Magazine article Public Finance

Round-Up

Magazine article Public Finance

Round-Up

Article excerpt

The ill-fated Beagle 2 Mars probe was 'doomed from the start' and should not have been launched, MPs have said. The Public Accounts Committee dismissed much of Britain's civil space programme as 'expensive, uncertain and over-ambitious' in a report published on June 9. Poor risk management, they claimed, left the £50m project with 'no real prospect' of success. 'It's an ambitious project, it's a good project, but it's got to be run properly on behalf of taxpayers,' chair Edward Leigh said.

Work and Pensions Secretary David Blunkett has launched a national debate over pension reforms. Blunkett wants the public to provide feedback over planned changes that will help to provide 'consensus, stability, certainty and fairness' in retirement planning. The government has faced stiff opposition to its public sector pension reforms. But Blunkett said: 'It's not enough just for politicians or industry to agree a way forward. This process will only work if people understand why changes have been undertaken and know they have played a part.'

The Assets Recovery Agency is to take on more investigators in a bid to double its caseload. However, the agency, which confiscates criminals' profits, has failed to meet its target of £10m, having secured recovery orders worth only £5.5m. The agency's director, Jane Earl (picture), said delays had occurred because of legal challenges to several cases. 'As we unblock other impediments to speed, we are committed to doing everything possible to meet all targets,' she said. …

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