by Margaret Hodge - £18.99 Little, Brown Book Group (Little, Brown) (2016)
hardback ISBN 13: 9781408708071 | ISBN 10: 1408708078
A jaw-dropping - and intimate - account by the woman who spent five years as the nation's watchdog of how much of the money needed for public services is misspent, while too many corporate giants get away without paying their fair share.
As Chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee from 2010- 2015 Margaret Hodge has been both the scourge of waste and inefficiency by successive governments. At the same time she has helped to disclose the chicanery of companies out to avoid tax. Fearing a summons before the inquisitor-in-chief, mandarins and chief executives quaked. Called To Account takes readers on a fascinating journey inside the NHS, the BBC and defence as well as Amazon, Starbucks and G4S. And comes to radical conclusions about how things must be improved.
The weakness of tax authorities in tracking down corporate tax and forcing companies to pay up Massive failures in public procurement - from committing billions to buy 2 new aircraft carriers when there was no money in the budget; to the absurdity that police forces could cut the costs of their uniforms by over 30% - if only they could agree on how many pockets they need; to a study of 61 hospital trusts which showed they bought 21 different types of A4 paper, 652 different styles of surgical gloves and 1751 different cannulas. The disastrous introduction of Universal Credit, at a cost of £700 million. How a £500 million project to centralise 999 calls had to be abandoned. How officials move seamlessly into well-paid jobs in the private sector while company directors are appointed into positions in government.
After the referendum, UK government needs to be fitter than ever before. And needs to secure maximum revenues. This conversational, witty and engaging book shines a light on some of the most fascinating and alarming issues facing us today and shows us the way forward - with salient and pragmatic solutions for the future.
(Price & availability last checked: October 2016)