Monday, January 28, 2008

Latest State Blunders

Tax-funded blunder propaganda

When we began BOM three years ago, there were some days when the newsflow on government waste was quite thin. No longer. These days, the torrent of failure is difficult to keep up with. Here are four items that caught our eye today:

1. £1bn nurses desert NHS

"Thousands of nurses are leaving the NHS in search of better pay and working conditions abroad. More than 10,000 nurses and midwives left to work abroad in 2006-07, leaving the NHS just a few years from a staffing crisis, the country’s top nurse said.

Nearly 35,000 nurses - enough to staff the entire health service in Wales – have emigrated in the past four years. During the past three years there has been a 75 per cent rise in the number of nurses leaving for Australia alone, data from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) suggests."

In 1997-98 only 3,400 went to work abroad. And since, as we blogged here, it costs around £30,000 to train a nurse (excluding any costs incurred in training placements in hospitals etc), losing 35,000 is flushing well over £1bn down the drain.

What we're seeing is the good old public sector boom and bust cycle. When NHS spending was ramped up from 2000 onwards, thousands of new posts were created- far more than could be filled by newly trained British nurses.

So nurses had to be recruited from all over the world, many of them having pretty poor English (check them out in any NHS ward). British training places were simultaneously ramped up, but- doh!- the money then ran out.

So our newly trained British nurses couldn't get jobs.

So they are going abroad.

We've seen these boom and bust cycles many many times. But our revolving cast of clod headed this-time-we're-sure-we've-got-it-right politicos somehow never learn anything.

2. Another broken NHS promise

Health Minister Lord Darzi has admitted what we all knew- Labour's commitment to ending mixed sex NHS hospital wards will never be delivered.

"The only way we're going to have single-sex wards within the NHS is to build the whole of the NHS into single rooms.

That is an aspiration that cannot be met."

NHS dentists and single sex wards were two touchstone issues in Labour's NHS manifesto. They've spent the money alright- an extra £0.3 TRILLION so far- but they've totally crapped out on delivery.

3. Cost of migrant crime

Hard on the heels of those Romanian Fagin gangs:

"Britain's highest ranking black policeman has warned the Home Secretary his force is struggling to cope with an immigrant crimewave. Kent chief constable Mike Fuller told Jacqui Smith "migration surges" had contributed to an increase of more than a third in violent crime over five years to 7,800 incidents in 2007."

This echoes last September's comments by Cambridgeshire's Chief Constable. She pointed out that new migrants often arrive with "different standards" from the native population, requiring much more intensive and expensive policing.

Indeed, all over the country police forces are facing a rising tide of migrant crime. The following table shows the huge increase in arrests of foreigners by various forces between 2003 and 2007. In the Met area arrests have soared from 21,000 to 35,000 - a 63% increase.

In particular, new migrants seem much more prone to using criminal violence. As the Times recently reported:

"Most murders in London this year were committed by foreigners. Of 47 killings between April and September where the nationality of the accused is known, 26 of the suspects — 55 per cent — are not Britons... There is growing evidence that new immigrants to Britain are killing and being killed."

The government is still in denial about all of this, but as we blogged here, immigrant crime is probably now costing us somewhere in the range £3- £10bn pa. In addition foreign prisoners are occupying 14.3% of our valuable jail places (end 2006).

And remember, according to our politicos, we need all these migrants to make us better off.

4. Cost in space

We've blogged the EU's grandiose and totally unnecessary £2.5bn Galileo satnav system several times (eg see here). Just before Christmas the Commons Transport Committee issued a damning report demanding we pull the plug. The government has refused on the grounds that although it's bonkers, Britain is powerless to stop it.

As the Register puts it:

" on Galileo: We can't stop it, just sign the cheque. Orbital gravy train off the rails.

HM Ministers say the other nations pretending to object to Galileo were merely holding out for more of the pork; and that they don't mind having UK taxpayers' money appropriated, even if the UK disagrees... it doesn't really matter whether Galileo is worthwhile - it's happening and that's that. All the UK can do is try to grab back as much of its own money as it can."

Remember that next time Bugs Bunny, the Orange One, or some other preening tax-funded twerp tells you what a marvellous thing the EU is.