How over £1.2million of taxpayers’ money is wasted on bizarre projects including remote control water guns

MORE than £1.2m of taxpayers’ money is being spent on a series of bizarre projects, The Sun on Sunday can reveal.

As the cost of living crisis rages, your money is funding programs across Britain and overseas, including remote-controlled water guns for adults and ‘folk shows’ to help fight change climatic.


£1.2million of taxpayers’ money is wasted on bizarre projectsCredit: Alamy

As families struggle to put food on the table, our survey found almost £140,000 has been spent by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to help Guatemalan migrants and Mexicans expelled from the United States.

Academics from University College London say they want to help asylum seekers from these countries to “speak their voice” and stand up for their rights.

Meanwhile, nearly £100,000 is going to an organization that offers life drawing lessons at Club Silly in Brixton, south London, where budding adult artists use remote-controlled water guns.

The amount paid by the Arts Council to the Office of Stupid Ideas is just one of many bizarre projects uncovered by our survey of government spending.

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“Taxpayers are fed up”

More than £300,000 has been allocated to a program to promote folk pageantry in Manchester to raise awareness of the droughts.

Researcher Jenna Carine Ashton has received money to study whether art can help educate people about environmental issues, with folk performances recommended.

The examples we highlight here are just a snapshot, and there are hundreds of other government-funded projects like this across the UK.

Our investigation raises serious concerns about how officials splash your cash when so many people feel the pinch.

Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘The government is wasting money on projects that are not absolutely vital and that means they need higher levels of taxation which hurt taxpayers.

“The government must spend less and tax less. These are the two priorities right now, otherwise we will end up in a recession which will be an absolute disaster and will affect the poorest the most.

“Every pound you save by cutting taxes will be invested back into the country in a much better way than anything the government can do – it’s essential to keep people spending.”

The inflation rate in the UK is rising to 9.1%, its highest rate in 40 years, and could rise further, putting terrible pressure on household budgets and public sector wages.

Many low-income families cannot even afford to cook hot meals for their children.

Energy and petrol costs are skyrocketing, our airports are in chaos due to lack of staff and a strike brings the UK to a standstill.

“Totally dumb”

And all this is taking place against the backdrop of Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Yet as people fret about the high risks of recession, government departments – believed to be cash-strapped after the pandemic – continue to fund a seemingly endless list of wacky projects.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the Taxpayers Alliance, said: “Taxpayers are tired of being asked to foot the bill for politically correct political schemes.

“When households are forced to tighten their budgets, the government should do the same.

“Ministers must master these useless ploys.”

Consumer rights expert Martyn James added: “Voters are already furious at the huge sums wasted during the pandemic and they want those responsible to claw it back.

“Spending so much on projects involving remote-controlled water guns might seem completely silly at the best of times, but it’s even more questionable now.”

‘Folk pageantry’ fights climate change: £334,000

£334,000 is spent trying to save the planet through dance and song


£334,000 is spent trying to save the planet through dance and songCredit:

RESEARCH grants surely don’t get any crazier than saving the planet with folk contests.

Dr Jenna Ashton, a lecturer in heritage studies at the University of Manchester, has landed the money to educate people about climate change through performance art.

She warns that Manchester is at risk of extreme weather, including flooding and drought, and that one way to raise awareness among low-income households of these threats is through pageantry – which is put up in Miles neighborhoods Platting and Newton Heath from the city before the three-year project ends next year.

Public figures reveal that £333,955 has been awarded for this work by the non-departmental public body UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

The same organization also paid £5,922 for a project called Singing And Dancing In The Rain: Climate Change As Youth Musical Theatre.

The program at the Doorstep Arts center in Torbay, Devon, was designed to ’empower’ young people through song, dance and drama.

This encouraged them to study climate change and apply what they learned to their shows.

The University of Exeter’s Drama Department was also involved in the project, which also produced a podcast and a musical.

A UKRI spokesperson said: “The world’s greatest challenges require a collective response, which is why the UK is investing in partnerships to develop sustainable solutions as we work for a healthier planet, more prosperous and more peaceful.”

Gender-oriented migrant advice: £140,000

Taxes are spent to support migrants deported by the United States


Taxes are spent to support migrants deported by the United StatesCredit: AP

YOUR hard-earned taxes were spent to support Guatemalan and Mexican migrants deported from the United States.

The academics leading the project say they want to help asylum seekers in these countries to “express their voice” and defend their rights.

They are using local radio, video recordings and newscasts to demand changes in how the US government handles their claims.

And they also offer to help people come to terms with being deported once they return to their home country.

The University College London team say they partner with social service providers on the ground and are committed to taking a “gender and age disaggregated approach” in all they do.

The two-year programme, titled Life After Deportation, started in 2020 and received £139,575 from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), a body funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

A UKRI spokesperson: “UK Research and Innovation funds a wide range of research and innovation across a wide range of disciplines.”

Aid for the return of deported criminals: £463,000

The money is spent to relocate convicted felons overseas once they are deported


The money is spent to relocate convicted felons overseas once they are deportedCredit: Shutterstock

ALMOST half a million has been paid by the Home Office to help convicted felons feel at home after being sent home to Jamaica.

The money was given to the government there to support the reintegration of the deportees into society. The UK government cites Jamaica’s high crime rate as one of the reasons the aid is needed.

It was previously reported that £70,765 had been paid to the Jamaica Return, Reintegration and Resettlement Project and the Return, Reintegration and Resettlement Project.

But a Freedom of Information request shows a total of £463,128 was spent on the programs between 2017 and 2022.

Taxpayers Alliance campaign manager Harry Fone said: “It is ridiculous that taxpayers are paying thousands of dollars to resettle foreign criminals in their home countries.

“They were already fed up with the huge costs of deporting illegal immigrants, but it really takes the cookie out.”

A spokesperson for the Home Office confirmed: “The Government provides funds to charities to assist people on their return to Jamaica, ensuring that those who are deported receive training and qualifications to reintegrate into society”.

Bureau of Silly Ideas: £284,000

The money is really spent on a project called the Bureau of Silly Ideas


The money is really spent on a project called the Bureau of Silly IdeasCredit:

GOVERNMENT money was spent on an outdoor arts group called the Bureau Of Silly Ideas.

Organizers say the project aims to challenge conventional wisdom about art through ‘foolishness’.

One initiative has been to set up Club Silly in Brixton, south London, where adults take part in life drawing lessons by shooting paint from remote-controlled water guns.

Last year, the group also staged a 30-minute interactive show in which the audience was guided by Dagny, a giant bird character, “through a world of vibrations, movements and joy”.

Free massages are also offered to guests during the shows, such as a performed biography of London’s sewage system.

Figures uncovered by the Taxpayers Alliance show the Bureau of Silly Ideas received £284,387 from the government-funded Arts Council England between 2020 and 2021.

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A spokesperson for Arts Council England said: “We are proud of the investment we have made in creative and cultural organizations like this.

“Supporting free and accessible projects that bring families together, connect communities and inspire audiences across the country represents good value for the public.”

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