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Called to Account

UK Publisher: Little, Brown

In a recent study of 61 hospitals, it was found that they bought 21 different types of A4 paper, 652 different kinds of surgical gloves and 1,751 different cannulas.

Police forces could cut the cost of their uniforms by over 30 per cent if they all bought the same one. But they disagree on how many pockets they need.

Having committed to buy two new aircraft carriers, the MoD realised it didn’t have the funds to buy them. The delayed delivery cost an additional £1.6 billion.

We’ve spent £500 million on an abandoned project to centralise 999 calls; £3–5 billion on privatising the Work Programme; £700 million on implementing Universal Credit (used by 18,000 people); £20 billion on medical negligence claims; £70 billion (and counting) dealing with nuclear waste at Sellafield, and countless millions on IT investments in the BBC, the Home Office, the NHS . . .

Waste is everywhere.

Fighting against this waste is the Public Accounts Committee, which oversees some £700 billion of public spending every year. As its chair from 2010 to 2015, Margaret Hodge knows the excesses of government bodies better than anyone. Conversational, witty, engaging and packed with anecdotes and insights about the biggest political figures of our time, Called to Account shines a light on some of the most fascinating – and alarming – issues that face Britain today.