Weekly Waste Round-Up 71

He's meant to work for us

In the news this week:

£17,300 to hide MPs expenses from us- "A committee run by the Speaker of the Commons squandered more than £17,000 of taxpayers' money on barristers in an attempt to keep MPs' travel expenses secret. The House of Commons Commission - chaired by Michael Martin - spent two years trying to keep MPs' car, train and plane claims, which ran into millions of pounds, from the public. It forked out nearly £17,300 on lawyers and barristers to challenge a ruling by Information Commissioner Richard Thomas that taxpayers had a right to know much public money was being spent on politicians' travel." (Mail 11.8.07)

Balls junket costs us £5,000- "Cabinet minister Ed Balls spent thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money attending a private meeting of one of the world's most powerful and secretive organisations. Mr Balls travelled to Canada for the four-day conference of the shadowy Bilderberg Group of businessmen and politicians... The cost of the trip, in air fares, hotel bills and expenses is estimated at up to £5,000. The group's rules insist that "all participants attend in a private and not an official capacity". However, a Treasury spokesman said Mr Balls had attended "in his capacity as a minister" and confirmed that all expenses had been met from public funds." (Sunday Telegraph 12.8.07)

£1.7m wasted on re-importing radiocative waste- "DOUNREAY officials yesterday defended the £1.7 million cost of returning a batch of radioactive waste which was exported from the site to Peru nine years ago... As Peru lacks any specialist treatment or disposal facilities, a dozen-strong team from Dounreay went over to Lima... to move the 43 drums of the waste... Dounreay director Simon Middlemas denied the £1.7 million bill was a waste of money that could otherwise have been devoted to the clean-up of the site. He said: "I suppose you could look at it like that but... I wouldn't say it's been an embarrassment... that was in the past and practices then are completely different to what they are now." (John O'Groat Journal 10.8.07)

Human rights commissariate costs £1m pa- "MSPs last night demanded that Holyrood abandon moves to appoint a £75,000-a-year human rights "tsar". The calls came after advertisements were published for a full-time chairman of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, who will head a panel of four part-time members and have an annual budget of £1 million." (Scotsman 21.7.07)

Council teaches vandals how to waste £400K pa- "Daft council chiefs who paid £400,000 to clean up paint-daubed walls are giving kids free lessons - in GRAFFITI. Teenagers will be taught techniques in spray painting as part of a summer scheme. The classes are the brainwave of Islington council, north London, whose workers scrubbed off 25,000 square metres of graffiti last year." (People 12.8.07)

Total for week- £3,122,300
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