It seems that spending on Government Procurement Cards last year increased yet again, rising to £1.15 billion, an increase of £150 million since the Government pledged to cut spending on them in 2010.
Freedom of Information requests by The People found that in the financial year 2011-12 Government credit cards were used for numerous extravagances including luxury stays in five star hotels, iPads, trips to the London eye, expensive restaurants and state of the art office furniture. Continue Reading
Last month it was revealed East Riding of Yorkshire Council (ERYC) had a £16.5 million underspend in its budget. At the time I commended the council for making those savings, however my concern was this money would be frittered away on vanity projects. Many roads in the county are crumbling, and the council said £3.3 million would be invested in highway maintenance. This is what the council leader, Stephen Parnaby said at the time:
Road maintenance remains a significant pressure because of the size of the network in the East Riding and the continuing impact of the severe winter weather in recent years.
It is also one of the top priorities identified by our residents through budget consultations and it is good that the council can respond so positively as a result of prudent financial management.
Prioritising highways maintenance is not new and we have already put in considerable additional funds over and above normal budgets to carry out essential repair work.
Matthew Elliott recently congratulated the Government for saving £5.5 billion during 2011-12 in the Daily Mail, as announced by Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude. But he also pointed out that many departments such as the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) are still hiring even more staff, undoing the good work of those other departments which are making savings.
To illustrate from where the savings have come, the Cabinet Office have produced an intriguing infographic: Continue Reading
In a letter to The Times (£) this week, three development experts questioned the effectiveness of Britain’s large and expanding foreign aid budget. Gordon Bridger, a former economic advisor to the Overseas Development agency, Charles Cullimore, the former British High Commissioner to Uganda and Michael Shaw, a former Foreign Office consultant, concluded that “the huge amount of aid being poured into Africa is making many countries aid dependent.” Continue Reading
HMRC’s blunders happen so frequently that it’s almost surprising that they count as news. The latest reported story is of a Cumbria pensioner who was shocked to open a letter from HMRC demanding £16,022,012 in unpaid tax.
Enid Fisher, who was stunned to receive such a massive bill, eventually discovered that a HMRC official had put the date 16.02.2012 into the wrong box on the tax form. Following months corresponding with HMRC, Mrs Fisher discovered she didn’t owe them anything at all and was actually entitled to a £904 rebate. Continue Reading