Sunday, 18 May 2008

Spending Other People's Money

IMAGE: Peter Stubbs

The Daily Telegraph today launched a new campaign, Waste Watch, to highlight some particularly flagrant examples of waste of taxpayer's money by Government departments and public services.

A couple of the examples aren't particularly impressive - an investigation into a police authority member who wrote "I will not be responsible for my actions if I manage to get hold of these out of control yobs." does not seem to me to be disproportionate.

But others are all-too-familiar examples of Government spending other people's money on other people*. In particular...

Unlike some of the other recent logo-related cock-ups that have provoked much amusement on the blogs this year, there doesn't seem to be anything egregiously wrong with Huntingdonshire District Council's logo.

At the same time, it's hardly a masterpiece - Yet it cost the council taxpayer an obscene amount of money. According to the Cambridge News, £29,000 paid for a design agency to design the logo, carry out consultations and produce some guidelines for its use. Would anyone not spending other people's money on other people consider spending £29,000 on a logo?

Does anyone else reckon that if they'd simply held a competition among art & design students (a little bit like this one, I guess - they do get it right once in a while) and had the councillors vote on the entries they could have saved a hefty chunk of that £29,000, and finished up with a logo at least as good as the one pictured above?

The Daily Telegraph joins Burning Our Money and the Taxpayers Alliance in monitoring Government waste.

* Milton Friedman:
"...Finally, I can spend somebody else’s money on somebody else. And if I spend somebody else’s money on somebody else, I’m not concerned about how much it is, and I’m not concerned about what I get. And that’s government."

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