Thursday, February 07, 2008

Lots of noughts

How much was BW's budget cut by last year because of the cock ups at DEFRA? Seven or eight million pounds, from memory? Cut from the funding of a directly government-run organisation. I read in the Guardian this morning that the government has found two BILLION - yes, not seven or eight million, but two million* million - £2,000,000,000,000 to bale out Metronet, who have cocked up running the tube under the Public Private Partnership forced through by Gordon Brown, when he was Chancellor, against the wishes of both the Mayor of London and the then Chief Executive of Transport for London.

The idea of BW being privatised, when it was floated (or flown as one might a kite) last year was met with horror - not least chez nb Warrior. But this just goes to show, if you want the government to dole out the cash, it pays to have the private sector on board. Canals can dry up, tunnels collapse, and fees rise for the sake of relative peanuts, but no private company can ever be allowed to lose money, despite one of the selling points of PPP supposedly being that they are taking the risk, this also being offered as the justification for the enormous returns they can garner on the rare occasions when they don't cock it all up. Why should they bother trying not to when they know that the taxpayer will have to fork out in the end anyway. How much of the twenty five billion sunk into Northern Rock will the government or the taxpayer ever see again?

And people worry about benefit scroungers and asylum seekers.

*If the Guardian has unexpectedly and inexplicably adopted the US interpretation of a billion, you can knock three noughts off that. Still leaves a hell of a lot though.

1 comment:

Martin said...

Hell Sarah,
here here, absolutely, and I couldn't agree more.I just thought I'd check out current usage of billion:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_and_short_scales