Monday, April 09, 2007

Recent Bonfires 60


In the news over Easter-

£100 grand plus on MPs' Olympics junkets- "With the budget of the London games in 2012 already three times the original estimate, politicians are sending the costs higher still by embarking on overseas junkets to countries which have previously hosted the event... The most active group is the Culture, Media and Sport Committee... Over the past 10 months it has visited Beijing, Seoul and Athens. Visits are planned to the United States and Canada in June. All the trips have used the 2012 Olympics as part of the justification for going. MPs John Whittingdale, Janet Anderson, Philip Davies, Mike Hall, Alan Keen, Adam Price, Adrian Sanders and Helen Southworth visited Seoul in South Korea and Beijing in China last summer on a trip costing up to £66,404. A visit by the committee to Athens last December cost as much as £17,558. A budget has been agreed by the Commons liason committee for this summer's North American visit, however Commons authorities have yet to disclose it, although it is predicted to be between £35,000 and £40,000." (Telegraph 9.4.07)

PFI debacle cost £27.5m- "USING private finance deals to pay for major public projects was questioned yesterday, after... the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) approved the £27.5 million buy-out of West Lothian College's Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract. Six years ago, the college became the first in Scotland, and just the second in the UK, to be built using PFI. But in 2005, the Scottish Parliament's audit committee warned that the college faced an £11 million budget shortfall as it tried to meet its PFI payments over the next 20 years. Late last year, the Scottish Executive backed the SFC's recommendation that the college's PFI contract be bought out. Sue Pinder, the principal and chief executive of West Lothian College, said the PFI contract "did not offer the college the flexibility" it required." (Scotsman 3.4.07)

Another £16.75m for miners compensation lawyer- "A lawyer at the forefront of a £7.5 billion Government compensation scheme for sick miners has been unveiled as the highest-earning solicitor in Britain. Jim Beresford, 59, took home £16.75 million last year, while his only other partners, his daughter, Esta, 29, and long-term associate Doug Smith, 50, shared £3.7 million. The family firm, based in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, has been a major player in settling the compensation claims of miners made ill by their years underground. Figures released by the Department of Trade and Industry show that Beresfords was one of only 30 firms to share nearly £800 million-worth of litigation fees... The high earnings contrast sharply with the actual pay-outs to 58,000 miners, who received less than £1,000 each. Of these, almost 4,000 banked less than £100 each." (Telegraph 10.3.07)
Total for week- £44,350,000

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