7 Days

Robinson fraud inquiry The New Statesman chairman and former Labour paymaster-general, Geoffrey Robinson, faces a possible police investigation over the collapsed engineering firm TransTec. Allegations that the firm founded by Robinson improperly obtained government grants have been passed to West Midlands police by the Conservative MP John Taylor, despite denials by Robinson and two former senior TransTec executives that they were against either the spirit or the letter of the law.

Global tobacco smuggling The London-based tobacco corporation British American Tobacco has been implicated in global smuggling schemes to increase sales. Smuggled cigarettes, by evading import and sales taxes, are more affordable to a greater number of people, increasing corporate profits and luring generations of new smokers. School caretakers worldwide have been warned to watch out for an increase of activity around the playground bike sheds.

Dome bailout £60 million of Lottery money has been made available by the government to boost the chances of the ailing Millennium Dome with no requirement that the money be paid back. The Dome's attendance figures have plunged to 5,000, a far cry from the 20,000 needed to break even. The Lottery has granted the Dome around £399 million already, and the Institute of Charity Fund Managers has described the further subsidy as "a misuse of donated funds".

Drivers need drugs Mick Rix, the leader of the rail union Aslef, has issued a controversial call for train drivers to be allowed free time to take recreational drugs. Blocks of successive days off would allow a suitable recovery time to prevent drivers endangering the lives of passengers. Current understaffing means that many drivers are forced to work up to 12 days in a row. Ecstasy-users all over Britain are said to be excited about the prospect of a three-day week.

This article first appeared in the 07 February 2000 issue of the New Statesman, The Prime Minister loses control