Archives for November 2011

Who's Getting Rich on Your Money?

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Eamonn Walsh | 12:24 UK time, Monday, 28 November 2011

As the Chacellor prepares to deliver his Autumn statement, one group of businessmen know they will keep making vast profits from our taxes while getting us ever deeper into debt.

Since 1997 almost every new school and hospital in the UK has been built by private companies who lease them back to the government. But what's in it for the taxpayer?

John Ware investigates the inflexible terms and conditions of what has become the government's flexible friend - the Private Finance Initiative - a kind of ministerial credit card which racks up huge public debts without showing on the nation's balance sheet.

He uncovers evidence of how government claims that PFI gives taxpayers value for money have been manipulated.

And he asks why the coalition government signed so many PFI deals when in opposition both the prime minister and his deputy branded them as 'dodgy accounting'.

Meet the Burglars

Victims of burglary and other crimes are increasingly being offered the opportunity to meet the criminals who offended against them, in a controversial scheme aimed at empowering victims and potentially cut levels of re-offending among former prisoners.

Panorama reporter Raphael Rowe goes into a jail to witness a tense encounter between two young women and the youth who broke into their home while they slept.

Meetings between victims and offenders have proved to be remarkably successful in cutting reoffending and allowing victims to recover far more quickly.

The government wants to see more of these restorative justice meetings used in the criminal justice system following all types of crimes.

Another victim of a horrific attack reveals to Panorama how her true motive in agreeing to meet her burglar was to get revenge and kill him.

We welcome your views on this week's programme. Please follow us on Twitter @BBCPanorama or use this forum to give your thoughts on Meet the Burglars.

Manchester: Inside the riots

Panorama's Jeremy Vine went behind the lines with Manchester's police and into the interview rooms with the rioters to tell the inside story of one of the cities most affected by the August riots.

For the first time, a police force allowed access to its footage from this summer's running battles - this time, on the streets of Manchester and Salford.

The programme reveals how in Salford there was more to the rioting than opportunistic looting.

And it follows the police investigation as they sought to identify and arrest some 700 rioters caught on camera at 300 separate crime scenes.

We welcome your views on tonight's programme. Please use this forum to tell us what you think.

What's Fuelling Your Energy Bill?

Panorama's Tom Heap investigates the inconvenient truth behind the UK's rocketing energy bills - that government policy is stoking much of the rise.

Your money is being staked in the country's biggest energy gamble ever.

As power stations are closed down, due to old age or high carbon emissions, £200bn is needed to keep the lights on.

Fuel poverty now threatens one in four households yet the government remains committed to expensive alternatives like offshore wind and nuclear power: greener but, so far, dearer.

We welcome your comments on tonight's programme, please use this forum to tell us what you think. The programme will be available to view in the UK via the BBC iPlayer from shortly after initial broadcast.

Britain on the Fiddle

It is estimated that £22billion of taxpayers' money is effectively stolen or lost every year through fraud and error across all government departments.

A significant chunk of that is benefit fraud - money that could end up being taken out of the pockets of those in genuine need.

In this Panorama Special, Richard Bilton uses undercover cameras to expose people on benefits sailing yachts and driving Bentleys.

And he follows fraud investigators as they tackle the rising tide of benefits cheats using fake identities to steal millions.

We welcome your views on tonight's programme, please use this blog as a forum to discuss the issues raised.

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