Monday, March 09, 2009

Squandering our Billions - Channel 4 does good

if anyone gets a chance to watch the latest Dispatches on C4 On Demand then I strongly recommend it. The subtitle for the show was 'Are the Government squandering our billions' and was a litany of their profligacy.

Long time readers of this blog will know about much of the more obscure things mentioned because they've all come up over the past few years in my Hansard trawling.

Its about time that documentaries started to catalogue the reality of the way the Government pisses our money up the proverbial wall on things like adverts, pointless and failing IT project, cultural projects that no one wants to visits, and crazy never never purchases on PFI.

Interestingly a rather crass building in Sandwell, West bromwich called The Public was highlighted. No doubt Bob Piper and Tom Watson may have something to say about their equivalent of the Dome. Over budget, still not finished and it manages to get 700 visitors a month with a cost of multi-millions.


Anonymous said...

700 visitors a month? Its not even bloody open. It’s been into administration twice!

You have to give the people behind the Public building a muted round of applause since it takes a very special kind of incompetence to bankrupt a project before it's even started.

Anonymous said...

They let an arts teacher manager the project? Oh FFS!

Baldwin said...

How nice to see a documentary without left wing bias.

Jane Moore did a excellent job cataloguing Labour's incompetence and carelessness with public money.

A personal ambition is to go to my grave without seeing another Labour government.

jailhouselawyer said...

Two aspects of squandering money which need investigating are the doomed to fail Titan Prisons project £1.2Bn+, and the potential compensation payouts to convicted prisoners if they are denied their human right to vote £60-£120M.

Anonymous said...

It's always good to stimulate debate about where the Government can save money, though I was hoping for more new and investigative stuff - the miners' compensation being skimmed by lawyers is shocking, but has been a running battle for five years at least.

I was surprised they didn't mention the loss-making broadcaster the Government owns. You may have heard of it, it's called Channel 4.

Scallywag said...

Well done C4. I guess they are filling in those parts of the story being studiously ignored by the BBC. Let's hope their efforts don't get squashed in the outcome of ITV's demise.

Jonathan Cook said...

The documentary was good exposure of content that the Tax payer's Alliance and the book "Squandered - How Gordon Brown is wasting over 1 Trillion Pounds of our money".

More surprising was Frank Field popping up and having a pop about the state of government finances.

It is about time Mainstream Media examined the government's record. So this will have come as a surprise to many people.

David Batt said...

Private Eye's architectural column (Nooks and Corners, by "Piloti") gave The Public its award for the worst new building of the year a couple of months ago.

T England said...

Talking of IT waste & squandering our billions!
NPfIT costs include £3m on hotels and business travel.

Labour are just incompetent when it comes to looking after our cash.

Zastrozzi said...

like adverts, pointless and failing IT project, cultural projects that no one wants to visits, and crazy never never purchases on PFI

And bloody Stop Smoking Day, which never managed to get a single person to stop smoking in their lives. I was in a meeting with PCT staff who had to organise publicity about this year's event, and even they admitted that people who don't smoke take up smoking just for the day...

Word verification: Pooff - the sound of our money going up in smoke...?

kinglear said...

I've always liked Jane Moore- apart from being easy on the eye, she strikes me as being practical and sensible.
I suspect the programme makers had too many things to choose from, so went for the easily explained ones

Anonymous said...

Ironically the programme was preceded by a Labour Party broadcast accusing the Tories of cutting Government spending! Perfectly timed.

Conand said...


The TPA did point out that you can't cut 100% of the waste. Let's say 80%:

That works out at about £3.60 per person per day. So, intriguingly there is such a thing as a free lunch, for everybody forever.

The Govt could of course continue to ask us to buy our own sandwiches and say they're going to spend the money on something worthwhile. I have some suggestions: A fusion power station, a cure for cancer, the best state school system in the world (not just some funky looking buildings) etc etc etc
But no, we buy the sandwiches and they piss the money away on bollocks.

davemcwish said...

All of the issues have been raised before either on this blog or others, Private Eye or the specialist press. Other than exposing the waste to a wider audience *nothing* will actually happen for two reasons:-

1. In the current climate preople are more concerned about their jobs/paying the mortgage etc

2. The government treats the 'regulator' (PAC) with the same attitide that the EU Commission treats their audit process (albiet without initiating witchhunts).

3. MPs featured in programms like this are only interested about getting their mugs on TV to show their voters that they "care"

James said...

I've just watched this episode; the sheer scale of M.O.D spending is just beyond belief.

I write this from my shoddy standard issue office chair and not a rather luxurious leather chair as seen in the MOD HQ.

And there I was thinking that my office was extravagant purchasing a Nintendon Wii, maybe I should get a job in the public sector?

frith said...

The whole programme was gripping, especially as immediately prior to its broadcast several government ministers Blears, Becket et al. told us how brilliant they were.
Incidently no medical staff spoke this is because they have to sign a gagging clause in their contracts and all has to be cleared by the administration.