UK Government Investments Ltd piles high the losses

UK Government Investments Ltd is another of these 100% government owned arms length bodies. It is meant to supervise and manage the governments substantial holdings in nationalised businesses and its stakes in private sector companies. Last year to March it ran up costs of £23.4 m paying its CEO over £260,000 and its staff a media salary  of  £91,000 each. The Treasury made £24 m available to it to pay the bills. The auditor agreed it is a going concern because the Treasury will make cash available to pay the losses.

So what magic did we get for this expenditure? Why not rely on  departmental  supervision of these bodies which happens as well, with Ministers being more involved? Just look at what has been happening under UK GI’s  stewardship.

Post Office. PO has accumulated losses of £1390 million. It has presided over the calamity of the sub postmaster accounting system. Recent stories suggest senior management is still not resolving the issues rapidly enough despite ministerial policy to do so.

Network Rail. Despite owning all the track and stations with a monopoly the remaining net asset value of Network Rail is just £15 bn. £ 55 bn has been expensively borrowed against its network assets. It lost £1140 million last year.

The British Infrastructure Bank  . A relatively new venture, this lost £21.4 m last year with costs of £35.8 m. It is planning to commit £22 bn to investments, with £10 bn of that being guarantees and the rest debt and equity underwritten by taxpayers. The Bank does not expect to be profitable anytime soon. I expect it will be able to deliver that forecast.

Sheffield Forgemasters is a government owned defence supplier. It lost £5 m pre tax last year but does have positive assets and provides some important products.

Nat West. UK Government Investments says it engaged with Nat West as  shareholder over culture and values . It was very quiet over the leaks from Nat West and the resignation  of the Chief Executive. Clearly its engagement did not prevent serious problems.

OneWeb   This investment is now sitting on big losses. It has been rolled into EUtelsat as a UK minority holding, only for those shares to fall more. Difficult to see why the UK taxpayer should be losing money in a 10 % holding of a European business like this that it is not currently making us  money.


Sizewell C   Much delayed and over original budget.

The government should get rid of this body and go back to more detailed supervision by ministers advised  by their departmental official who currently help supervise these businesses . This track record is very poor and not worth £24 m a year.




  1. Everhopeful
    February 20, 2024

    Do not worry!
    They have VALUES!
    In fact apparently they have EXCEEDED their diversity target.

    1. Peter Wood
      February 20, 2024

      Si J,
      Thank you for highlighting this incompetence. Have you sent a question to the relevant Minister(s) to be answered in the House?
      We here are the complainers, you are the weapon…

      1. formula57
        February 20, 2024

        @ Peter Wood – Rather than expend the effort, time and cost of asking a parliamentary question let us go straight to the expected ministerial answer that I offer below, viz:

        “My Right Honourable friend makes a good point and I thank him for his question. I note UKIG has been active in a number of instances but certainly relevant ministers might do well to involve themselves to a greater extent, time and resources permitting.”

        1. Peter Wood
          February 21, 2024

          Yes, quite probably. Suggests a probable existential disaster: lazy, incompetent and inexperienced ministers, causing a loss of confidence in the democratic and parliamentary system ultimately resulting in societal breakdown and anarchy.
          Ah, well, there’s sport on TV…..

    2. Donna
      February 20, 2024

      I’m sure they all have very robust systems for their Devil Gas accounting as well.

      1. Hope
        February 20, 2024

        Figures out today 1.13 million immigrants economically inactive! Taxpayers paid £24 billion since 2010 when Tory party came to power. Another record. Figures produced by ONS highlighted by the Centre for Migration Control. Despite this Sunak allowed 3.5 million immigrants into our country over the last two years, against repeated promises to severely cut the numbers! The EU Equality legislation Sunak recently imposed on us undoubtedly to keep our country in lock step with EU and to keep us quiet.

        JR, we can no longer afford your idiotic party any longer. You are ridding us of our nation state, increasing crime by immigration, forcing alien cultures upon us, taxing us to the hilt, providing pitiful public services and a Home Office resoundingly not fit for purpose. When is Rycroft being sacked?

    3. Hope
      February 20, 2024

      JR, Sunak just betrayed the nation, once more, by introducing EU equality judgements from ECJ into domestic law adding Red burden to business!! This will mean a host of bureaucracy in public sector and private sector with much litigation. Equality legislation introduced by Harman/Blaire from 2010 should be scrapped! Your party and govt adding bureaucracy every day after we clearly voted to leave the EU! What part does Sunak not understand? Integrity, my arse.

    4. glen cullen
      February 20, 2024

      Thats a blessing ….I bet they all have robust decarbonisation plans

      1. Hope
        February 20, 2024

        Sunak tells farmers today he has got their back. The same man who got rid of fuel duty on red diesel increasing farmers costs and increase the price of food in UK!! JR, has Sunak got difficulty with his memory? Or is this another integrity issue he has failed on? The country was promised money when we left the EU CAP racket rigged towards French farmers. Does the border down the Irish Sea help N.Ireland farmers? Or goods checked between GB and N.Ireland! Can we expect total EU lock step through the EU vetinary scam?

        1. glen cullen
          February 20, 2024

          Don’t worry Sunak’s just forgot what party he’s in … doubt someone will remind him come election time

  2. Mark B
    February 20, 2024

    Good morning.

    Apart from Oneweb, this is what is left once you have sold off all the Family Silver. And as for Oneweb, isn’t that supposed to be a rival to Elon Musk’s, Starlink ?

    It is like looking at the story of the R100 and the R101 all over again.

    1. David Andrews
      February 20, 2024

      Oh dear! Isn’t state investment supposed to be Labour’s idea of how to rebuild the UK economy? What deluded fools.

    2. Martyn G
      February 20, 2024

      Interesting that you should mention the R100 and R101. The R101 was built by the Government under the control of the Air Ministry, effectively in competition with the Government funded but private initiative. The author Nevill Shute was on the R100 design team and in print criticised the way the R101 was being constructed.
      The R100 was very successful and made transatlantic and other flights, whereas the R101 was an unmitigated design disaster before it ever took to the air and its crash halted the Imperial Airship scheme. In other words, if you want something done correctly, keep the government and CS right away from it.

    3. Mark
      February 20, 2024

      Are they investing in the new hydrogen hubs?

      1. Mark B
        February 21, 2024

        No, but they are investing in Carbon Capture. This is designed, apparently, to soak up all the CO2 the Chinese and Indians are producing.

  3. DOM
    February 20, 2024

    There’s no solution to such public sector abuse and even if such organisations are hived off to the private sector they are still run by public sector grunts who ensure eventual failure. The only possible solution is for management to be financially punished for not achieving targets and no one is going to embrace that challenge

    Even the unions involved in such organisations work hard to ensure failure hoping at some point to be taken back into the public sector. The rail industry is such an industry. There’s simply no punishment for this destructive behaviour

    I’ve given up caring

  4. Ian wragg
    February 20, 2024

    It’s only taxpayers money, why should they cate if it makes a loss
    What happened to the bonfire of the Quangos, another broken promise.

    1. Mike Wilson
      February 20, 2024

      What happened to the bonfire of the Quangos

      The matches were damp.

    2. agricola
      February 20, 2024

      Ian, the Downing Street cat pissed on the matches.

    3. glen cullen
      February 20, 2024

      I can see another round of knighthoods

      1. MFD
        February 20, 2024

        All these Knights should be forced to sign an acknowledgement that the will ride into battle in the front tanks in the event of war- just like the knights of old used to do!

        1. Mickey Taking
          February 20, 2024

          Just how many tanks do you suppose we have that might be expected to work at the front line?

          1. glen cullen
            February 20, 2024

            The British Army has just 157 Challenger 2 main battle tanks (MBTs) either on or available to undertake operations within a 30-day work-up period, out of a theoretical fleet of 227 vehicles …14 have been supplied to Ukraine and from 2027 the 148 Challenger 2 tanks will be upgraded to the Challenger 3, and third will always be in-service maintenance, therefore 100 tanks

    4. Timaction
      February 20, 2024

      After14 years there’s a sudden acknowledgement and rush to try and rectify the total mess this Tory Government has made. A reminder. Mass immigration at net significant costs and quality of life reductions for English people. Highest taxation for the worst health and public services everywhere. Appalling negotiations and outcome agreement with the EU at huge cost for a trade deficit whilst tied to a host of their rules and future choices. Giving our fish away for a interconnector power agreement where we’re relient on their power at their whim. Net stupid where we pay more for our energy than practically anywhere else on Earth, whilst exporting our manufacturing to China, whilst allowing them tarif free access to our market producing the same goods by coal power stations. Paying 1.6 million legal immigrants welfare some immediate minimum wage workers being paid in work welfare and health, schooling and housing subsidies for them and their families. Student and social care workers needing replacement every year, why? Interfereing Quangos, Councils and other public services working from home doing nothing and employing Diversity and Climate Change personnel busy bodies everywhere. Socialism is killing us under Tory rule. Just go. We need Reform before they call in the IMF to stop your Governments reckless spending at my expense.

      1. MFD
        February 20, 2024

        Agreed, we are being scammed every day of the week.

      2. Narrow Shoulders
        February 21, 2024

        Mass immigration and welfare state are incompatible. Without welfare state immigrants will inevitably resort to crime ergo we need welfare state.

        Which variable in the equation might be eradicated?

    5. Mitchel
      February 20, 2024

      The Quangos fought back and incinerated the taxpayer.

      1. Narrow Shoulders
        February 21, 2024

        Very good

  5. Lifelogic
    February 20, 2024

    Yet more depressing wasting of tax payers money, the highest taxes for 70+ years combined with dismal and still decling public services of very little value.

    David Frost today “We’re on the new road to serfdom: our property is no longer our own
    From your house to your body, the assumption is that it’s fine for the state to make decisions for you”. What on earth is socialist, VAT on school fees and Greta Groupie Michael Gove doing in the Conservative Party? Let alone a Minister?

    1. Lifelogic
      February 20, 2024

      For growth and to win elections then just ditch net zero, relax planning, reduce the size of government, cut taxes & have a bonfire of red tape. But even in its dying days this appalling Con-Socialist government is still piling on ever more Sunak/Gove socialist lunacy, planning restrictions & ever more red tape.

      Still pushing net harm Covid vaccines into people too. Why? See Dr John Campbell Loss of Lives for a review of excess deaths around the world. Rather less so in Eastern Europe though with rather lower vaccination rates.

    2. Lifelogic
      February 20, 2024

      So Kemi Badenoch accuses Henry Staunton of a series of “completely false” accusations, telling MPs there was no proof that Staunton had been told to delay payments and that such an approach would be “mad”. “There is no evidence whatsoever that this is true,” she said.

      Well perhaps no evidence that Kemi has seen so far but it might well emerge. The delay approach might be mad Kemi but then these endless delays and obfuscation would certainly be entirely in keeping the line the government has consistently taken for 20+ years on this issue. Also on the blood contamination scandal, Hillborough other similar matters and now the far larger Covid Vaccine damage, Sunak still idiotically advising people and parliament the Covid vaccines are unequivocally safe – which is clearly nonsense and probably a blatant lie. People still even now being jabbed.

      Bear in mind that if you want any Covid Vaccine compensation you must ensure you are at least 60%+ incapacitated. So the mere loss of a leg and one arm, some heart damage, an ear and an eye might not suffice.

      I would be very surprised if within the department and at the post office there is not a vast quantity of evidence of deliberate delays and obfuscation over 20+ years Kemi.

      How is that deluded, climate alarmist dope with his language skills and a PPE degree – one Ed Davey getting on – had he done the decent thing and resigned yet? How many LibDim deposits will be lost at the General Election I wonder? Hopefully his will.

    3. a-tracy
      February 20, 2024

      Oh, it can and will get worse. “The highest rate of income tax peaked in the Second World War at 99.25%. This was slightly reduced after the war and was around 97.5 per cent (nineteen shillings and sixpence in the pound) through the 1950s and 1960s.”

      The OECD said “The news comes as separate figures showed the UK also now faces the highest level of property taxes across the developed world.” Labour have said they want to implement an extra four bands slightly reduce the bottom three A-C and increase all those above D.

      1. Lifelogic
        February 20, 2024

        You are alas probably right.

      2. hefner
        February 22, 2024

        And how many tax payers (what fraction of the population) were actually paying tax at these highest rates? What were the rates successively applied to increasing amounts of income? Don’t you think that without that information your comment is quasi worthless?

    4. MFD
      February 20, 2024

      Good question sir,

  6. Michelle
    February 20, 2024

    I note though the government will be checking up on the little people to make sure they don’t earn a couple of hundred quid on the side on one of the on- line outlets.
    A couple of hundred so they might be able to keep the heating on for an hour longer, or buy the kids something.
    A drop in the ocean compared to the money the government has already taken from people and wasted.
    The salaries for all these quango staff are an extra drain on the already exhausted little people, and it doesn’t seem to matter how useless they are does it, their jobs/salaries and pensions will be gold plated.

    The Sheriff of Nottingham has got nothing on those that rifle through our pockets daily.
    Perhaps we need our own Robin Hood.

    1. Donna
      February 20, 2024

      Or Robespierre.

      1. hefner
        February 20, 2024

        Maximilien R. also ended up on the guillotine. Then after R’s fall, the ‘Directoire’ that followed saw the return of bourgeois values, high levels of corruption, military failure, then a coup with Bonaparte/Napoleon who acted as a dictator. Is it what you are looking forward to?

        1. Everhopeful
          February 20, 2024

          When the people are being beaten with a stick, they are not much happier if it is called “the People’s Stick.”

          1. Mitchel
            February 21, 2024

            Bakunin didn’t write that much-he was too busy putting his ideas into action during the mid 19th century-but what he did write is well worth reading,particularly ‘Statism & Anarchy”.A true prophet!

    2. Neil
      February 21, 2024

      Exactly. JR cited a median salary of £90,000 per annum for UKGI. Surely the UK median salary remains near £30,000/annum? Heads the quangoes win, tails the little people lose.

  7. Sakara Gold
    February 20, 2024

    You could say the same about all the QUANGOs that, for reasons that are unfathomable to me, get to spend about 25% of government expenditure.

    Some of these are extremely obscure, but the Establishment tolerates them because they allow political patronage aka “jobs for the boys and girls”

    Look at the disaster that NHS England made of the pandemic. Thousands of lives lost – and £billions spent

    1. Berkshire Alan
      February 20, 2024


      Not just the pandemic, now we hear that even the NHS waiting lists are not complete, with another 1.4 million people waiting for specialist treatment to be started/completed.

    2. fishknife
      February 20, 2024

      We seem to have ruled out Von der Leyen, Sunak, Starmer, Davey, Tice, Boris & (Truss) as a prospective PM, not even Farage wants the job, and who can blame him – until such time as the realisation dawns that the inherant greed in Democracy needs to be curbed by the reality that we can’t spend more than we earn.

    3. Lifelogic
      February 20, 2024


  8. Wanderer
    February 20, 2024

    You paint a vision of a black hole of unnacountabilty, ineptitude, wastage, greed (for budgets, power and status) and (my assumption) corruption into which my taxes disappear and which causes a ballooning debt that we will also have to pay.

    It’s a sad reflection of humanity. If only governments were smaller and not able to borrow/print money profligately, they would they would waste less. But looking at my Parish Council, even at the smallest scale they would still find plenty of ways to waste my money.

  9. Everhopeful
    February 20, 2024

    A lot of the directors seem to be “investment bankers”. can that be?
    Would they keep their jobs with such losses in the private sector?

    1. Mickey Taking
      February 20, 2024

      was it ‘Investment bankers’ or similar?

  10. Sakara Gold
    February 20, 2024

    Yet another British high street name is about to disappear. The predatory American activist investor Ellliot and a Chinese e-commerce firm called are bidding for Currys

    This unwelcome takeover is being facilitated by the weak exchange rate, as after 14 years of government mismanagement of our finances, the national debt doubled and now exceeds £2.75 TRILLION. The government is borrowing £120bn a year to pay the interest – which then gets added to our total indebtedness. Zimbabwe dollar anybody?

    Sunak, who printed more money than any Chancellor in history, should devise a plan to pay down the national debt before the IMF force us to. Mind you, his current economic plan is also failing and has been repeatedly rejected by the electorate at the recent string of by-elections

  11. BOF
    February 20, 2024

    Do they have DEI manager? And if so how much is he/she or ‘they’ paid?

  12. Sharon
    February 20, 2024

    I’m being serious here… let Kemi Badenoch loose in these quangos and organisations. Let her work her way through the bosses or whoever is responsible for creating these mammoth losses – and sack them!

    Losing the millions or billions of pounds of money is not good enough, so they should be replaced with someone who can do the job!

    Smash the destruction of the country at government level!

  13. Hat man
    February 20, 2024

    OK, let’s take the Post Office. How can it make money, when most of its income is hived off for privatised Royal Mail? Under the latest plans, P.O. main branches will get less than a fifth of the price of Special Delivery Parcels and First Class parcels, for example. For branch post offices the figure is even smaller. Your party in government decided to set up a Royal Mail that would make money for shareholders, while the rest of what was once an integrated system is condemned to making losses. Very much like what John Major ‘achieved’ by privatising the railways. Following a model for failure wasn’t such a good idea, was it?

    1. Original Richard
      February 20, 2024

      Hat man : “Your party in government decided to set up a Royal Mail that would make money for shareholders, while the rest of what was once an integrated system is condemned to making losses.”

      I think the Post Office is probably not the only example of this model.

  14. agricola
    February 20, 2024

    If UKGI Ltd is, as your last paragraph suggests, advised by civil servants on behalf of ministers, then I question the wisdom of allowing them anywhere near any revamp closer to ministerial responsibilities. These bodies seem by any other name to be quangos, designed by government to keep responsibility at arms length. A process that costs the taxpayer mega bucks.

    Take the Post Office, while forgetting its criminal activities for the moment. It has many competitors from the private sector who all seem to operate at a profit. Failure in this area would lead to their demise. Confront the private sector with the task of moving mail around and see who wants to run it at a profit. Amazon run a very slick service for anything the family order so why not with the mail.

    Then there are the vast array of abused post offices throughout the country. Let them become limited liability companies and allow them to be run as the owners see fit. One gaping opportunity they could fill is to replace our retreating banks in every high street, acting as their agents for a basic fee and commission.

    Almost every day there arises a major disaster at the hands of government, ably assisted by the opposition demanding more of the same only larger. Richard Tice must find this very gratifying, in that it writes the Reform manifesto for him in capital letters. You SJR and some fifty of your colleagues could ably assist in its writing, rather than continually ask of a government that fails to respond even when its house is on fire.

  15. Sea_Warrior
    February 20, 2024

    I’m wondering, Sir John, if the de-banking scandal has been resolved to your satisfaction? The government has had long enough.
    OneWeb? A Cummings hobby-horse.

  16. David Cooper
    February 20, 2024

    “Government Investment” – an oxymoron. Now, if the latter word had been spending, subsidising or squandering…

  17. Berkshire Alan
    February 20, 2024

    As with all Governments, and particularly this one, the more you hear the worse it gets.
    I actually think back bench Mp’s are being short changed on information, with many having no real clue as to what is really going on.
    It just seems like a money pit of casual incompetence throughout

  18. Handbrake
    February 20, 2024

    Taking back control might not have been the best idea – if we were still in the EU there might at least be some oversight of our affairs to keep us on the rails

  19. James1
    February 20, 2024

    What a catalogue of woe. Failure awarded with a bigger budget. They are not needed. The solution is glaringly simple. Shut them down immediately and privatise any assets. Just turn the lights off, lock the doors and sell the buildings or leases to the highest bidders.

  20. Mickey Taking
    February 20, 2024

    and just when you think it couldn’t get worse….it does.
    David Cameron’s government knew the Post Office had ditched a secret investigation that might have helped wrongly accused postmasters prove their innocence, the BBC can reveal.
    The 2016 investigation trawled 17 years of records to find out how often, and why, cash accounts on the Horizon IT system had been tampered with remotely. Ministers were told an investigation was happening.
    But after postmasters began legal action, it was suddenly stopped.
    The secret investigation adds to evidence that the Post Office knew Horizon’s creator, Fujitsu, could remotely fiddle with sub-postmaster’s cash accounts – even as it argued in court, two years later, that it was impossible.
    The revelations have prompted an accusation that the Post Office may have broken the law – and the government did nothing to prevent it. Paul Marshall, a barrister who represented some sub-postmasters, said: “On the face of it, it discloses a conspiracy by the Post Office to pervert the course of justice.”

    1. glen cullen
      February 20, 2024

      We’re living in an episode of ‘Yes Minister’

  21. Donna
    February 20, 2024

    President Milei of Argentina has slashed Government spending by 50% in order to restore his country’s economy to sanity. But then, as we saw when he lectured the WEF on their Socialist policies, he’s a conservative.

    The Blue-Green-Socialists masquerading as Conservatives in the UK appear to be on a mission to print and squander as much money as they possibly can …… a scorched earth policy for Labour to inherit with taxpayers forced to pay for it.

    1. glen cullen
      February 20, 2024

      He wants the Falklands; we should give him the whole of the UK …maybe than we’d have a conservative government

  22. Bloke
    February 20, 2024

    Adding a body to oversee and regulate government is daft when that lax body needs so much overseeing of itself and still can’t do anything useful. An efficient government or an efficient opposition could do the job simpler and more effectively.
    Adding yet another overseer to oversee UKGI would be the likely response of this worthless government. SJR is a more efficient overseer than the UKGI and the opposition combined. The rest of this current crazy government needs dumping.

  23. Donna
    February 20, 2024

    Off topic:

    Reported in connection with the EV battery recycling plant fire in France yesterday:

    “Lithium batteries, found in e-scooters, are the fastest growing fire risk in London, with the London Fire Brigade called to an e-bike or scooter fire once every two days on average last year.”

    When are the Blue-Green-Socialists going to admit that EV’s are dangerous? When there’s a fire in the Channel Tunnel or on a ferry …. or will they wait until one suddenly goes up in flames on a motorway and causes a multiple pile-up and deaths?

  24. Original Richard
    February 20, 2024

    These are all organisations who, like many others, have been captured by the communist fifth column and are deliberately working to damage the UK economy and social cohesion.

    In the case of the ONR, the Office for Nuclear Regulation, or rather Reduction and Sizewell C :

    – The recent video from EDF partly blames the increasing costs on the ONR for requesting 7000 design changes to adapt to UK regulations requiring 35% more steel and 25% more concrete. A claim which the ONR has of course denied :

    – Note that the same technology, EDF’s EPR at Olkiluoto, Finland, although also very late, is supplying electricity at £53/MWhr, half the price of the next renewable auction (AR6) for unreliable, chaotically intermittent fixed offshore wind (over £100/MWhr).

    – Professor Dieter Helm of Oxford University told the BBC that the cost of HPC would have been halved if the Government (Cameron, Osborne & Davey) had borrowed the money itself instead of using Chinese capital at 9%. Instead it will be at £128/MWhr (2023 prices).

    – A Secretary of State for BEIS wrote to my MP to say there would have been a £30bn saving if HPC had been financed by RAB instead of CfD.

    But even with the HPC enormous cost overruns the cost of replacing HPC works out at 40% cheaper than unreliable fixed offshore wind (£/supplied power/year).

    In addition the ONR has unexpectedly delayed approval for the RR SMRs to 2029 to allow a competition to take place instead when we could already be building the much needed reliable power for the early 2030s using a UK company who has supplied the nuclear power for our submarines for decades.

  25. peter lawrenson
    February 20, 2024

    J Hunt gave £20bn to Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in last years budget, and recently C Coutinho has given £40bn to Drax for CCS on top of the £600m per year Drax gets as a subsidy to burn American trees. Drax generates a year aveage of 1.58Gw – 5.3%of UK electricity, but only 1.06% of UK energy. So with Drax being a private company, who is looking after that money, is there a financial return on that money, and who is spending it? Does UK Government Investments Ltd monitor it?

    1. Lifelogic
      February 20, 2024

      Why any subsidy at all as burning new wood from chopped down forrests brying the wood, shipping it in on diesel ships is worse in environmental terms, economic terms and produces more CO2 not less. Burning local coal would be far better.

      1. James B
        February 21, 2024

        ‘Subsidies’ now seem to consist of straight wealth transfers from the poor to the rich, the opposite of the way progressive taxation worked for 30-40 years after 1945.

        Not only is up to £60,000,000,000 arguably going to a ‘boondoggle’ but the marginal cost pricing system for electricity disproportionately rewards most generators most of the time. It’s in use in the EU, not just the UK. One well-known Greek politician called it ‘scam of the century’. It adds at least several £100 to an average bill of say £800 per annum (for someone with a modest house, gas or oil heating and no elec. car).

        Trebles all round for those that already have ££££££££. Cold homes and food banks for those who have v. little.

  26. ChrisS
    February 20, 2024

    Well your Party has been office for over a decade. Why haven’t you sorted this out?

  27. majorfrustration
    February 20, 2024

    The Government is more than happy to sub contract its responsibilities that way they have no accountability.

  28. Ian B
    February 20, 2024

    Sir John
    ” go back to more detailed supervision by ministers”

    That’s what we empowered and paid this Conservative Government to do when we elected them. This Conservative Government is now stealing our money, taxpayer money to pay for their own inadequacies and refusal to manager.

  29. Bryan Harris
    February 20, 2024

    Thanks for exposing all of this – Incredible!
    So in addition to a dysfunctional Treasury and number 11 – The quangos are also competing to see how much taxpayers money they can burn. That bonfire is well overdue

    How does Parliament let this continue – What are the various oversight committees doing about all of this – They are just as responsible.

    As for UK Government Investments Ltd which seems to pay all of its income on salaries – Atrocious! Very reminiscent of some Charities that only exist for the CEO and top staff to milk supporters for anything they can get.

  30. Brian Tomkinson
    February 20, 2024

    When are you MPs going to do something about these scandals? As I have written many times, this is the worst government and parliament in my lifetime and I’ve experienced many bad ones.

  31. glen cullen
    February 20, 2024

    With the costs of UK Ltd, Net-zero and Migration; no wonder my taxes are so high
    And they all have one thing in common, they’re inventions of this Tory government, all could be stopped tomorrow
    Oh how the ‘new’ tories love to spend

  32. Richard Jenkins
    February 20, 2024

    I see from LinkedIn that the CEO of UKGI has the distinction of having worked at both Lehman Brothers and Credit Suisse.

    1. Mickey Taking
      February 20, 2024

      Oh dear !

  33. Keith from Leeds
    February 20, 2024

    The only solution is to cut the budgets of all Quangos by 50% from the next financial year, then a further 50% the next year.
    Where is Mr, there is no room for tax cuts, there will be tax cuts, big tax cuts, Oh perhaps not just modest ones, Hunt in this scandalous waste of taxpayers money?
    He seems to sit in his office completely out-thought by the negative treasury mandarins. A tough Chancellor would have shut down the OBR immediately, and then sorted out other Quangos and under performing Government financed public bodies as well.

  34. acorn
    February 20, 2024

    Around 80% of the £300bn spent annually on ALBs goes to just three bodies: NHS England, the Education and Skills Funding Agency and HMRC, which fund the NHS, schools and some benefits respectively. Furthermore, higher inflation means public bodies’ spending review settlements are now less generous than expected and some bodies have had to take on additional functions previously performed by EU institutions. (IfG)

    We would add, however, that these deficiencies raise broader issues about how government functions and the place of quangos, particularly around how they are created, governed and disbanded (NIHR ARC South London)

    The significant funding cuts required by the Government, the lack of a cohesive strategy and the continuing emphasis on the NHS to reduce lengthening waiting lists, with a disillusioned and overstretched workforce, does not bode well for the future adequate funding and strategic thinking for public health. It also raises issues around how quangos are set up and destroyed at the whim of (in this case very) transient politicians. (NIHR ARC South London)

    1. acorn
      February 20, 2024

      BTW. The EU Current Account surplus amounted to €260 billion (1.8% of euro area GDP) in 2023. The UK had a Current Account deficit of £127 billion (4.9% of UK nominal GDP). Have you Brexiters spotted the primary problem yet?

  35. Jude
    February 20, 2024

    Yet again Sir John, you highlight governance irregularities with taxpayers funds. No one ever seems to have accountability, in fact its more like all involved have immunity from fraud or mishandling public money.
    Definitely more examples of …the lunatics running the asylum!

  36. RDM
    February 20, 2024

    Do you really believe Ministers are better placed to Oversee these Businesses, would they be equipped with the Geopolitical or Strategic questions necessary? Most MP’s don’t even bother to get to know or understand the Business, let alone the Industry in which it operates! Take Virgin (Primary) Steel Making, within GB, and it’s relation to World markets. Most MP’s are either total ignorant or don’t have enough knowledge to be effective! E.g Dumping isn’t just about lower Prices, or Poor quality Steel, it about Market Capture and Positioning of State Industry’s! The EU, China, and India, all have such Strategic interest! There are idiots that think Electric Arc steel re-cycling would be sufficient, for our needs, so they allow the destruction of a fundamental Industry! You take Kemi Badenoch, undoubtedly, very clever, but she is not just wrong but misguided! Surely, it’s beyond just my opinion to see the Strategic need of such a fundamental Industry like Virgin Steel making? Also; Whole sections of society relay on these high valued Industry’s; The Poor, Working Poor, and Blue Collar Workers are dependent on these high paying industry’s (better then being dependent on the State, and Benefits)!

    So, now no Port Talbot Virgin Steel Making, and next we will have cut’s to Benefits, of the very People they have betrayed ? Sorry, not confident in you’re follow MP’s or Ministers!

    Why have sole State ownership, and why not a Golden share (51%), with Private Sector involvement? As other country’s do? Even the USA uses hybrid models of ownership? Wouldn’t a hybrid model, of both Public and Private sectors, be a better way to go, for daily control of the asset, if not the Oversight, with MP’s then, being better placed? Nuclear,…

    I know you ask questions, as important as that is, but a lot of MP’s don’t, or are very narrow minded in their outlook! I’m not sure follow MP’s listen to senior Politicians, like yourself! Too busy looking after their own interests!

    Also; there are other influences involved! Members of the HoL activity like to control these industries, especially, industry’s like MOD Procurement! They are known to do deals for control of these assets, for whatever reason!

    Strategic assets do tend to lose money, initially, but are held for a reason. So, I don’t really understand some of these losses?

    Just a thought!



  37. Kenneth
    February 20, 2024

    …and look at this waste our money:
    “HMRC Spending £8 Million Annually on Press Staff Alone”

  38. formula57
    February 20, 2024

    I note UKIG tells us “We work closely with both the private and public sectors, advising and interacting with ministers, Parliament and Whitehall departments”.

    A sound HR person once told me those whose job descriptions are filled with advising, interacting, co-ordinating, assisting, liaising etc. likely do not have a real job, one that adds value to the employer.

    It appears the merit of UKIG is concentrating expertise in one body, itself then available to many Whitehall users. Looking at UKIG’s own record of activities, all could be bought in from the private sector on a needs basis, perhaps to better effect.

  39. HF Clark
    February 20, 2024

    You suggest closer oversight by ministers, Sir john.
    But how many minsters, present or future, have the capability, knowledge and skill to do so?

    1. Mickey Taking
      February 20, 2024

      I think you forget what oversight means? Let me help you:
      It is when you remember X from private school, decent sort of chap, had lovely guns, gun-dogs, yacht, darling wifey.
      Or, ah yes that chap – wonderful parents donated £thousands every year for the alma mater, invited some locals along for a BBQ most summers to the modest estate, some rather nice originals hanging on the staircase.
      Got it now?

  40. Bert+Young
    February 20, 2024

    These loss losing subsidiaries simply reveal that those in Government do not know how to manage – ” the fault lies in the stars ” as the saying goes . MPs shout about all sorts of things but management is another thing . There is no substitute for practical experience and this is not a required feature in the selection process of an MP . Frankly if I had any say in the matter I would fire the lot and start again ; the public have had enough of the present process and its representatives .

  41. formula57
    February 20, 2024

    Concerning Natwest, what is UKIG meant to do beyond bank the dividend? The most momentous action in recent times was by ministers who decided contrary to its own Board’s decision that its CEO should be dismissed yet the chairman who presided over the scandal is left in place, that despite a successor having been selected.

    The reply I received from some middle manager inappropriately describing himself as an “Executive Director” of the bank to my letter to Howard Davies urging him to go to assist the bank’s recovery reached levels of smug complacency even the public sector rarely achieve. Apparently the public apology extracted from the bank was quite enough, the shameful activities at Coutts were an isolated incident, and the bank’s decision to leave Davies in place was consistent with what many unidentified people had recommended. Has UKIG no remit to ask questions about board composition?

    1. Will in Hampshire
      February 20, 2024

      The government is a minority shareholder in NatWest (it has just under 40%) so without the support of other investors can’t assert or dictate anything to the company. There’s no special or “golden” share in this case.

  42. G
    February 20, 2024

    Fascinating article! Shocking figures – sounds like some very dark corners that need very bright lights at last.

  43. a-tracy
    February 20, 2024

    Does the UK have an investment fund?
    “UK Government Investments (UKGI) is the government’s centre of expertise in corporate finance and corporate governance. UKGI works with HM Treasury is supported by 1 public body.”

    Hahahahaha ha. If this is expertise, god help us. Why do we never see these senior executives interviewed on tv news shows being held to account? How did they make losses?

  44. a-tracy
    February 20, 2024

    Doesn’t anyone else think it’s concerning that Britain’s recession is announced just before two by-elections, and then a couple of days later, Bailey is suggesting it may already be over?

    Andrew Bailey has raised hopes that Britain’s “very small recession” may already be over amid “distinct signs of an upturn”. Appearing in front of the Treasury Select Committee, Mr Bailey said: “We’ve had this period of rapid disinflation, we’ve had restrictive monetary policy but in all the measures we use the economy appears to be at full employment.

    “That is a very good story. We don’t want unemployment rising rapidly. It has happened in the past when we’ve taken these sorts of actions.

    “So I would just say against a lot of talk of what we think is going to be a very small recession, we think the economy is already actually showing distinct signs of an upturn.”

    The BoE expects progress to be made on wage growth, yet the government followed recommendations to put up the NLW by 10% this year and last. Do you all expect the middle bands to be happy with 3-6% any longer?

  45. Ukretired123
    February 20, 2024

    Appallingly out of anyone’s control.
    Time to set up a professional and independent Trouble – shooting outfit that has really sharp commercial teeth.
    Unfortunately this will never happen as the Civil Service will ensure it fails.
    Torpedoes from the Blob, but not for the Armed forces.
    Fidget while Rome burns springs to mind.
    Non financial PPE graduates in charge but not in control.
    No one has the sheer guts to grasp the nettle, like Mr Pickles, Mrs T and a few others sadly.
    Thanks again SJR for your keen observation on so many fronts. While you have a radar daily scanning the dysfunctional activities at top level we need more like you.
    Meanwhile Von Der Leyen 5 year legacy in EU is really concerning.
    Unbelievable our BBC ITV and MSM never highlight. all the above but cater to dumbing down by default.

  46. Linda Brown
    February 20, 2024

    EU membership encouraged lack of aspiration and thinking in member states so that it could rule like a communist state. This country lost the intelligence to see what was going on until quite late on. Then some of us fought back but it was too late as the mass was converted by bad schooling (comprehensive drivel) and plenty of welfare payments to go out and buy up all those lottery tickets and booze from supermarkets via Mr Blair and his employees. The Tories have continued with the charade and we are now where we are and there is no way back. My Grandfather said at the turn of the 20thC that in a hundred years the blacks would be in control here and we did not believe him. It is coming to pass. Is anyone going to do anything about it and convert the new arrivals to decent Christian ways. Welby seems to have failed totally. Christianity has caused a lot of harm by way of the humans in charge but I think it is better than what we are going to get.

  47. Roy Grainger
    February 20, 2024

    Do you have any examples of “ministers advised by officials” being able to run multi-billion organisations like this more competently than the arms-length bodies ? Which of the current ministers and officials have any relevant experience ?

    I expect the answers to those questions are “No” and “None”.

  48. Robert Thomas
    February 20, 2024

    I agree with you about UK Government Investments; seems a very costly supervisory board. Do any of the invested Co:s get any added value from their presence ?
    But it is in the nature of venture capital that one winner can make up for many losers and in Sheffield Forgemasters the Gov’t seems to have a winner. It could be the key to the introduction of SMRs and even help in bringing down the costs of large nuclear plants.

  49. iain gill
    February 20, 2024

    I remember seeing the announcements from ministers during covid that they would ensure that that the UK home produced a percentage of its own PPE, to stop us being completely dependent on imports from China of such critical goods.

    Where are these new PPE production facilities in the UK? I am interested?

    Or is this another part of the critical national infrastructure that we have abandoned, yet again, despite promises to the contrary from politicians?

    1. Clough
      February 21, 2024

      Good question, Iain – where are they? And where are the Nightingale hospitals? Looking back, so much of the whole business was a con trick. We must not fall for media hysteria again.

  50. Will in Hampshire
    February 20, 2024

    Many of the cases listed by our host are the consequences of particular circumstances, but OneWeb stands out to me. This was Dominic Cummings’ pet project, I can’t imagine that any Permanent Secretary in the MoD or any other department would have advocated it. If individuals should bear responsibility for this loss, the individuals should be him and his master Boris Johnson.

  51. Derek
    February 21, 2024

    Are these failures and losses not proof enough that shows ANYTHING under Government control does not work efficiently enough for them to continue to over-manage them?
    Hand EVERYTHING over to the PRIVATE SECTOR that doesn’t concern Parliamentary work. Especially all Government buying and also the planning of all projects. Not mentioned here, are the terrible losses within the MoD down to incompetence, inefficient planning and dodgy purchasing contracts. Whose heads will roll for those disasters? Is nobody responsible anymore?
    Or is it the case we have insufficient numbers of qualified and experiment men and women out there to run these profligate Quangos, et al? As they may have left our shores to work with more welcoming Nations, instead? Hmm.

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