So the Welsh government, eager to make its mark and demonstrate green credentials, built a wind turbine on top of its Aberystwyth office. It was a snip at £48,000, a sight to make all Welsh people proud, a brave new symbol of breaking the English yoke. Five years later it is being dismantled – it didn’t work very well and generated almost zilch energy.
Maybe you live in Kent? You’ll be pleased to know that Brian Blessed trousered £4,000 of Medway Council’s money so that he could assault the ears of bus passengers with an audio guide.
And don’t we all love those funny animal costumes? Well so do the Forestry Commission (£70 bunny costume) and the cash strapped NHS (£1,000 fat suit)….what a laugh….
Nottingham City Council needed to put staff in the yuletide mood – hence the £4,450 spent on an office Christmas tree.
Sandwell Council wanted a global superstar for St George’s Day – unfortunately the good citizens had to be content with TV has-been Keith Chegwin. But he still got £4,000 just for turning up
Higher up the scale the Department for International Development realised that what the long suffering people of Ethiopia needed was their own version of The Spice Girls – and at £4m it seemed a good idea at the time.
But the real winners were the good people of West Bromwich. For only £72m they got a splendid arts centre
“It chimes exactly with the way the arts in the 21st century are going. It will act as a trailblazer for regeneration in the area and will place West Bromwich at the forefront of this country’s brilliant cultural scene”
Five years later it closed. Soaring costs, mounting debts and a low footfall killed it off.
Just the tip of an iceberg highlighted by The Taxpayers’ Alliance current War on Waste showing how public sector bigwigs just cannot help themselves spending like drunken sailors when it comes to vanity projects above and beyond their briefs. Unlike in their private expenditure where an unsympathetic bank manager or mortgage lender is always ready to point out some hard home truths to these would be Micawbers when they are at their office desks they get hooked on the most liberating of all drugs – spending other people’s money
Of course all this pales into insignificance when the lack of stringency in overall Government spending comes into the picture
“The TPA warns that even in an age of austerity, £120billion-a-year is being wasted ………………..It includes £22billion on overpaying public sector pay and pensions, £20.6billion lost to fraud, £1.6billion in higher sickness rates in the public sector and £1.4billion on ‘overgenerous’ annual leave.”
Time, I feel, for UKIP to pick up this TPA banner. I do hope our current crop of UKIP councillors are going through council finances with a fine toothcomb, grilling would be spenders and asking that key question “Do we really need to spend the money we are taking out of taxpayers’ pockets on this?”
Be prepared, of course, for a chorus of indignation and outrageous outrage from all those who have a vested interest in such enterprises – the arts luvvies, the self appointed “community leaders” and their numerous “friends” in the media. They have been addicted to the drug of public funding for so long that cold turkey will come as a painful surprise. But they are skilled in sniffing out money. Make them work at finding local benefactors, sponsors or raising money themselves. If it’s worthwhile they’ll get a response…..if it’s purely self indulgent they might just have to wither away.
Moreover, when the inevitable TV confrontation happens and the heartless UKIP cost cutter is accused by a tearful luvvie (aided by some shrill “neutral” presenter) of being a barbarian and a scrooge, the TPA provides the perfect riposte
The £120b being wasted each year could be used to fund a £4,500 tax cut for every family…….