Bumper Book of Gov’t Waste
Jun 2013 15
New Bumper Book of Government Waste exposes £120 billion of wasteful spending – that’s £4,500 for every household in the UK
Jun 2013 15

In advance of the Comprehensive Spending Review, we can reveal how the Government could cut vast swathes of wasteful and unnecessary spending. A new online edition of the Bumper Book of Government Waste, published today, identifies potential savings to the tune of nearly £120 billion, a figure almost exactly equal to the current budget deficit. This equates to a massive £4,500 for each and every household in the UK - enough to give every family in the land a luxury holiday or pay their household energy bills nearly three times over.

Excellent work has been undertaken by the Cabinet Office’s Efficiency and Reform Group in terms of finding savings, but taxpayers’ cash has still been wasted in a number of ways, with significant sums ripe for being saved in many areas, including:

  • £53 billion - Additional cost of funding pay and pensions for public sector workers over and above the private sector average, based on analysis of figures from the Office for National Statistics and the Pension Policy Institute
  • £25 billion - Amount wasted through inefficient public sector procurementand poor use of outsourcing, based on an authoritative report from the Institute of Directors
  • £20.3 billion - Cost to the economy of public sector fraud, according to the National Fraud Authority
  • £5 billion - Amount paid in benefits to those with an income in excess of £100,000
  • £4 billion - Losses to the taxpayer from RBS and the sale of Northern Rock
  • £2.9 billion - Amount spent needlessly by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills and Department for Culture, Media & Sport, which should both be scrapped
  • £1.2 billion - Annual subsidy to foreign farmers through the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy

Our figure is almost certainly an underestimate. A rigorous assessment of the public sector efficiency commissioned by the European Central Bank found that if the UK’s bloated  public sector were as efficient as that in the economies of countries like the US, Australia, and Japan, no less than £137 billion could have been saved in the last year.

In addition to the big ticket items, we have identified hundreds of examples of smaller sums being wasted. It is, however, all still taxpayers’ money and there is no excuse for waste, regardless of the amount involved. Among the culprits identified are:

  • Arts Council: Gave a £95,000 grant to artists in Brighton for “Skip”, a rubbish dumpster outlined with yellow lights
  • Crawley Council: Spent £5,070 on 12,200 hot drinks from vending machines for council employees, when the equivalent number of tea bags would have cost just £200
  • Department for International Development: Spent £21.2 million on a road maintenance project in Bangladesh, later pulled due to “fiduciary irregularities” after it emerged that less than 10% had actually been spent on roads
  • Durham Council: Funded a £12,000 clothing allowance to allow councillors to wear “Geordie Armani”
  • Hull Council: Spent £40,000 on a concert in honour of the councillor who is Lord Mayor this year
  • Ministry of Defence: Paid £22 for light bulbs that are normally 65p
  • Prison Service: Paid £720,000 to professional actors for role playing that is aimed at helping inmates become employed
  • Scottish Government: Signed a £1.4 million 4-year contract for taxis for civil servants in Edinburgh – despite staff being told to use buses
  • Stoke-on-Trent Council: Spent £330,000 to pay for redundancy packages and subsequently rehiring 25 members of staff

Matthew Sinclair, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said:

“George Osborne must take the golden opportunity offered by the Spending Review to get the nation’s finances under control and ease the burden on taxpayers. The latestBumper Book of Government Waste shows that tens of billions of pounds are still wasted each year and there is an enormous amount of fat left in the public sector.

“If Ministers do something about it, they can give taxpayers a better deal and still provide the frontline services which people depend on the most. More money must be left in the pockets of struggling households who need it to support their own families and their own causes. They will get better value than any politician or bureaucrat.” 

Pressure builds on Coalition to act on its words over empty property rates
Jun 2013 14

A leading expert in the field of Business Rates has slammed the Coalition’s half-baked proposals for empty property rate relief. Jerry Schurder, partner at a leading chartered surveyors and former President of the Rating Surveyors’ Association said they were “a waste of time and deeply flawed.”

At the Autumn Statement, George Osborne proposed that all newly built commercial properties should be exempt from empty property rates for 18 months. A damp squib, considering how vociferously senior coalition figures opposed the tax in opposition. Business Secretary Vince Cable described penalising property owners for their properties being vacant a “a ludicrous situation, completely counterproductive and economically very damaging.” Continue Reading

Green party cause stink in Brighton & Hove
Jun 2013 14

Well it’s official, Councillor Jason Kitcat, the leader of Brighton & Hove Council, has failed to avoid a strike by GMB refuse collectors and street cleaners. For residents of Brighton & Hove it could be time to hold their noses during these hot summer days. Continue Reading

Bristol traders threaten to stop paying business rates
Jun 2013 12

The temperature is rising in Bristol over the Mayor’s controversial plans to impose Residents’ Parking Zones (RPZ) across the city. Traders in Gloucester Road are banding together and threatening to withhold their Business Rates unless Mayor George Ferguson acts on their concerns.

Local butcher Tom Murray is furious at the proposed RPZ, which will add overhead costs of £240 per year for each business permit and £500 for each customer permit. ‘We’ve had a hit where the banks didn’t support local businesses for many years,’ he says, ‘and then we get conditions of RPZ that’s going to seriously effect small businesses.’ Continue Reading

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