Jul 2007 08
£2.3m Enviro-Twaddle

In the news this week:

£2.3m blown on nappies fiasco- "A Government minister has delivered the news that millions of parents have been waiting to hear: traditional nappies are no more environmentally friendly than disposables. After a four-year study the Environment Agency concluded that "there is little or nothing to choose between them". It found that the damage caused by burying disposables in landfill sites was matched by the electricity and greenhouse gases generated by washing and drying cloth nappies… The Government-funded Real Nappy Campaign cost taxpayers £2.3 million over three years. Matthew Elliott, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: "This is a quite farcical waste of taxpayers’ money, and is yet more evidence of how politicians are unable to run programmes effectively"… Local councils offer gift vouchers or cash rewards to mothers who use traditional nappies. Councils already running the reusable nappy scheme include Three Rivers district council, in south-west Hertfordshire, which gives parents £80 if they use a nappy laundry service for six months." (Telegraph 3.7.07)

£480,000 for reorganised NHS chief- "An NHS manager was given a payoff of £480,000 because he could not find another job after a government-ordered reorganisation. The settlement awarded to Chris Town, the former chief executive of Greater Peterborough Primary Care Trust, was four times his £120,000 salary. Mr Town had been seconded to act as interim chief executive at the neighbouring Cambridgeshire trust, but was paid off after he did not get the permanent job there or at the revamped Peterborough trust." (Times 6.7.07)

Cost of unwanted EU space venture rockets to £1.3bn- "The EU’s ill-fated Galileo satellite programme is a complete shambles. Running six years late, its commercial backers having pulled out, only one little satellite (made in Britain) has yet been put up (by a Russian rocket), and the European Commission now wants EU taxpayers to foot the colossal bill for an ongoing programme which will cost UK taxpayers alone an estimated £1.3 billion, and will run at a massive loss. All to no discernible purpose." (Sunday Telegraph 8.7.07)

Another £34.6m on management consultants for NHS- "£34.6m of public money set aside for frontline health care has been spent on employing private firms for external consultancy. Figures released by the Welsh Assembly Government show that the amount of taxpayers’ money used to pay for management and organisational consultancy has rocketed from £1.75m in 1999 to more than £9m last year." (Western Mail 3.7.07)

This week’s total- £1,337,380,00

Mike is a former Treasury economist who worked extensively on public spending and fiscal analysis during the 1970s and early 1980s. His work included cost benefit appraisal of public projects, analysis of public sector cost inflation and value for money studies.