Weekly Waste Watch- 73

Inconveniences, more like

In the news this week:

£15,000 flushed down pan- " THOUSANDS of pounds have been flushed down the pan refurbishing public toilets, residents have complained. The loos at The Cross in Royston were closed for more than a month in the summer while £15,000 of maintenance work was carried out, but people who have used the newly- reopened block claim the work was a complete waste of taxpayers' money. Residents say they are baffled as to why it cost North Hertfordshire District Council so much... Terry Hutt, spokesman for Royston Pensioners' Action Group, said: "What they've been doing there I have got no idea." (Cambridge Evening News 7.9.07)

£2.3bn for MOD consultants- "The Ministry of Defence has spent £2.3 billion on consultants since Labour came to power. While British forces in Afghanistan and Iraq remain short of helicopters, weapons and other vital equipment, the MoD's spending on management consultants and external advisers has rocketed since 1997: £2.3 billion could pay for an aircraft carrier, 51 Apache helicopters or annual salaries for 17,000 generals... During 2005/06 the MoD bought accountancy services worth nearly £20 million and spent £4.1million on external lawyers and £47.2 million on consultants to advise on PFI and other initiatives linked to privatisation. In one year, it spent more than £3 million on health and safety consultants for its civil servants. EDS, the IT giant blamed for problems at the Child Support Agency and HM Revenue & Customs, recently landed a 10-year contract worth £2.3 billion to overhaul the MoD's computer systems." (Sunday Telegraph 9.9.07)

Regeneration chiefs blow £120,000 on junketing- "THE company behind the regeneration of Edinburgh's waterfront spent tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money on foreign trips, lavish entertaining and bicycles that no-one has used. A confidential report... raises questions over more than £120,000 worth of spending by Waterfront Edinburgh. It includes expenses claims for two trips to a property show in Cannes and business class flights for former chief executive Stephen Izatt and ex-board chairman Councillor Elizabeth Maginnis to attend Tartan Week in Boston. A further £50,000 was blown on two huge St Andrew's Night parties, while more than £5500 was spent entertaining guests at Murrayfield rugby internationals." (Evening News 3.9.07)

Useless £600,000 traffic lights- "A controversial £600,000 traffic lights scheme is to be dropped less than a year and half after it was introduced. The lights at the Cophall roundabout in Polegate, which became operational last May, are to be ripped out. Motorists have for months complained of long tailbacks and said the lights are confusing and dangerous... The system was installed... by the Highways Agency [which] has now admitted the lights will be removed - proving the scheme was a waste of hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money." (The Argus 2.9.07)

Total for week- £2,300,735,000

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