I must apologise for the language but I really have just about enough of this Government’s Total Bollocks. It’s Bullshit in my humble opinion designed to cover up the most monumental incompetence within government departments and make us, the public, suffer. Austerity? Begone!! I should think Gideon and Call Me Dave fell about pissing themselves when the bankers gifted them that one. Manna from Heaven, just the vehicle they needed, a right Win Double, Dave gets to push through his hatred, sorry, Reform, of the Police, and others, and Gideon gets to soften the blows of some of the more monumental up-cocks of any government in modern history.
A while ago I wrote a series of posts for another blog on the subject of Government Wastage. What I found out staggered me.
I’ll try and bring you the highlights, you do the maths!!
I started off with
An initiative by the Department of Health in England to move the National Health Service (NHS) in England towards a single, centrally-mandated electronic care record. Eventually things came to a head in 2011.The project to “modernise” the NHS computer systems, replacing them all with a single system that would enable any doctor to access any patient’s records stalled. After a decade, and nearly £12 billion spent, the project was abandoned. £12 billion would pay the salaries of 60,000 nurses (that’s SIXTY THOUSAND, not a typo) for 10 YEARS.
Then I progressed onto
These may not float your boat, but they’re a pet hate of mine. Not Aircraft Carriers per se, we need those, it’s what the government has done with them that winds me up. Once again I don’t blame any particular colour of political party, once again they all seem to be tarred with the same brush, but I do think Dave had a hand in it.
Government routinely makes an appalling mess of things. Some years ago a single edition of The Daily Telegraph reported that a nuclear submarine suffered £5 million of damage after crashing into rocks because trainee commanders covered vital charts with tracing paper; that a government efficiency drive in the Department for Transport to save £112 million was likely to cost £120 million while sending messages to employees in German and denying them annual leave to which they were entitled; that hundreds of thousands of immigrants were excluded from official statistics by a counting system which was so unreliable that it was not possible to know the true population of Britain; and that more than 8,000 patients had died in dirty hospitals after contracting superbugs. And that was just one day’s headlines.
Defence, whose dreadful procurement record – including boots that melt in hot weather, helicopters that won’t fly in the rain, radios that don’t fit into battle tanks, naval frigates with no weapons, aircraft carriers with no fighter jets, and military transport aircraft that can’t fly into war zones – amply justifies Ernest Fitzgerald’s maxim that “there are only two phases of a weapons programme: ‘Too early to tell’ and ‘too late to stop’
It couldn’t get any worse, could it?
Well it could actually.
NEW Harrier-style jump jets set to fly from Navy aircraft carriers could melt their decks, US trials show.
I will let the then Shadow Defence minister Kevan Jones have the last word
“Only this Government could melt aircraft carriers.”
This addressed the issue of Chinook Helicopters.
In 1995 it was decided that the country needed to buy 8 Chinook Mk3s in 1995 for £259million but they have been kept in storage since they were delivered in 2001.
They were ordered as dedicated special forces helicopters
It has always said the helicopters have not been able to be passed as fit for use because officials negotiating the deal to buy them did not ask for the access code for the software used to fly them and Boeing refused to hand the code over once the mistake was noticed.
But the Times reports the MoD never asked for the code because, under pressure from the Treasury, it told Boeing it planned to install its own software, thinking it could do so more cheaply.”
Now that does sound like the sort of thing a cheapskate arrogant government might say don’t you think? Another example of The Treasury interfering in front-line issues. Sadly though the software didn’t work (quelle surprise) and the 8 Chinooks are no longer hi-tech fighting machines, but are now good old transport aircraft.
A village somewhere must be missing an idiot. Didn’t ask for the software access codes? Can anyone really be that daft?
It’s an old story and that’s why I’ve kept it brief, but it’s another £300-500 million pounds worth of government wastage to add on.
Emperor Dave told us that he was reforming the benefits system. He was going to save the country a small fortune. His grand ideas included linking benefits to wages instead of inflation, a cap on Housing Benefit, adjusting regional benefits to the cost of living and apparently no-one under the age of 25 needs Housing Benefit anyway. All in all he’s looking to save £10 Billion from the Welfare Budget.
It has become apparent that this innovative, flagship project has been hit by an IT glitch, somewhat reminiscent of the NHS farce.
The Independent reports that the scheme has been placed on a Treasury list of projects in crisis. That sounds quite bad to me.
Universal credit has a development budget of £2 Billion. It is supposed to be a paperless on-line IT system for claimants that would bridge the DWP’s data with the Treasury. However, the project is already suffering a £100 Million overrun. There are also concerns that a further £300 Million is being hidden by rising costs reallocated to child support payments.
A reorganisation of the complex IT system, following the departure this month of key senior civil servants in charge of universal credit, could mean an overrun of £500 Million by next spring.
There you are, we’ve just saved the Met’s Budget again.
Then I moved on to
A confidential Ministry of Defence memo says that corrosion on the UK’s new fleet of hunter-killer submarines was caused by cost-cutting and warns that quality controls have been ignored, the Guardian can reveal.
Written by a senior analyst at the MoD, the memo says the corrosion is a “cause for major concern”, and that the first three Astute class boats are likely to experience “severe problems” in the future.
The £9.75bn fleet was commissioned 15 years ago to become a cornerstone of the UK’s naval attack capability, but a range of design and construction flaws have emerged.
The boat has yet to start formal service, Astute – four years overdue and £2bn over budget – has been surrounded by controversy since it was first commissioned 15 years ago. Is this really acceptable? Do we have to live with such apparent incompetence? What would be the outcome if we behaved as incompetently as that?
Submarines that leak, whatever next?
A government U-turn over fighter jets for the Royal Navy’s new aircraft carriers cost taxpayers £74m, says the National Audit Office. The decision to scrap an order for jump jets, which was later reversed, had been based on “immature data and flawed assumptions”, it says in a report. Labour says the report “lays bare this government’s incompetence”. But Defence Secretary Philip Hammond says the U-turn will save money in the long run and is backed by the NAO. “Not only did it save £1.2bn; it also means that by 2018, we will have fifth-generation stealth jets flying off the new Queen Elizabeth Class carrier,” says Mr Hammond.
My last was this one
Firstly our old friend Iain Duncan Smith and his Department of Work and Pensions. It seems that they are quite likely to have to scrap their entire IT system for Universal Credit and start again from scratch.
£300 Million wasted. #Austerity? Not in Whitehall apparently.
A review by Universal Credit director general Howard Shiplee will apparently recommend two options for the future of the IT developed so far, which go even further than previous reports have suggested.
Option one would mean scrapping all the work done so far, thereby admitting it is not fit for purpose, and bringing most of the development of new IT systems in-house under the control of the Government Digital Service (GDS).
Option two would involve continuing to use some of the existing IT to support the current Pathfinder pilot projects, but developing new systems for the full roll-out – effectively delaying any decision to throw away all the work completed so far.
Option 1? Option 2? Both of them seem to involve scrapping everything at some point, whatever. The Cabinet Office, which controls GDS, is understood to favour the first option, while the DWP prefers to continue with the current IT for as long as possible. Two branches of the same government with opposing views, where have I heard that before?
The final decision will probably be made later this month by the Ministerial Oversight Group for the troubled welfare reform programme, led by Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Iain Duncan Smith.
The National Audit Office (NAO) said in a highly critical report on Universal Credit in September that £303m had been spent so far on IT. Of that amount, the DWP has already admitted to writing off £34m of IT work, although that figure is likely to end up even higher whatever happens.
Labour’s shadow secretary of state for work and pensions Rachel Reeves wrote to the Prime Minister last week, urging him to “start taking responsibility for this fiasco”. She added: “David Cameron has serious questions to answer about how he has allowed things to get to this stage and how his complacent, incompetent and out-of-touch government has wasted scandalous amounts of money on a half-baked plan IT now can’t deliver.”
Don’t sit on the fence Rachel, what do you really mean?
But if all of the IT were to be scrapped, the NAO report suggests that the final figure for the write-off would be in excess of £300m.
Most of that money has been spent with the four key IT suppliers for the project – HP, IBM, Accenture and BT.
The other piece of disastrous news that caught my eye this week was in relation to my old favourite – Aircraft Carriers.
The cost of two new aircraft carriers being built for the Royal Navy is expected to be almost twice the original estimate, the government is expected to confirm this week.
In the latest budget, the Ministry of Defence is set to estimate the cost of the two ships at £6.2bn.
£6.2 BILLION. What on earth are they doing? How many hospitals, schools, police officers etc etc could be funded by just the difference in cost between that and the original. Six years ago, when the contract was approved, costs were put at £3.65bn
The shadow defence secretary, Labour’s Vernon Coaker, said: “This is the latest in a series of financial fiascos in the MoD under David Cameron. It’s that word fiasco again (see above).
This government seem to be very good at cut cut cut in just about every public sector. We must all pull together, this is a national crisis, a time of severe austerity, and all of these cuts have to be in place before 2015 because we know we don’t stand a snowball’s chance of being re-elected.
Whilst, at the the very same time, they are increasing their salaries, increasing their pensions, and their expenses have almost returned to the excesses of the bad old days. Only a few days ago was there news about how they were claiming for gas and electricity in their second homes, and as one of my Twitter colleagues put it “Why do they need to do that, because if they’re heating their second home they’re not heating their main home, or cooking etc?”
So nothing has really changed since we spoke last. We are most definitely NOT All In It Together and the ConDem government that NOBODY voted for has shown just how arrogant and uncaring they can be.
Trouble is, it’s left me the dilemma, Who the hell do I vote for in 2015?
Answers on a Postcard please, assuming that Royal Mail still exists when you read this.
Since my last, our friends in the media have come to our aid and published this
Government departments have apparently poured £5.1 billion down the drain as the result of mistakes, write-offs and compensation.
The Department of Health, for example, was said to have wasted £761 million – including £49 million to exchange Tamiflu vaccines which were ordered just in case there was an avian flu epidemic, and went out of date
That was just part of the £255 million worth of vaccines that went out of date and had to be thrown away.
Likewise the Department of Health spent £28.5 million to make staff redundant during the reorganisation of the NHS. Yes they have to pay redundancy, and they are spending money to save money, but £28.5 million? Really?
Other payments are hard to put down to anything other than incompetence – including £1.2 million lost to the Department for Education because a school made a payment to the wrong account. WTF??
£11 million lost by the Department for Work and Pension because it overpaid work programme providers.
£1.74 million spent by the Home Office on scheduled flights that it later cancelled. This is not the biggest up-cock but it’s up there amongst my favourites as it involves our dear and sanctimonious friend Cruella and her Department. Pots and Kettles dear.
The Ministry of Defence wasted £4 million on the early withdrawal of the Sea King helicopters, and £7.2 million on a mobile mine detection system that didn’t work.
Boots and Aircraft Carriers that can melt, submarines that leak, Flights never taken or cancelled, Mine Hunting System that plain doesn’t work, Withdrawal of the Sea Kings too soon, Shall We, Shan’t We? Fighter Planes, Let’s just pay this money into the wrong account, the list goes on. If you were a Finance Manager and this on your CV what would the likely outcome be?
So yes, I am cynical, whilst I do believe #Austerity exists, I also believe that it’s a highly convenient hook for this government to hang its hat on and slaughter all those public services in its sights, and we, the Public, don’t know any better, kept in the dark and fed Bullshit – The Mushroom Syndrome.
#CutsHaveConsequences, but not, it seems, for the criminally incompetent Bar Stewards that re wasting BILLIONS of our Taxpayer pounds, spending it like it’s their own, but it’s not, it’s ours.
Tot up the figures above (loosely OK) and tell me how many Cops, Servicemen, Nurses, Doctors etc etc could be retained even if only for a few years more.
Then Call Me Dave and his cohorts can try and convince me where I’ve gone wrong and that it truly is necessary and NOT a Vendetta.