British workers are “shouldering the highest tax burden since the end of the Second World War”, says Camilla Tominey in The Daily Telegraph – and we’re about to be hit by a national insurance rise in April. Yet the money we hand over to the government is spent appallingly. There are 330 civil servants paid more than the prime minister’s £160,000 salary – Mark Thurston, chief executive of HS2, is on a whopping £620,000 a year. I’m sure this “fat-cat controller” is perfectly capable at his job, but if we can find someone to run the country for £160,000, then why not a railway line to Birmingham?
The waste goes far beyond plush salaries. Last November, the civil service sent staff on two-day wellness courses which included activities like a “Beginners Guide to Crystal Healing and Deep Relaxation”, and “reshaping negative thoughts and language into positive affirmations” – all taking place during work hours. The Department for Health and Social Care spent nearly £50,000 on takeaways from “Bong Bongs Manila Kanteen” during lockdown. “Do civil servants not know how to make a sandwich and place it in a lunchbox?” In total, more than £5.5bn is being wasted across the government, according to a November 2020 investigation by the TaxPayers’ Alliance. “This lack of respect for the taxpayer is obscene and needs to stop.”
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