Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Money matters - or does it?

As we reflect on misuse of public funds - with current scrutiny on one Conservative MP's decision to employ his son as a researcher, a piece on the Ekklesia website highlights a situation of significantly larger financial significance:
"The giant arms company BAE Systems is so far over budget with two of its latest projects that they will cost UK taxpayers £2.2 billion more than expected, a government report acknowledges. Peace campaigners say it is a scandal.
"The figure is revealed in a report by the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, which looks at BAE's contracts with the Ministry of Defence. The Committee found that the budget for BAE's Astute Submarines has increased by 47% and the budget for BAE's Type 45 Destroyer ships by 18 per cent."

and on a similar theme, Jeni Russell in the Guardian ... "We rage at Hain and Conway but miss the real profligacy: MPs' much-publicised transgressions are as nothing against the gross waste of public money on PFIs and consultancy" ... in which she illustrates her argument thus:

"... misjudgments, like many of the PFI contracts, or Brown's decision in 2003 to sell a stake in the MoD's research arm, QinetiQ, demonstrate the government's continued tendency to be shockingly naive when it negotiates with the private sector. Within three years, that company had been floated for £1.3bn, giving its directors a return of 20,000% on their investment. The government got an annual return of 14% on its stake, while the private company got 112%."