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FOI Friday: Councils investing in tobacco, sheep worrying, posh cars and NHS exit packages

Councils investing millions in tobacco firms – Carlisle News and Star

Millions of pounds from pension funds held for local authority workers across Cumbria have been invested in major tobacco firms

Cumbria County Council, which also manages pension money for district councils such as Carlisle Copeland and Allerdale, has confirmed that more than £8m of the fund has been ploughed into the tobacco industry.

The information was released following a Freedom of Information request.

NHS redundancy packages soar – BBC

The cost of exit packages paid out by hospitals in the East of England in a bid to cut staff numbers has increased significantly, the BBC has learned.

Figures from 16 hospital trusts, which provided information for the current financial year, revealed the combined spending on staff exit packages had risen more than eight-fold since 2010.

More than £5m has been paid out by the trusts so far in 2011-12, compared with £1.65m the year before and £605,000 the year before that, according to figures obtained from a Freedom of Information request.

The luxury cars driven by council bosses – Liverpool Post

MERSEYSIDE taxpayers are funding top of the range cars for two Liverpool council executives.

City council chief executive Ged Fitzgerald and director of regeneration Nick Kavanagh, are already two of the highest paid officials with salaries of £197,000 and between £120,000 and £140,000 respectively.

But now it has been revealed they have been driving round the city in luxury vehicles paid for by the taxpayer – while the Labour-run council axed £140m from its budget over two years.

The cost of a botched murder investigation – Express and Star

A botched murder probe that led to five men being acquitted of a gangland killing cost police almost £500,000, it was revealed today.

Drug dealer Kevin Nunes was shot dead in Pattingham and led to jail sentences totalling 135 years for those accused of his murder.

But their convictions were quashed earlier this month following the release of a report detailing blunders by Staffordshire Police.

The Express & Star has learned that the six-year murder probe into Mr Nunes’ killing – which involved 180 officers and inquiries made as far afield as Jamaica – cost £496,000.

Figures released by the force following a Freedom of Information request show that £254,324 was spent on overtime costs.

Burglaries at schools – Teesside Evening Gazette

BURGLARS and thieves have stolen items worth more than £120,000 from schools over the past three years, police figures show.

Hundreds of items and thousands of pounds in cash were snatched from school buildings and grounds in Middlesbrough, Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland and Hartlepool areas between 2009 and 2011.

The swiped goods listed by Cleveland Police, following a Freedom of Information request, totalled more than £120,000 between 2009 and 2011. Many items, however, including laptops, bikes and copper cable were not given a value.

120 council crashes cost £25,000 – Islington Gazette

More than 120 crashes involving council vehicles cost the taxpayer almost £25,000 last year.

The figures, a result of a freedom of information request, show 122 smashes when council drivers were behind the wheel racked up a bill of £23,293 in 2011.

The council has around 200 vehicles in service, and around 75 of the crashes involved the council vehicle hitting something – including one repair cost of £1,800 when a council transit van reversed into a skip.

The cost of getting NHS reforms off the ground – Oxford Mail

Managers have spent more than £650,000 to cover for local doctors trying to set up new organisations as part of the country’s health reforms.

The Health and Social Care Bill gives GPs and other clinicians more responsibility for spending the NHS budget in England.

Freedom of information requests submitted to NHS primary care trusts (PCTs) by lobby group False Economy, show how many GPs are involved in setting up CCGs, how much time each is spending preparing the new set-up rather than treating patients, and the cost to the NHS of their being re-directed into managerial tasks.

The cost of replacing wheelie bins – Teesside Evening Gazette

Middlesbrough Council paid out £506,048 to replace 12,495 wheelie bins in less than three years.

The cost of providing such replacements has resulted in the authority bringing in a policy whereby residents contribute £25 towards each new bin.

In three years, the borough had 4,720 bins reported lost or stolen – costing £25,818 to replace. That makes a Teesside-wide total of £571,616.

The figures emerged after a request made under Freedom of Information laws.

Worrying figures about sheep worrying – Farmers Guardian

DOG owners are being urged to keep their pets on a lead and under control after research revealed 700 reported cases of sheep worrying in 2011.

Figures from police forces around the UK show the huge scale of the problem, with rural insurer NFU Mutual estimating the cost to farmers at £1 million a year.

Statistics obtained by Farmers Guardian under the Freedom of Information Act showed there were 691 incidents of sheep worrying by dogs last year. In many of these cases sheep were attacked, injured or killed.

The problem of stray horses – This is South Wales

CARMARTHENSHIRE Council has had to fork out more than £20,000 on tackling stray horses in Llanelli over the past year.

Figures obtained by the Star under the Freedom of Information Act show the authority has spent £23,000 addressing the problem animals since last March.

The council received 19 calls regarding 53 horses on the loose over the period — including 11 incidents where paid contractors were used to deal with the issue.

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One comment

  1. What’s this world coming to? Millions from pension funds being invested in tobacco firms… What’s next, welfare funds invested in illegal drug trade? What? It’s pretty much the same thing only tobacco is legal

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