Sunday, January 07, 2007

In defense of 'wasteful civil servants'

The Tories are claiming that the fact that Government Departments spent around £3.8million ontaxiss last year is yet another example of Whitehall waste.

What irritated me was not the Torys trying to make a story out of this, holding Government to account for its spending is part of the Oppositions job, but the way the Sindy reported it so uncritically. Their article reads like they have just cut and pasted the Tory press release. There isabsolutelyy no attempt to put the figure into context. For instance how does this compare to the private sector. Given the fact that there are over 500,000 civil servants £3.8m a year does not sound an outrageously large figure to me, it may be that in fact that Whitehall spends proportionally less than large business.

Nor do they give any hint that actually most of this expenditure is probably completely acceptable in anybody's book. Do the Tories really expect that officials who have had to work until after the last tube has gone (it happens more often than you would think) should have to walk home? I know no private business would expect that of their staff.


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