Wednesday, March 04, 2009

If it costs us money it is not a gift!

Over the past few years of trawling through Hansard I have noticed that some questions come up time and again. Often they take a slightly different form in their wording, usually in the hope that it might garner a clearer answer from Government. One of those question often relates to gifts that Departments or Civil Servants have received that are worth over a certain value.

The answers are usually boring to non-existant, but on this occassion there is one that leapt out at me. After questioning from John Redwood, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform revealed that in 2007 it received a Nintendo DS Lite with two games from the Science Museum which it estimated to be worth £200.

Not a big deal you might think, it's only a little gift after all, its technology and it came from the Science Museum. The problem I have is the appendum to the Science Museum the Government put which says,
one part of the public sector accepting a gift from another part
So that's a taxpayer funded body spending taxpayer's money on a games console to give as a gift to another taxpayer funded body.

Yes, yes, yes, I know its only £200, but if lots of little things like this go on it all adds up.


Letters From A Tory said...

Actually that explains what civil servants at BERR do all day, because they sure as hell don't do anything useful.

Mr Jabberwock said...

In the words of Milton Friedman

"There are four ways in which you can spend money. You can spend your own money on yourself. When you do that, why then you really watch out what you’re doing, and you try to get the most for your money. Then you can spend your own money on somebody else. For example, I buy a birthday present for someone. Well, then I’m not so careful about the content of the present, but I’m very careful about the cost. Then, I can spend somebody else’s money on myself. And if I spend somebody else’s money on myself, then I’m sure going to have a good lunch! Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government."

Ed West said...

Look at the Fake Charities website and you'll see so much of the money swirling around is a public sector daisy chain. One quango giving to another and on to another. The Mafia could learn a lot from the British state.

Demetrius said...

We all like to give ourselves a treat now, don't we? When I was working, it was even better when it was somebody else's money. Then we gave ourselves lots of treats, especially if nobody was looking.

The Penguin said...

So instead of getting on with the job, the wankers are playing computer games?

The Penguin

Oldrightie said...

They probably have a swap system for motor racing and tennis freebies, as well.

Dave said...

Assumes the Science Museum paid for the DS in the first place. Wouldn't surprise me if Nintendo had sponsored/donated towards one of the kids galleries/activity bits and the Sci Museum was sent some for free.
The Science Museum does great work, have you been recently? Well worth a visit.