[Pounds Sterling]22m to Find out That Car Drivers Hate Jams
Byline: SONIA PURNELL
THE fruits of Labour's massive spending on focus groups and private opinion polls have been revealed.
Among the insights gained from the investment running at [pounds sterling]1million a month are that drivers dislike jams and commuters hate late trains.
Many ministers, including Health Secretary Frank Dobson and Chancellor Gordon Brown, have trebled their monthly spending on opinion research.
Departments such as Trade and Industry, Agriculture and the Cabinet Office have also increased their outlay threefold on people's panels, focus groups and surveys over the previous government.
The total of [pounds sterling]22million spent since Labour came to power has sparked fresh accusations that Tony Blair seeks to govern by opinion poll rather than by conviction.
The Prime Minister has already been accused of ordering air strikes against Iraq because a focus group wanted Britain to 'punch above its weight internationally'.
The [pounds sterling]22million figure - which would pay 1,500 new nurses for a year - includes [pounds sterling]500,000 for the polling organisation MORI to run the People's Panel, 5,000 randomly-selected individuals who are regularly consulted to see what 'ordinary' people think.
Recent 'findings' by the panel include the conclusions that trains are unreliable, that public transport costs too much and that roads are too congested. …