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Non-job of the week

The GLA is the epitome of what we’ve always predicted regional government would become.  It’s growing, taking more of your money in taxes and constantly creating more pitiful excuses for its own existence.  So we’re not surprised that one of the jobs to come out of the GLA is our... Read more...

Political management and the Nimrod

The replacement for the Nimrod spy plane, the Nimrod MRA4, was ordered in 1996.  Since then we have had five defence secretaries.  Michael Portillo, Des Browne, John Reid, Geoff Hoon and George Robertson.  They've been in post for less than three years each.  During that time the project to replace... Read more...

Uneeza PISA

Results not quite as promised in the original plans The OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) has just produced its latest batch of results. They show the UK crashing down the international rankings of educational attainment (see rankings here). Once again, it seems, the government has done the eezy... Read more...

Beyond Control

Does anyone really believe this stuff? So the ex-head of HMRC who resigned just a fortnight ago over the data discs disaster, is still in Whitehall, working now at the Cabinet Office. And Paul Gray is still on his £200k pa salary.Even better, he's now leading a project on "developing... Read more...

Council Spending Uncovered 1: Publicity

NEW SERIES TO REVEAL HOW COUNCILS REALLY SPEND THEIR MONEY   AVERAGE PUBLICITY SPENDING DOUBLED TO £1 MILLION SINCE 1997   TOTAL TOWN HALL PUBLICITY BILL £450 MILLION A YEAR   With council tax bills having doubled over the last ten years, the TaxPayers' Alliance has launched a new series... Read more...

Weekly Waste Watch- 82

Flashy new buildings fail to improve school In the news this week:£25m Blair "super-school" heading for closure- "A pioneering £25million "super-school", opened by ex-PM Tony Blair, has been put into special measures by school inspectors. Bishops Park College, built five years ago to mop up a predicted boom in demand... Read more...

Refurbishment costs escalate at Worcestershire City Council

Worcestershire County Council have been criticised today for running up a bill of over £1million for “self indulgent” refurbishments to the County Halls.   Councillor Wells, who has sparked the controversy is quoted in the Worcester News:   "At a time when the council is making savage cuts across key... Read more...

Peter Webb's November Campaign Diary

Surrey South West TaxPayers' Alliance and Surrey Tax Action Group Organiser Peter Webb updates us on the campaign in Surrey:   Pre and ongoing: Prolonged dialogue with County Council on the effectiveness of roads contracts management and work supervision.Reflecting on development of TPA branch organisation2nd November: Non-job letter on 3... Read more...

Taxpayer funds lavish events for Advantage West Midlands

Now here’s an interesting question for you, who spends £30,000 wining and dining at four star restaurants in the South of France, including £10,928 for a drinks reception and dinner, £8,625 for a cocktail party, £2,469 for three business breakfasts, £4,406 for a welcome barbecue and £3,868 for a launch... Read more...

Balls On Raising School Leaving Age

Balls in his last job   "Raising the participation age 'has potential economic benefits of £2.4bn per year group' THE BIGGEST REFORMS TO EDUCATION, TRAINING AND SKILLS IN A GENERATION Ed Balls and John Denham today published the Education and Skills Bill and outlined their plans to boost the skills... Read more...

Hidden PIRLS

We slump to 19th According to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), English primary school pupils have slumped in the international league table of reading skills. The authoritative study of 40 countries showed them falling from third place in 2001 to 19th place in 2006.Yesterday Ed Balls blamed... Read more...

Anti-hospital infection pyjamas

Already this year we've had Kiddie Kevlar stab-proof school jumpers and manufacturers considering adding tracking devices to school uniforms.  Now, the Telegraph reports that Marks and Spencers are marketing pyjamas that they say will protect you against hospital infections.  All of these are just the more egregious examples of people... Read more...

'Liberals' conspire against the Public Sector Rich List

This post by Gracchi on the Liberal Conspiracy website attacking the Public Sector Rich List has plenty of phoney 'gotcha' moments.  Fortunately, none of them remotely stack up: "Firstly its noticeable that on their website, they claim the need for this survey because these public sector workers are paid so... Read more...

England falls in international reading league table

  The latest Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) shows that English 10-year-olds have fallen from 3rd to 19th place since 2001. The study of 45 countries and provinces showed that only the results of Morocco and Romania fell more sharply.   Predictably, but shamefully, Education Secretary Ed Balls... Read more...

How much for a chess tournament?

Liverpool’s taxpayers will be shocked to know they have to stump up a whopping £150,000 for…wait for it…a chess tournament.    This tale of incompetence started with the Liverpool Culture Company (LCC), a semi-private body, agreeing to pay for the European Chess Tournament, but reneged on the £100,000 deal.   ... Read more...

Putting a politician in charge of financial stability

  Defending financial stability in an economy near you... soon...   Peter Franklin argues, on ConservativeHome's Platform, for a minister in charge of financial stability: "Devoting a Cabinet minister to financial stability is no guarantee of financial stability, but it would help and, if nothing else, would send a message... Read more...

Stoke spend £125,000 on another bureaucrat

Stoke-On-Trent City Council are at it again with sky-high salaries for ambiguous bureaucratic positions. After losing their assistant chief executive to ill health, they’re now advertising the post with a bumper salary of £125,000.   Many party leaders at the council question not only the salary, but the need for... Read more...

The chance to do your bit!

Ever since we came across a story on the BBC website advertising for residents to join Lancaster City Council’s ‘independent remuneration panel’, we’ve found that all councils have to have some form of panel to initiate hearings and make recommendations on councillor allowances.  This is where you can get involved... Read more...

Non-job of the week

An article in today’s Guardian is suitably entitled “the business of governing is much harder that we would like to believe”.  Although on a completely different topic to what you will read here, it strikes a note especially when you cast your eyes over our non-job of the week.  We’ve... Read more...

Wise words from Irwin Stelzer

Irwin Stelzer writes an important piece in today's Telegraph, with some wise words for the Conservative Party. It's worth quoting him at length: "Voters are eager for an alternative to a tired Labour Party. The Tories' problem is that they won't have very much to offer when it comes to... Read more...

Rewards for management failure

When Mark Rees was head of the Barking, Havering and Redbridge Trust he sacked 600 workers and cut 190 beds in order to try and bring the trust's finances under control (reported in the Daily Mail - not online).  These are similar measures to the ones Rose Gibb, who -... Read more...

PFI Millstone

  Just stick your head through the hole Anyone who's ever had building work done knows the Golden Rules of value for money: Get at least three fixed price quotes in writing Make sure they cover all the required work in full On no account alter your requirements once you've... Read more...

The NHS and equality

One of the cardinal virtues that the NHS is supposed to possess is a high degree of equality.  The system clearly fails to deliver quality care relative to other developed country healthcare systems on a host of measures from control of infection to cancer survival to mortality amenable to healthcare. ... Read more...

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