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Money well spent?


megilleland
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As we were going off topic regarding "Choose How You Move - hollow Council rhetoric" ie cycliing hazards and moving into financial matters concerning how others spend our taxes this topic is to draw attention to how the other half live.

 

The Guardian - Sunday 24 July 2016
 
 
Heads of taxpayer-funded independent chains are making claims that include fast cars, first-class travel and Marco Pierre White dining while schools struggle
 
The leaders of academy schools are spending taxpayers’ money on luxury hotels, top-end restaurants, first-class travel, private health care and executive cars, a joint investigation by Channel 4’s Dispatches and the Observer can reveal.
 
Expense claims released under the Freedom of Information Act lay bare for the first time what critics claim is an extraordinary extravagance by some academy chain chief executives and principals, at a time when schools are struggling financially.
 
The taxpayer is paying Ian Cleland, the £180,000-a-year chief executive at Academy Transformation Trust, to lease and have joint insurance with his wife on an XJ Premium Luxury V6 Jaguar car, it can be disclosed. Included in nearly £3,000 worth of receipts is payment for servicing the car and the purchase of new tyres.
 
Cleland has also spent £3,000 of taxpayers’ money on first-class rail travel, while dining expenses racked up on his taxpayer-funded credit card include a meal with other staff at Marco Pierre White totalling £471, and the Bank restaurant in Birmingham, at a cost £703.45.
 
Cleland announced in March that the Trust was looking to save £500,000 from its 21 schools in the Midlands and east of England and had asked staff to reapply for their jobs.
 
(more)

and
 
The Guardian - Friday 22 July 2016 
 
 
Concern as members of Welsh government use procurement cards to pay for goods at toy shop, luxury yacht supplier and five-star hotel in Beijing
 
Items from Toys R Us, rooms at luxury hotels, entrance to the prestigious Plage Goéland in Cannes and payments to a company specialising in luxury yacht equipment have been charged to cards held by members of the Welsh government.
 
Over the past five years spending on 237 procurement cards held by Welsh civil servants has averaged £1.5m a year, raising concerns about their use.
 
The first breakdown of spending, for 2015/16, reveals that £279.90 was spent at Toys R Us, £103.91 at Victoria’s Secret and £832.81 at Ikea, despite the government having a contract with a furniture and office supply company.
 
The 259-page list from the Wales Audit Office reveals that Welsh government credit cards were used on three occasions to pay for rooms at the Hotel New Otani in Tokyo, at a total cost of £1,450.76. The luxury hotel features manmade waterfalls, a golf driving range, tennis courts, the largest hotel pool in central Tokyo and a traditional Japanese garden.
 
Other hotel charges made on the cards include £9,043.79 on rooms at the five-star Raffles hotel in Beijing, whose website says it has been “for nearly a century been the choice of visiting royalty and diplomats, VIPs and film starsâ€.
 
(more)
 
Herefordshire Council credit card transactions - quarter ending 30 June 2016 - £4,406.91 spent. Quite frugal compared to the two above.
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Not only in England and Wales, but also in Scotland.

The Guardian
Sunday 24 July 2016 
 
 
At the end of last week, it was revealed that the cost of the inquiry into the Edinburgh trams scandal is heading towards £4m. This is the inquiry set up to probe why the project was more than 100% over budget and delivered five years late in a much reduced form. The original cost was £350m.
 
When establishing the inquiry in 2014, the then first minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, said that it would be “swift and thoroughâ€. It’s certainly not been swift and it remains to be seen (though we don’t know when) if it will be thorough. It’s also continuing to make a tiny coterie of trough-guzzlers extremely rich. Twenty five individuals are currently filling their boots on this inquiry, whose job it will be to identify, among other causes, how a deeply flawed procurement process saddled Scotland’s capital with the biggest cowboy operation since Doc Holliday moseyed into Dodge.
 
The news that the Edinburgh trams are still soaking up millions came just a few weeks after it was announced that Police Scotland had quietly decided to abandon its new unified IT system, developed by Accenture, following a hail of gremlins and glitches. When the new unitary police body was imposed on the nation by the then justice minister, Kenny MacAskill, he assured us that future savings would result. The £60m system had been introduced to merge more than 130 different computer and paper systems that had been left in place after the eight regional forces were forced together as if by a child experimenting with adhesive. Scotland’s single police force remains a wretched memorial to arrogance in high office.
 
In every direction, the terrain of civic Scotland is pockmarked by ruinously expensive and inefficient capital projects that have been characterised by bad governance and a lack of accountability. The multinationals and global entities that the Scottish government always favours for these contracts know that Holyrood will always be around to pick up the tab of their wastefulness and that none of their executives will ever be brought to book.
 
The new Forth road bridge has been delayed by a further five months owing to 25 days of bad weather in April and May. If this bridge were being built in the Bahamas then you could accept the “bad weather†excuse. This is Scotland.
 
Scotland likes to think that it punches above its weight in new technology and its applications. But the country seems to possess some kind of magnetic force running through it that wrecks every major IT project attempted here. The government has had to seek an extension from the European commission after its new £178m farming payments system had to be scaled back and subsequently failed to meet an EU deadline.
 
Meanwhile, the new IT system for NHS24, Scotland’s vital telephone health advice service, is four years late and still no nearer to becoming operational. The bill for this currently stands at around £118m, more than 55% over budget. Earlier this year, Holyrood’s public audit committee attempted to unravel the narrative of sheer incompetence through the testimony of several of its hugely well-paid senior executives. It was like watching an episode of The Banana Splits.
 
And so this grotesque gravy train carrying our capital investment careers on. The executives in charge continue to receive their huge salaries and pensions, crowned by massive pay-offs when their incompetence is inevitably revealed. Many rungs below, ordinary workers lose their jobs and cuts have to be made to other vital lifeline services. No one is accountable and Holyrood wrings its hands and blames high winds.
 
And so, while Theresa May is making a cast-iron case for Scottish independence, the people in charge of the public purse seem hellbent on destroying it. 

 

Seems to be a pattern running through these authorities - you give the money to us and we will get rid of it - oh, and you may get some benefit eventually. I have always said it is a good idea to use somebody elses money rather than your own. Similar process when past governments have raided pension funds.

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