UK: How to waste the tax payer’s money

img zebra crossing In times when governments – particularly in Europe – leave an ever growing number of their citizens after taxes and social security just with enough of their income to barely survive, more and more rumors and stories stories surface how bluntly this money is then blown by the administrators.

One might get the impression that the control mechanisms that once worked so-so in times of “national security” crazes are more a toothless tiger then ever before. Try arguing with an administrator that money is wasted when the only thing you get is a sheet of paper with general summary items paid for and all details are declared classified.

At the same time top incomes, where some once felt “social responsibility”, thanks to so called “Neo Liberalism”, pay almost no taxes today.

The USD 30 billion that the US administration recently acknowledged to be every year “not accounted for” – read: have disappeared – might be the top end on the scale of tax payer money wasting.

But in the UK mere mortals now have a new way to remind themselves why they pay taxes and how their money then is wasted. Every time they see a zebra crossing…

For those not familiar with the UK road system we sometimes were close to believe that someone in the administration must be obsessed with building zebra crossings and round-abouts. Drive around in London for a hour and you will most likely have passed at least 50 zebra crossings and dozens of round-abouts (we suggest 3:00 to 4:00 am – otherwise you might have just moved 100 meters).



The British newspaper Daily Mail this weekend revealed how much is spent on each newly build zebra crossing – an astonishing GBP114,000 (USD235,000).

The figures for one of these crossings include GBP11,000 (USD23,000) for “design work”, GBP16,000 (USD33,000) is spent on the beacons, electrical wiring and road signs, but the biggest item (GBP87,000 – USD179,000) is accounted as labor costs. Tory MP Oliver Letwin who found out about these numbers, after initial refusal of the administration to provide data, said: “…If the pay rate of the labourers is, say, £20 per hour, then the crossing must take 4,350 man-hours to make … more than 100 man weeks, or 50 people working for two weeks…

…The pressure group Taxpayers Alliance said the price tag for a zebra crossing was one of the “worst ever examples of waste of public money”.
Chief executive Matthew Elliott said: “It is typical of the profligacy and waste in the public sector. The Government wastes £101billion each year with precisely this sort of over-priced scheme.”…

(please see the Daily Mail article for comments from the UK Highways Agency that is in charge for constructing zebra crossing and other road works)

Meanwhile – in completely unrelated news – the following advertising by a UK Government job centre was revealed:

link to Daily Mail article We believe there are a few things notable about this ad: First, the job centre is legally obliged to carry these kind of advertisements (if they want or not) but GBP8 for an hour “full body work” through the night shows again how low wages have become in the UK and that London seemingly is not part of that country anymore. Try to find a plumber or a guy with a van in London below GBP50 an hour. Second – as they saying goes – long term job tenure is not worth anything in that business, so no pension. And anybody seem to be able to do it – no training required.

Nevertheless, that leaves us with a – we believe – better comparison that a woman in the UK has to strip naked or do nude show continuously for more than 50 years (13% tax rate plus soc. security) to pay for one zebra crossing while it takes some guys in the city only a few hours to rake the same amount into their pockets…


info via: Daily Mail





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