Friday, 4 March 2011

Saving Money the Government Way

I notice reports in the Sun that the MOD is paying £22 for a simple light bulb. 

I’ll leave aside the question of whether the Sun’s picture is accurate, and that the MOD define bulbs as a ‘lampfilament’ in which case if they can buy them where can I get a similar simple filament 100watt bulb from. The cost is just another absurdity among many. 

NHS suppliers, MOD suppliers and the like, aided by EU and by government regulations ironically intended to enforce competition, have been able to treat the taxpayer as a bottomless money pit for years. The profiteering is astonishing and the lack of oversight by those in control of our money is staggering in its degree of laxity.

One problem, which I have experienced at first hand, is the entire nonsense of the way tendering under EU and government rules distorts the market. I can remember, when working in a government funded institution, the days when you could submit a costing then if approved, buy the things that were needed. If you needed, for example, 3 computers for new offices you could go down the high street, or online and get the best deal going. Saving money and often supporting local and small business.

When EU tendering rules came into play the institution was forced to get tenders for supply of computing equipment, sending the finance people off on paid jollies with the supplier representatives to make a deal. After then, if you needed 3 new computers they had to come from corporation ‘A’ or corporation ‘B’. Small business couldn’t even get a look in. On a top line item the price was OK, but as always it’s the unplanned consequences that matter.

When one of the computer users needed something extra, like a second data gobulator, that had to come from the same corporations, and instead of a few quid in the high street it’s 5 or 10 times the price. If a machine failed needing, say, a replacement disflabologiser then we were unable to claim a few quid from petty cash, go buy one and have it all fixed by lunchtime. Instead the corporate engineer had to come, pronounce the disflabologiser faulty, then arrange another visit or remove the machine for repair. In the meantime the user twiddled their fingers for a week or so or had to be installed with a temporary machine.

If the government and the EU would just get out of people’s lives, trust professional and trained people to do their job properly and let them get on with it, the working efficiency of the country would increase and the costs to the taxpayers would plummet.


  1. "If the government and EU would just get out of people's lives"

    Well if government and the EU would just drop dead...... - nothing like starting with a clean sheet!

  2. This is very true WfW, although we would probably find we had to pay for their funerals.