Parliament Spending £80 Million to Find Out How Much Renovation will Cost

Parliament’s restoration and renewal saga has hit another expensive milestone today as authorities begin an £80 million four-year programme to survey the estate. Surveyors are being recruited to scour the Palace of Westminster over the next half-a-decade, carrying out over 100 surveys to map what has to be done to preserve, restore, and renew the crumbling parliamentary estate. Costs for the full programme are currently guesstimated to be in the region of £12 billion.  Spending £80 million to find out a specific sum for how much the programme will cost is more thick of it than the thick of it…

mdi-timer 29 March 2021 @ 16:21 29 Mar 2021 @ 16:21 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
MoD Protecting Boris’s Third Taxpayer-Funded Photographer

The Ministry of Defence is refusing to disclose how much taxpayer money is being wasted on Boris’s third No. 10 photographer, rejecting Guido’s FoI request on the matter. A month ago it emerged not only is the PM spaffing £100,000 pro-rata on Andy Parsons and £60,635 on new hire Simon Dawes, a third MoD photographer – Pippa Fowles – had been seconded to snap Boris. She was behind the infamous Dilyn snow frolicking pics, which accidentally revealed Carrie’s personal mobile number…

Guido requested to know Fowles’s pay band, however the business services department claim they have no obligation to disclose whether they even hold the information on “personal information” grounds, even though figures released by the department in 2015 did reveal such informationLooks like we’ll have to go on presuming the 2015 £38,000 figure is in the right ball park…

mdi-timer 9 March 2021 @ 13:34 9 Mar 2021 @ 13:34 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Parliament’s Penny-Pinching Pandemic Fight

Guido must congratulate the Houses of Parliament for being one of the few examples of public sector frugality in fighting Covid. After reporting on Lindsay Hoyle’s new Covid testing centre that had been set up for Peers, MPs and staffers, an FoI was promptly lodged asking about its total cost, which has now been revealed to have come to just £1,691 of Commons cash. Further, no extra staff have were hired to administer the tests, with nine existing staff being redeployed. If Rishi wants to start saving money after the government’s Covid battle, he should consider putting Sir Lindsay in charge of test and trace…

mdi-timer 3 March 2021 @ 10:46 3 Mar 2021 @ 10:46 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Boris’s Dolittle Approach to Taxpayer Money Waste

Last week, the Mirror revealed No. 10 now hires three official photographers – Andrew Parsons, Simon Dawson and Pippa Fowles. Today the public got to see the fruit of their taxpayer-funded labours: a four-part photoshoot of Boris’s dog Dilyn frolicking in the Downing Street garden snow. According to 2015 figures, this photographer could be earning up to £38,214…

Not to be outdone, Larry the No. 10 cat also got the luxury treatment yesterday, posing under a portrait of another elderly fat-cat who likewise lives a life of luxury at the public’s expense.

As much as Guido is a sucker for a cat picture on the internet, Parsons is on the part-time equivalent of £100,000 and most recent hire Simon Dawson rakes in £60,635. It seems Downing Street’s concern for frugal use of public funds has gone to the dogs, three official photographers are not a sign of efficient Conservative government with careful stewardship of public money.

UPDATE: Asked at Lobby why Boris’s photographers are taking pet pics, Allegra Stratton said “These photographers document the work for the government as well as the work inside No. 10”. When pressed on how Dilyn playing in the snow constitutes “work inside No. 10″ Stratton doubled down: “They document, the work of not just the Prime Minister, but the whole of the cabinet.” Big promotion for Dilyn if true…

mdi-timer 10 February 2021 @ 13:47 10 Feb 2021 @ 13:47 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Taxpayers Cough Up £160,000 for FCDO Re-Brand

While the total cost of the FCO/DfID merger will end up being in the millions, FOI figures seen by Guido show the basic cost of rebranding and rolling out the department’s new name (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) rounds up to an eye watering £160,000. Guido imagines taxpayers might feel a bit FCDOff about that cost…

While the new logo came to just £429 + VAT thanks to the government’s in-house design agency, it’s been estimated by the department that the cost of implementing the logo – including their shiny new Whitehall brass plaque and stationery – will hit £158,631 by the end of 2020/21. Given the UK still gives aid money to foreign powers with nuclear weapons programmes, the department’s new stationery splurge comes in as a relatively minor waste of taxpayer cash…

mdi-timer 7 December 2020 @ 15:00 7 Dec 2020 @ 15:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Foreign Aid Funds Chinese Rice Advice

As the world’s second-biggest economy lands a third moon landing to bring back lunar rocks to China, the Department of Business Enterprise and Industrial Strategy is sending the Chinese £478,906 to help them grow more rice. What next, sending sand management consultants to Saudi Arabia?

The half-a-million in spending was uncovered by the Taxpayers’ Alliance, Guido doesn’t see why Britain’s taxpayers should be sending foreign aid to nations that are nuclear powers with space programmes. If a country wants to prioritise nuclear weapons, British taxpayers should not be effectively subsidising that. In the event of emergencies and natural disasters – like famine, flooding and earthquakes – we can make an exception.

If the government is going to amend legislation to make the 0.5% aid budget permanent, it would be a good opportunity to add a clause preventing aid being sent, as a matter of course, to nations with nuclear weapons. So China would not normally be a recipient of foreign aid. This would also exclude nations such as the three unofficial nuclear powers which have not ratified the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty – India, Israel, Pakistan. The Foreign Secretary would have to certify that the aid being sent to such a country is for an urgent emergency. 

mdi-timer 30 November 2020 @ 11:06 30 Nov 2020 @ 11:06 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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