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on 13 February 2006
This book has had a lot of mentions in the press recently so I thought I would find out what all the fuss was about.
I was really shocked to read how much of my tax money is being spent on hair-brained schemes and the comfort of fat cat politicians and their friends, when at the same time people are dying waiting for operations and kids are getting a bad education.
This has actually convinced me that politicans just cannot be trusted with our money-I for one would now rather spend the money myself and donate 500 pounds to my nearest hospice or care home than have to live with the thought that someone just received a huge paycheque for a patronising study telling old people how to wear slippers!
I think it is always important to remember that the more you have, the more you can give, and this book definitely shows that we should have more than we do now! It is time for this absurd behaviour to change.
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on 22 March 2006
Having just watched series one and two of Yes, Prime Minister, a review of the book, The Bumper Book of Government Waste, in the weekend papers caught my attention. On reading the review I immediately went out and bought a copy and read it cover to cover over a couple of evenings. As well as bringing a smile to my face on numerous occasions it also made my blood boil to think that the Government and its ministers can call upon money which isn't theirs and waste it, on seemingly, whatever takes their fancy.
Every tax payer in the land should read this book; how the Government gets away with what it does beggars belief. As a business owner I find the whole thing infuriating as there is now no incentive at all to run a business and employ people. It makes me want to throw in the towel and go and get a job as a civil servant, knowing fully well that I will be looked after, have a great pension and never have to worry about getting the sack from my job, no matter how badly I screw up!
The sooner the whole system of Government comes crashing to its knees the better.
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on 15 March 2006
The TaxPayers' Alliance has been getting some fantastic coverage in the media for its low tax campaign, not least due to the publication of the Bumper Book of Government Waste. The book is a comprehensive review of Government spending and how big government leads to high taxes which lead to huge waste and inefficiency. As a taxpayer, it is sometimes painful to read the examples of waste highlighted by Matthew Elliott and Lee Rotherham. It would be nice to think that there won't be a need for further editions of this book -- I somehow doubt it though!
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VINE VOICEon 13 October 2006
This book is definitely essential reading. You get the impression that our government wastes money anyway, but this handy little classic of a book puts it all in perspective. I agree with what some other reviewers have already written, all tax payers should be made to read this book, most certainly before any election.

All in all finely written, sharp, witty and to the point, Genius. It directs a firm two fingers in the direction of our tax wasting "betters", and I say well done!!!
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on 18 July 2006
Superb book. Touch of Robin Cooper's Timewaster Letters, which makes it informative and entertaining.

Did they ever get a reply from the President of North Korea?
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on 18 May 2009
Good Grief! is the only reaction to the contents of this invaluable aid to the public. The fact is that the majority of tax monies ARE wasted. This money details a few and no doubt the updated 2008 edition even more. I was interested to see that one of the worst offenders in Parliament even on the limited information around in 2006 was the disgraced "Labour" MP Margaret Moran (Luton South), recently exposed for cheating on a massive scale.

The problem is that government wastes so much money that even a book like this only scratches the surface. I saw no mention of the Blowpipe ground to air missile (OK that's an old story) with which even the experts were unable ever to score a hit. Millions and hundreds of millions wasted.

The whole system is rotten and needs to be purged.
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on 23 February 2006
The Taxpayers Alliance has done an excellent job in documenting £82 billion in Government waste. This ought to be a national scandal and the Conservative Party says nothing about it.
The best chapter in the Book is the one on The European Union (Pages 143 to 164) – best read when in a calm mood!
The shocking extent of MEPs' perks and benefits was exposed in the book for the first time. The information in the book is based on official documents issued to MEPs and staff leaked from the Council of Presidents of the European Parliament. European Parliament Members can claim expensive benefits and perks from spa treatments and acupuncture to mud baths and hydrotherapy - all paid by taxpayers. Among the freebies worth thousands a year, the most ludicrous come under "medical expenses".
MEPs and their families are each allowed up to 60 sessions a year of a combination of medical massage, medical gymnastics, traction, mud baths, hydromassage and hydrotherapy and may also claim 60 sessions of electrotherapy and 30 sessions of "aerosol" and "beam" therapy, plus 80 per cent off costs of 21 days' "thermal cure" at a spa.
The medical perks come on top of pay, pensions and expenses already enjoyed by MEPs.
The Britain has 78 - each estimated to cost taxpayers £2.4million a year. GREAT VALUE!
On top of salary, they can claim a "daily subsistence allowance" of £185 a day as well as all travel costs to and from the European Parliament.

How anyone can support the European Project after reading this still baffles me!
Another good chapter was on Public Sector Pensions (Pages 138 to 140). We are, of course, still paying for public sector employees even when they stop not working for us. It is a scandal. Because at the same time, there are now an extra 700,000 public sector pensions to pay since 1997, and with bigger pay packets to boot, it means the taxpayer has to fork out for a bigger pensions bill.
Official estimates put the current value of tomorrow's pension promises at £460 billion (March 2004). The actuarial profession as at March 2005 puts it nearer to £690 billion. But even these figures may need to be revised. A study by the Institute of Economic Affairs has found that the government has public sector pension liabilities of £817 billion, well above previous estimates.
So for those in the private sector, as the value of their own pensions fall, they will have to pay more tax to bail out public sector schemes. Council tax bills are already rising, partly to plug deficits in local authority schemes.
There is a pensions time bomb but politicians bury their heads in the sand like ostriches.
By that time the responsible politicians will have long since retired on a comfortable taxpayer-provided and index-linked allowance.

This book should be read all politicians before entering Parliament and especially George Osborne and David Cameron before they go any further down the road of no return.
All taxpayers should be proud of the work done The Taxpayers Alliance.
The following is a list of the SOME of the WORST examples (There are others!) of government waste and the money that could be saved on them.
Axing half of quangos: Quangoland costs at least £22.74bn a year. John Reid promised to half the number of NHS quangos to save £500m. If the same principle were applied to all quangos, taxpayers could save more than £11bn.
Overspend: Government overspent its budget for 2004/5 by £7.1bn.
Retirement age conditions: Aligning the retirement age and pension provision of public sector workers with the private sector would save £7bn.
Central government administration: The government is spending £21.3bn on administration in 2005/6, up more than 40% since 1998/99. During that time, prices have gone up 14%. This 26-point difference captures the £5.54bn of inefficiency and inflation-busting pay rises.
Abolishing the DTI: The LibDems say the Dti is a waste of money and are calling for its abolition, saving £5bn.
Unnecessary incapacity benefit: A third of the country's 2.7m Incapacity Benefit claimants could work immediately. This would save taxpayers' £4bn of the total £12bn bill.
Inefficient local government procurement: The CBI says councils are wasting at least £3bn a year because they are not squeezing value for money out of contractors.
Fraud and error in the benefits system: The NAO says fraud and mistakes in the benefits system cost taxpayers £2.6bn a year. Labour MP Frank Field believes that the real figure could be as high as £7bn.
Network Rail's inefficiency: Rail Regulator said that more than £1bn of Network Rail's annual spending was work "that the company does not need to do" and that £1.5bn could be saved "by eliminating waste and inefficiency."
Overspend on NHS IT: The NHS national programme for IT will cost up to five times the previously stated cost of £6.2bn. The total bill could hit £30bn, overspend of £2.38bn a year for 10 years.
British subsidy to overseas farmers: Britain's net contribution to the EU budget is £4.3bn a year. About 45% of the budget is allocated to the CAP, which means that over £1.9bn of British taxpayers' money went to overseas farmers.
Public sector IT projects: Public sector IT expenditure is in excess of £12.4bn. Assuming just 10% of this is wasteful spending, £1.24bn could be saved.
The growing cost of government regulation: The Government spends £12bn a year regulating our lives and businesses. If all government regulators tightened their belts by 10% taxpayers could save £1.2bn.
Overpayment of benefits: Over £1.1bn is owed to the Department for Work and Pensions.
State sector absenteeism: Public sector employees take an average of 10.7 days off sick a year, against only 7.8 in the private sector. The total cost of state sector sickness is £4bn so the extra time taken off costs taxpayers £1.084bn.
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If you thought you new everything about this government then I suggest you read this.
The book is not a waste of money, the government will do that for you.
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on 17 January 2009
...for such a small book. What should have been a damning analysis of government spending is, in fact, a long list. The authors do not define what waste is, after all, one mans waste is anothers essential spending. Nor do they go into the politics of spending. How does the government spend? Why does it spend? Where is it spent? Who benefits most? None of these important questions are addressed let alone answered.
Certainly, there is plenty to make the blood boil, but what is the point of that if there is nothing else? Irony comes in small packages. So does this book.
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on 18 January 2009
This little book is pretty devastating to Labours promise to reduce public spending. Laid out department by department, it is easy to see where our money goes, or doesn't as the case may be. The chapters on Information Technology, Politicians and The European Union reinforce the impression that politicians at all levels are getting fatter whilst achieving less. I shall be purchasing the latest edition of this book, not least of all to see if local MEP Tom Wise has, rightly, warranted a (dis)honourable mention.
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