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Waste of money

Here’s a quiz. The UK government is squandering money all over the place. That’s what governments do, after all. Just look at National Rail, The Dome, Government Department IT projects… If you could choose one government project that was the most appalling of all, what would it be? Are there ones that we don’t know about?

18 comments to Waste of money

  • Rob Read

    Might I nominate the CHAI which is run by an inexperienced bEUrocrat and will be “helping” both the NHS and free-market medicine practise.


  • RonG

    I don’t know about the UK, but here in Canada we have a gun registy program that was supposed to cost 2 million dollars (costs – fees), and last I heard ( they don’t talk about it anymore, for some reason ) it was about 250 million dollars.

    “Among the other costs are C$227 million for the licensing and registration database, C$66 million for program administration, C$29 million for advertising, communications, and public affairs, C$59 million for a central processing site, C$15 million for an outreach program, and C$9 million for safety training.”

    “The latest estimates say that by 2005, the costs associated with gun registration will actually cost $1 billion and that registration fees will raise only $140 million of that amount. That means the program will end up costing taxpayers $860 million, according to the auditor-general’s report. ”

    Ani-gun people thought this was going to attack gun owners and tax only them.
    Now they find out its going to tax the anti-gun poeple as well.

  • I vote for Excellence In Cities which, as I’ve pointed out regularly in blogland, is massive, vastly expensive, has been audited and found to be utterly without benefit and is being pushed forward regardless. It also happens to be Blair’s flagship educational policy, which marks it out for an especially good kicking.

  • Peter

    In response to the Canadian posting above, I’d like to point out that the gun registry disaster continues and was in the National Post today. We are on our way to clear 1 billion dollars (Canadian).


  • So many targets, how can you choose just one? From personal experience though (working for a gov’t IT contractor) my choice would have to be the Employment Service (recently ‘rebranded’ as Jobcentre Plus). Why do we need a taxpayer funded recruitment agency when you have dozens of them in every town in the country? Annual cost: somewhere in the region of £2.5bn.

    (They’ve also started a nice line in data sharing with the DSS and Inland Revenue, but that’s another story).

  • Verity

    Guessedworker – Another Blair flagship policy! So many policies, so little time! – hopefully.

    How about all the ‘outreach/’diversity coordinator’ (we must never, never, never stop putting these names in quotes) and remedial breathing outreach coordinators? I do like Chris Rowe’s Job Centre – or is it spelled Jobcentre? Or JobCentre? Or jobCentre? – idea? Could have legs. What the hell is the government doing competing with private enterprise? Why are people’s taxes paying for government organisation which violently compete with the private enterprises in which these invidivuals earn the money to pay the taxes?

    Faster, please.

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    Chris Rowe wrote:

    From personal experience though (working for a gov’t IT contractor) my choice would have to be the Employment Service (recently ‘rebranded’ as Jobcentre Plus).

    Jobcentre plus what? 🙂

    And why does “jobcentre” have to be one word?

  • Guy Herbert

    “JobCentre” has to be all one word because “Job Centre” as two would be too blatant a lie even for the Department of Work and Pensions. (Which in any case is preserving all its lying resources for use on the pensions part of the brief.) JobCentre is an institution that is peripheral to the market in jobs, not central at all.

  • Tony H

    I know of the Canadian Government’s hugely expensive folly in attempting to register all firearms, and I don’t think the UK ‘s equivalent folly in banning handguns is quite so bloodsuckingly expensive; but the 1997 Firearms Act, which confiscated the property of 56,000 plus citizens in order to “take these handguns out of circulation” as its proponents so sweetly put it, is estimated to have cost around £100 million in compensation etc. A couple of years after the Act came into effect, the Government’s own figures revealed that 62 people were murdered with firearms between March 1999 and March 2000, 42 of them with handguns – I believe the highest figures on record. Not that this apparent poor value for money would make a NuLab supporter blush of course, since (a) preventing private citizens from owning guns is a social good in itself, and (b) there’s plenty more money where that came from.

  • Richard Garner

    At the LA/LI conference I mentioned to Brian that I would actually be in favour of at most one new government department: THE DEPARTMENT OF DONATIONS.

    The advantage of this would be that anybody who says, “Oh but we WANT to pay more taxes” will have an opportunity to pay more to the state and leave the rest of us in peace. If this is unsatisfactory to them then they immediately reveal that what they really want is for somebody else to pay more taxes.

  • jobcentre plus what?

    Jobcentre plus thousands of new touch screen computer terminals (to replace the old bits-of-card-on-a-noticeboard system)

    Jobcentre plus newly decorated offices (it’s all laminate flooring and bright colurs now)

    Jobcentre plus stacks of new ‘initiatives’ to help deliver their ‘service’ in new ways (the most telling of which is the plan to put their job listings on the interactive service of Sky Digital – the level of Sky subscription amongst the unemployed is (somehow unsurprisingly) rather high).

    Basically Jobcentre plus substantial extra amounts of other peoples’ money for as-yet unmeasured benefits (don’t hold your breath).

    They’ll even buy unemployed people mobile phones so that they can be contacted about jobs.

  • Sorry, forgot to add the customary Euro-bashing.

    The existance of Jobcentre Plus (and all the similar agencies around Europe) would be virtually guaranteed by the European Constitution. There is a specific ‘right’ to a ‘free’ ‘placement service’ (running out of sneer quotes here…) listed. Go figure.

  • Bernie Greene

    Errr… how about the NHS?

  • Ellie


    The US government already accepts donations, though I haven’t heard whether George Soros, Barbra Streisand, George Clooney, John Kerry, et al. have posted their checks yet.

    Many wealthy Americans, OTOH, do give large sums to charities of their own choosing. It’s interesting, isn’t it, that wealthy donors favor private charities over the US government.

  • harryj

    Why not aim for the bull’s eye? Westminster. There are 650 MP’s and about the same number of Lords. The two houses control a vast empire, and are themselves enormously expensive after regularly voting themselves higher salaries, allowances, pensions, perquisites, paid assistants, and so on ad infinitum. Subsidisation of restaurants, bars, Portcullis House, and everything their little hearts desire since they control their own finances straight out of the public purse no questions asked.

    Has anyone any idea of the size of the looting of taxes by these people? So reduce each House to 120 members and set up a really independant commission to oversea salaries etc, and a frequently changed commissioner to watch them! Remembering always the infinite possibilities to bribe the overseers into becoming part of the problem.

  • “If you could choose one government project that was the most appalling of all, what would it be?”

    The invasion of Iraq.

  • R C Dean

    “If you could choose one government project that was the most appalling of all, what would it be?”

    For the US, it would be UN membership in these troubled times. For the Brits, I guess I would nominate both UN and EU membership.

    These are the vectors by which all the rest of what liberties we still enjoy are being infected with latter-day Marxism in the form of transnational progressivism. Specific programs are symptoms, but the deep infection still remains to be addressed.

    The Brits are much further down the mortality curve than the Americans are, at this point, but already we have judges and legislators in the US deferring to “international law,” which in an odd coincidence always seems to support the state, and not individual liberty.

    That appalling project in Iraq is spreading liberty, by the way, and that particular campaign is not harming liberty at home. Its second order effects are likely to increase liberty at home by hurting liberty’s enemies, the tranzis and the Islamists. Its a twofer!

  • cj

    So, who “aced” the quiz?