Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Government accounting and BBC bias

The BBC have some interesting figures hidden away at the end of this report. These are the interesting sentences:
"Separately, auditors (The National Audit Office) have also questioned the accounts of two other government departments - the Treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

It found the Treasury overspent its authorized budget by £24bn, as a result of money poured into the asset protection scheme set up to support troubled banks during the financial crisis.

Due to the time pressures involved, the additional funding was not sanctioned by Parliament, the auditors found.

The Treasury said the auditor's move was "technical" and no concerns had been raised about the estimated cost of the banking measures given their importance to the economy.

In the case of the DWP, fraud and errors in benefit payments totalling an estimated £2.7bn led the auditors to give the accounts a health warning. "
So the Treasury authorised £24bn of spending without Parliamentary approval, so much for living in a democracy.

So the DWP fraud and errors are so high that their accounts have been given a health warning.

Thanks are due to the BBC highlighting these two stories, how fair-minded of them... Actually no; these facts are right at the end of a long article devoted to how "The Ministry of Defence has been accused of wasting millions of pounds by government auditors.". The figure the MOD have wasted must be huge then; certainly much more than the £2.7bn lost to fraud and error by the DWP. Wrong again, the figure is £155 million.

Now why might the BBC want to concentrate on a relatively small problem at the MOD and ignore the many times larger problems at the DWP and Treasury? Could it be because senior MOD officers have been criticising Government policy in this area and now the Labour/BBC alliance must get revenge?

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