Sunday, November 08, 2009

Three Old Favourites In The Weekend Press

1. 2012 Olympics - costs hit £12bn

According to the Telegraph, the real cost of the 2012 Games is actually £2.7bn more than the official £9.3bn budget. From "obscure documents" and FOI requests, the Telegraph has uncovered the following hidden costs:
  • £1.15 billion spent by Boris Johnson's London Development Agency (LDA) to buy and clean up the Olympic site
  • At least a further £359 million not publicly announced by the LDA, including £269 million in interest payments and £90 million in Olympic grants
  • £389 million for "Games-specific" transport improvements by Transport for London and Network Rail
  • About £60 million costs for Whitehall departments working on Games preparations and legacy planning
  • £240 million spent, or bid for, by local councils
  • A contribution of £110 million by the Homes and Communities Agency quango to the Olympic village
  • £280 million on Olympic-related grassroots and elite sport projects
  • Almost £100 million in directly Games-related spending by a range of other public bodies, from the Lea Valley Regional Park Authority to the Arts Council and the NHS..
As regular BOM readers may recall, we've blogged several of these items before, but this is an extremely useful summary of where we now are.

Whatever the government may say, there is no way the cost will be contained to the current official budget of £9.3bn - let alone the preposterous £2.1bn they originally plucked out of the air (or somewhere) in 2004. Our estimate of the final all-in costs has always been £20bn (eg see here). We see no reason to depart from that.

2. Prison - it's still cheaper to bang 'em up

The Sunday Times has the useful graphic above which summarises the relative costs of leaving criminals free to roam our streets:

"The average number of offences committed by a single criminal is 140 per year, according to a Home Office survey.

Civitas, the think tank, estimates the cost to society of one active criminal committing 140 crimes is £280,000 a year, while the cost of reprocessing him or her through the criminal justice system and back into prison is put at £65,000."

And once they're inside, the average cost of a prison place is put at £26,000 pa.

Now you don't need to be a calculating machine to work out that it's a lot cheaper to lock up bad guys than to leave them out here.

So WTF don't our useless politicos JUST DO IT?

3. Buying votes with welfare

The Tories have published an analysis of which Parliamentary constituencies get the most in welfare benefits (reproduced in the MoS which has the full set of tables).

Top of the table is the Liverpool constituency of Labour MP Peter Kilfoyle, where nearly 30% of the working age population are living on benefits - either incapacity benefits, lone parent benefits, or Jobseeker's Allowance.

And of the 200 constituencies with the highest proportion on welfare, no fewer than 189 are represented by Labour MPs. 13 of them are cabinet members, including Brown himself.

So it's no wonder Labour have spent so much on these benefits. And it's no wonder they've failed to deliver on all their promises to get tough with people who won't take paid employment to support themselves.

They're using our money to buy their votes.

And condemning millions of their own supporters to welfare dependency in the process.

It really is the politics of damnation.

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