Whisky, bunny costumes and pot-plants: Are MPs wasting £120bn of public money annually?

Whisky tasting, the purchase of pot-plants and hiring a bunny-costume are some of the more outlandish purchases MPs made this year, which contributed to a “waste” of more than £120bn , according to the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA).

The organisation, which campaigns for much lower taxes said it believed that one in every six pounds of public money spent was unnecessary and that putting an end to the spending could save the equivalent of £4,560 per household.

Some of the most conspicuous outlays made at the taxpayers’ expense include:

  • £342,000 spent on a Foreign Office-funded TV series that was not completed before the production company was dissolved
  • £3,860 spent by Angus Council on a whisky tasting event for international golfers.
  • £33,333 spent on pot plants by the Welsh Government
  • £70 spent by the Forestry Commission on a bunny outfit

However, many items the TPA highlighted as “waste” may be highly surprising to many LondonlovesBusiness.com readers.

The report was harshly criticised by trade unions as it includes nurses’ salaries and benefits for better-off families and pensioners as “waste”.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “These made-up numbers are based on extreme views such as every nurse is overpaid and that people who have worked hard and paid into the system should not get benefits. It’s a spectacular own goal.”

Other major items included:

  • £20.6billion in public sector fraud
  • £1.9billion on foreign aid due to the international development budget being protected from cuts
  • £1.6billion in sick pay due to higher rates of absence among public sector workers
  • £1.4billion paying GPs more than their French counterparts
  • £1.2billion on NHS clinical negligence payouts
  • £1.1billion in “excessive subsidies to train operating companies”

TPA chief executive Jonathan Isaby said: “We need a war on waste if taxpayers are to secure a better deal from the endless layers of government which are spending their hard-earned money.

“Politicians and bureaucrats are still squandering our cash while families struggle with punishing levels of taxation.

“Rooting out that wasteful spending once and for all will mean that more money can be left in the pockets of taxpayers, who are by far the best judges of how their own money should be spent.”

According to the Express, a cabinet office spokesman said: “We are determined to spend taxpayers’ money efficiently and so, as part of our long-term economic plan, we are tackling the waste in Whitehall.

“Last year alone we saved £10 billion but hard-working people expect us to do more and we will”.

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