Here are four of the comments made by Panel members about Gordon Brown’s record of wastefulness…

"Plug away at his failure to produce results for all the money spent on health and education."

"Attack his record on the economy and the huge increases made under this government in the number of civil servants/ bureaucrats/ hospital ‘managers’ the vast majority of which do more harm than good. Also the ridiculous amount of paperwork many of the public services have been budened with over the past 9 years must also be countered."

"Don’t fight on the amount that’s spent, but on how that amount is spent. The large and Brown-created body of public servants will be less antagonised by this but then how likely are they to vote conservative anyway, while most people are fed up to their back teeth with dirty hospital wards but brand, spanking new hospital offices for administrators."

"Highlight all reports of extra spending not leading to better results eg truancy, teenage pregnancy."

Most Conservatives agree that Gordon Brown is wasteful but there are many types of waste.  Here are a few I thought of…

  • Spending recklessly/ extravagantly – The trees in Portcullis House of Parliament spring to mind.  They cost hundreds of pounds and were they a good use of money?
  • Spending on white elephants – The Millenium Dome has to be the best example of a very expensive and useless project.
  • Spending without reform – Billions have been put into the nation’s schools and hospitals but the money has not been used to lubricate difficult reforms like more flexible pay arrangements and real parent/ patient choice.
  • Spending on ineffective things – The New Deal’s record at getting people into sustained employment is much inferior and more expensive than voluntary sector groups like Tomorrow’s People.
  • Spending on the wrong things – Windfarms spring to mind.  It’s a very expensive form of renewable energy.  Wouldn’t the money have been better spent on energy conservation or even, dareIsay it, nuclear power?
  • Spending on bureaucracy – Regional Assemblies.  An explosion of special advisers…

For more see Lee Rotherham’s Platform piece.  Lee is author of The Bumper Book of Government Waste.

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