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Who's Spending Britain's Billions?
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Jacques Peretti is on the warpath again. The light-footed investigative reporter is angry about waste in the public sector. In an early scene here he takes to the water to give us a glimpse of a vast aircraft carrier being built in Scotland. The original budgeted cost for a pair of these new ships: £3.6 billion. The actual cost so far: £6 billion. The expected cost by the time they’re in service: up to £12 billion, by some estimates.
It’s a shocking start, but Peretti doesn’t attempt to unpack where megaprojects like this go wrong – instead he focuses on how local authorities pay management consultants (PricewaterhouseCoopers comes out of the film particularly badly) large sums for “operating model assessments” and “transformation programmes”, with the firms often taking a percentage of savings they find. It’s not a pretty picture.
Jacques Peretti looks beyond the well-known budgets of schools, hospitals and foreign aid to the range of taxation projects the public know less about. Peretti finds that local councils across the UK are signing contracts with management consultancy firms who can take a percentage of any savings they find. He also reveals that hundreds of the millions of taxpayers' pounds spent on these contracts are covered by confidential deals, meaning very little detail is known about them. In this revealing insight, Peretti asks if the public deserves to know more about how those charged with managing the nation's billions are spending it.
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