3.07)

£40m pa asylum merry-go-round- "THOUSANDS of asylum - seekers who pocketed Government bribes to quit Britain are heading back to the UK - to claim a second helping. Last year alone, more than 6,000 foreigners were handed up to £3,000 each plus a plane ticket to leave. But under barmy Home Office rules, there is nothing to stop them returning to ask for asylum AGAIN in the hope of grabbing another bundle of taxpayers' cash. The "free money" scandal costs Brits more than £40million a year in payouts, air fares and admin costs.... At least 300 people have already been caught returning to Britain to try to get another pay-off under their real names. And the Home Office has no idea how many more have sneaked back into the country with NEW identities. Incredibly, 200 of the 300 who were nabbed were later allowed to stay in the country." (People 11.3.07)

Total for week- £40,340,150,000

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