By Christopher Hope, Whitehall Editor Daily Telegraph 10 Mar 2009
Britain has become a bureaucratic and authoritarian state watched over by a quarter of the world’s CCTV cameras, a study of Labour’s decade in power claims.
National debt is running at £175,000 per household, five times more than thought, while each year the Government has passed 3,500 regulations, along with 100,000 pages of rules and explanation.
‘The Rotten State of Britain’ claims to be the first “deeply researched factual account” of Tony Blair’s and Gordon Brown’s time in office.
The author Eammon Butler, a director of the leading think tank the Adam Smith Institute, claimed that his book had been turned down by two publishers because of the “unconventional” nature of the content.
He said: “A new form of centralised government and authoritarian government has been created that is worse than ever in Britain’s recent history.”
Among the claims in the book are that Britain has a quarter of the world’s CCTV cameras, the largest of any country and that taxes have risen by 51 per cent since 1997.
Mr Butler also claims national debt is running at £4.6 billion, or £175,000 per household, not £729 billion (£29,000 per household) as the Government claims.
In the audit of 10 years of the Labour Government, Dr Butler says that there are now 1,406 litter wardens and dog catchers who have been given powers to levy on the spot fines.
Dr Butler said he wrote the book because he got “so angry about the way that they have no concept of the rule of law”.
Dr Butler found that in just one year – 2006/7 – half of the 722,464 DNA samples collected by the police came from children, including a seven-month year old girl.
One in nine hospital patients picks up an infection during their stay on a ward, while the total cost of outstanding claims against the NHS is £9.2 billion, Dr Butler claimed.
He said that 30,000 of the 200,000 people who die of cancer and strokes each year would survive “if they lived anywhere else in northern Europe”.
Dr Butler also claimed in the book that the number of people receiving state benefits has risen from 17 million people in 1997 to 21 million people by 2007.
He found that nearly six million families receive £16 billion-worth of child credit. Dr Butler said: “It’s ridiculously high number of beneficiaries for something aimed to help the poorest.”
The result is that some families would be better off if the parents did not live together.
He said: “Three-quarters of the poorest households would be better off splitting up. And when money is tight, that is exactly what happens.”
THE ROTTEN STATE OF BRITAIN
“The idea for this book goes back some nine years’ Eamonn Butler says.
‘In 1997, New Labour seemed purposeful and businesslike.
They promised a new, open kind of government to repair
‘the state we’re in’. Perhaps they had changed, I thought.
‘Perhaps, under their stewardship, things could indeed
only get better. I have little faith in politicians, but I
thought they deserved the benefit of the doubt.
‘Two years later, though I had become completely disillusioned.
New Labour’s words were not being backed up
by deeds. In fact, things were getting worse, not better.
‘I started to gather the material that is the basis of this book.
‘It proved difficult to find a publisher for these
concerns. The overwhelming orthodoxy was that Gordon
Brown had proved himself to be a safe pair of hands on
the economy. And that the government was, for the most
part, in tune with the people.
‘I was told that it would be hard to find an audience for my view that
Gordon Brown’s obsessive focus on central targets, and his party’s
willingness to subvert the apparatus of the state for its
own advantage, have created, practically by stealth, a new
form of centralized and authoritarian government—far
worse than ever under Margaret Thatcher.
‘I was as delighted to find a publisher a year ago as I am
saddened by the state of Britain today.
‘Its financial condition is far graver than we deserve, its political elite
more dangerous, its liberties largely extinguished.
‘This book describes how the dishonesty, deceit and incompetence
of our leaders have left Britain in a truly rotten
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