The War on Waste Blog: January 2023

By: Elliot Keck, investigations campaign manager at the TaxPayers' Alliance


It wasn’t a happy new year for taxpayers unfortunately. Last month was a tale of bankrupt councils and indulgent spending across the public sector.


There was no worse indulgence than the BBC’s grotesque ten part series on the life of Shamima Begum. Furious licence fee payers were rightly asking how much the BBC was going to spend (waste!) on this propaganda piece. Unfortunately that information will remain under lock and key, because of a special BBC exemption under the FOI Act. Is this a transparency problem? Well we certainly think so. And it turns out that the BBC’s transparency problems don’t end there, as our research found.


Indulgences were revealed across the public sector by TPA researchers in January. There was the classic case of DIT officials spending almost £600,000 on luxury flights in just three months. But it didn’t end there. UK prisons have, for example, spent over £11 million on diversity staff in just two years. Police forces binged £66,000 on rainbow merchandise, including so-called “rainbow fuzzy bugs”. The list goes on. Woke public sector budgets are simply out of control. If you’re not happy then fortunately there’s a quick and easy way to say so - sign our petition to ditch the diversity demagogues!


If there is one place in the public sector though where waste really infuriates taxpayers, it’s in the NHS. With the health system barely operating even when staff are not on strike, it would seem imperative that the NHS would crack down on waste. Unfortunately there is little sign of this. Our research in January found that the latest reorganisation of the health system, from CCGs to ICBs, involved over £5 million in spending on management consultants, branding, and new websites. Oh, and the NHS also advertised for more than £1 million of non-jobs, including numerous diversity roles, as revealed in The Sun.


That’s the woke and the wasteful. But what about the weird. Well we had that covered as well in January, with research into the Levelling Up Fund revealing that the Isles of Scilly were to receive over £48,000,000 in grants. That’s £23,000 per resident!


Regular readers will have heard this before, but next month is unlikely to be better. Get ready for NHS time-wasting, bumper bonuses and empty offices.


If you suspect public bodies of wasting money and want us to investigate, let me know at [email protected]

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