Sunday, April 22, 2007

Recent Bonfires 62

We know you've got an unauthorised apple core in your wheelie bin

In the news this week:

£150,000 for envirocrime snoops- "A council is paying plain-clothes snoopers £30,000 a year to track down homeowners who put their rubbish out at the wrong time of the week or in the wrong place. The 'envirocrime' officers are employed to enforce environmental regulations and have the power to fine residents who 'offend'. Ealing Council in West London is spending nearly £150,000 on recruiting and employing four new enforcement patrollers to add to its 23-strong team that already monitors 'waste disposal' regulations." (Mail on Sunday 22.4.07)

Wrong army helicopters cost £150m pa extra- "The dismal story of how our Army in Iraq is given the wrong equipment continues. To carry out a range of vital tasks, from surveillance to providing air taxi services, its only helicopters are six Lynxes, designed for use in northern Europe, hopelessly unsuited to hot conditions and continually breaking down. Much more appropriate to the job in every way would be Bell 212s (known as Hueys), which are very much cheaper and more reliable, suited to the heat, carry more people and are used by the US, Iraqi and other armies... A Lynx costs £23,000 an hour, a Huey £2,000. At 100 hours a month operating time, this means we are spending around £150 million a year more than necessary, to provide our troops with much less efficient aircraft." (Sunday Telegraph 22.4.07)

£600,000 for bird-flu turkey firm- "THE turkey firm at the centre of the bird flu outbreak has been awarded almost £600,000 in compensation – despite making serious hygiene blunders. The Government authorised the payment to Bernard Matthews yesterday for the 159,000 turkeys slaughtered in an effort to contain the crisis in February. Yet it comes as questions continue to be asked about the company’s role in the spread of the disease. An official report published in the aftermath of the outbreak identified serious lapses in hygiene on the Holton site in Suffolk... Inspectors at the plant found a leaking roof, holes in a turkey shed made by rats, ­seagulls feeding on scrap meat and loose polythene bags containing waste liquid. But last month the Food Standards Agency announced there was “insufficient evidence” to prove the company had broken the law.The decision not to prosecute paved the way for yesterday’s payout of £589,356." (Express 20.4.07)

Scottish Executive spending £68m on ads- "Ministers are planning to spend up to £68m of taxpayers' cash a year on advertising campaigns, a sum that would for the first time outstrip Tesco, which spends about £67m... The entire Scottish advertising industry is worth about £480m a year, meaning the Executive will pump in anything from 10% to 14% of the total. But evidence is mounting that the Executive's numerous campaigns on television and radio have precious little effect. A £510,000 anti-racism campaign, which started in 2003, failed to stem an increase in racist attitudes. A review even found an increase from 21% to 25% over the course of the campaign in the number of people who believed that verbally attacking asylum seekers who get housing and benefits in Scotland was justified. Analysis of another campaign, this time directed at drug driving, found that many of the audience surveyed could not remember what it had shown or said. A recent £13m healthy eating campaign encouraged Scots to call a special hotline for advice. The line had so few takers that the cost to the Scottish taxpayer was £115 per call." (Scotsman 22.4.07)

Directgovkids "rights" site cost £2.2m- "Step aside MySpace: there is a new groovy website in town. The catchily titled DirectgovKids has been provided for children aged five to 11 by the Department for Education and Skills (DfES). The aim, according to the Government, is to help children "understand the society they are growing up in", and also, of course, "to support the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and contribute towards meeting Every Child Matters targets". Thanks to this website, every British primary school child can now enjoy fun quizzes on "kids' rights" or vital lessons such as "How to win votes", and "Naming a police dog" which advises: "Snowflake: I wonder how many of you knew the term Snowflake is sometimes used among the Afro-Caribbean community in quite a different way?" However, some commentators are proving stubbornly ungrateful after it emerged that the project cost £2.2 million of taxpayers' money." (Sunday Telegraph 22.4.07)
Total for week- £221,050,000

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