Saturday, 7 August 2010
Lord George Foulkes, the guardian of public money
I notice me old mucker (on the Public Audit Committee in Parliament) Lord George Foulkes is at it again. Mind you when the press encourage him by rewarding him with headlines like this one "£1million spent on ministerial limos" who can blame him? The story goes on to say that in the last year the Scottish Government spent almost £1million on limos and Lord George calls it "an astonishing figure".
If you carry on reading however you discover that the Scottish Government in its attempt to save public money has actually reduced overall travel costs by £1million representing a saving of roughly 18%. I will be pointing this out to Mr Foulkes next time I see him, as I always do. The fact that he's like a broken record and it's easy to switch off from the "same old, same old" is absolutely no excuse not to keep challenging him. (As an aside, he takes it very well!)
I would too if I had the same attitude to public money that he does. You know, the kind of attitude where you think it's perfectly acceptable to take £54,441 in allowances for your "job" in the House of Lords whilst you're being paid £56,671 as a Member of the Scottish Parliament.
If that newspaper article was more accurate the headline would read "£1million SAVED by Scottish Government on transport costs" but being responsible and thrifty is not the sort of story anyone's interested in is it?