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The Endless Squandering of Taxpayers' Money


John O'Connell

Even before Covid-19, the government was spending huge amounts of money. Not just any money - taxpayers’ money. YOUR money.


That’s why getting value for every penny so important. But many in the public sector seem to have forgotten that. As our front page investigation with the Daily Mail revealed, our money is being frittered away on a sorry catalogue of waste, mismanagement and self-indulgence.


Ordinary members of the public - who live in the REAL world - often have a better understanding of fiscal realities than the politicians and bureaucrats. Those in charge of the state machine rarely have to pay for the consequences of their excess or errors. They judge themselves by the size of their budgets and bureaucratic empires, just as ministers are quick to parade their devotion to a cause by boasting about how much they have spent on it. No wonder things have gone so badly wrong.


Since April alone, the government has borrowed a phenomenal £215 billion, while the national debt is now bigger than the economy itself. The disdain for prudence has been dramatically accelerated by Covid-19. Of course, at the start, ministers were right to act quickly and generously, injecting colossal sums into the NHS, business support and welfare.


Yet Covid cannot be an excuse for institutionalised profligacy. The response to the disease is a symptom of the wasteful culture that already exists. The practice of squandering taxpayers’ money is now endemic across the bureaucracy of civic Britain.


You can see it in the huge items, like the £15.8 billion foreign aid budget, the £108bn HS2 bill, or the £2.3 billion paid out last year by the NHS to settle legal claims. But it’s also exposed in thousands of smaller spending decisions that the public might never know about.


Our investigation found the Cabinet Office spent £100,000 on a digital wellness app, while £900,000 went on a study of the effects of Covid “on women’s rights in Libya”. Examples of contempt for taxpayers’ money can be found everywhere, like the £400,000 golden goodbye awarded to a boss at North Norfolk District Council, or the £50,000 spent on takeaways for the health department.


This joint investigation has laid bare the wasteful spending that still exists across the public sector. Unless politicians STOP writing blank cheques and START a proper war on waste, yet more of your money will be lost.

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