Communications disease Policing Public sector waste

Wasteful copper – vain too

NYP GazeeboDella Cannings is the Chief Constable of North Yorkshire. Clearly they have too much money to spend. She was the one who spent £28K on her private shower, see BBC story.

The latest is that her force have just spent £7,500 on an outdoor meeting area, a kite anchored over a bit of decking to you and me. See lovely picture left.

Apart from being wasteful this woman seems to be typical of modern public sector management types who want to get their picture all over the place. They are not very good looking on the whole which makes their vanity doubly tiresome. The worst thing is that these twerps even employ PR types to write stories about them into the bargain, see stupid press release.

Like a bunch of African chiefs the nomenklatura of British public life all want their own praise-giver paid for from the public purse.

Public sector waste

LibDem Richmond to punish car drivers

The lead story on the Radio 4 Today programme at 8am this morning was the London Borough of Richmond’s plan to relate residents’ parking permit charges to the size of vehicles. The LibDem council will also pull in an extra £1 million a year in charges but apparently this is only incidental!

  • If you drive a small car charges will be unchanged
  • When you hit the 1.6L mark charges will go up
  • By the time you get to the luxury sports/4WD bracket charges will be 3 times
  • A second car will attract a 50% surcharge on top of the fee.

See BBC story.

Apparently electric cars will be exempted from any charge at all. This is just scientific mumbo-jumbo as it uses way more carbon to burn fuel, turn it into electricity, lose a chunk in transmission losses, lose another chunk in charging a battery, lose another chunk in converting electricity to motion than it does to burn petrol in an incredibly efficient internal combustion engine. For the same reason that trams are an environmental swindle, so are electric cars.

There are various ways to save space while parking such as using the 4 post car lift. This allows its user to park one car on top of the other and it is widely used by auto shops that have cars coming in on a daily basis.Another ideal method to save the parking space is to give away unwanted junk and scrap cars in sale to

Richmond already has the highest council tax in London. Don’t expect the extra £1 million to be used to take the pain away though.

Follow the link to see their consultation document.

Public sector waste

Council tax rises equivalent of 4p income tax rise

The Conservatives are today highlighting how council taxes across the country have risen by the equivalent of a 4p in the £ rise in income tax since Labour came to power. 72% of voters polled by the Conservatives think that they pay too much council tax.

Ealing and Northfield Public sector waste

Ealing announces tax rise

Yesterday Ealing council announced its council tax rise for this year. Their press release says it will be 4.7% although you have to read almost down the the bottom to get this information. They seem to be pleased that they have held their rise down to 2.49% only they don’t let on that they are massively increasing borrowing by £177 million over two years. Oooops.

They use the same trick as Ken and talk about their rise being only 48p per week. Makes it sound almost painless until your bill arrives and you realise that it has doubled since Labour came to power. The combination of a Labour Government, Mayor and Council is pretty hard work.

See Ealing Times story.

Ealing and Northfield Public sector waste

Council tax rises on the front page

Both the Telegraph and the Times have been highlighting more large council tax increases due to be announced over the next few weeks across the country. In Ealing we are looking at 4.4-4.9%. As the Telegraph says this will be the 10th successive year of above inflation rises.

The Conservative MP Eric Pickles has been sounding off, quite rightly, about the divergence in English and Scottish increases: 84% in England since Labour came to power as opposed to 40% in Scotland. Pensions have only increased by about 35% in the same period so English pensioners have been roasted by a combination of Government pushing inadequately funded responsibilities onto councils whilst councils themselves have kept up spending on their pet projects and let bills creep up.

In London the ludicrous Labour Mayor has ramped up his charge by 175% in seven years.

In Ealing the Labour council can only get its rise down below the capping level by borrowing £1,600 per household over two years.

Follow links:

Front page lead, Telegraph 20th February
Leader, Telegraph 20th February
Times 20th February
Telegraph 21st February
Simon Heffer, Telegraph 21st February
Conservative Home

Ealing and Northfield Public sector waste

Nice little earner

Maybe Martin Beecroft, one of our £18,000 a year Labour Councillors, was misquoted on the front page of the Ealing & Acton Gazette this morning. Talking about how much debt interest would cost us next year he was quoted as saying: “5.8% of the money the council earns would go to paying just the interest on the debt, which will be around £24m in a single year”. I would just like to point out to Beecroft that the Council don’t earn nothing. Every year they do their sums and work out how much they are going to take off us. It isn’t earning, its taxing! Beecroft, responsible for finance, rated only adequate by the Audit Commission, is trying to kid us that he is doing a good job when the council tax is about to rise at twice the rate of inflation and the Council’s debt is about to go up £87 million in just one year.

Public sector waste

Nappies – let’s not go there

The Independent today picked up on a story being pushed by the Local Government Association. They are suggesting that more councils copy Three Rivers District Council in Hertfordshire and give parents £80 towards laundering reusable nappies rather than filling up landfill with disposables. All sounds very nice in theory; £80 is not huge amounts of cash to give to young parents and landfill costs will be reduced. In practice it sounds like an extra activity that councils do not need, it sounds like more forms to fill in, more officers to process the forms, etc. Leave it!

I am relieved to find that this brilliant suggestion comes from the Labour councillor from Dudley who leads the LGA Environment Board.

Ealing and Northfield Public sector waste

Simon Hughes on Question Time

In a discussion of wealth redistribution Simon Hughes on Question Time tonight passionately told us how people in his constituency work on the minimum wage for companies that give people £100,000 bonuses and £1 million pay offs. Sounds like Ealing Council to me.

Health, housing and adult social services Public sector waste

NHS non-execs pay boost

Non-executive chairmen and directors of NHS bodies play a vital role in the governance of these bodies. There is no shortage of public-spirited people who want to do these jobs. I have been turned down myself so I guess that implies that are lots of talented people that want to do them who were chosen ahead of me. But the NHS seems to want to throw more money at these people at a time when NHS budgets are under pressure. The Telegraph reports today that chairman of these bodies will be getting £30-60,000 for these part-time roles rather than the standard £21,882 now. Non-exec directors will also be getting £7,500 for 2-3 days work per month.

These jobs once had a whiff of volunteerism about them but clearly the NHS is thinking that they need to be “professionalised”. By raising these stipends the NHS is looking to buy these boards. It is hard to challenge producer interests and criticise the norms promulgated by the nomenklatura of modern British civic life if you are bought and paid for.

The article quotes both NHS Confederation and Department of Health sources who have the effrontery to make comparisons with the private sector. How can we afford a National Health Service, free at the point of delivery, if these people all want top dollar? Where is the public service ethic that is expected of frontline staff? Not in the boardroom clearly.

The nomenklatura is alive and well and looking forward to large windfalls in Ealing. The Ealing PCT Chairman, Marion Saunders, currently gets £21,882 (to rise to £30,000 to £40,000). Her background is working in Ealing Social Services. Non-exec Philip Portwood will be looking forward to £7,500 instead of £5,673. As an Ealing Councillor he already received £18,000 in allowances last year. The other non-execs come from a range of health and social care backgrounds.

Talking of Ealing PCT I received a letter from Robert Creighton, the £110K+ Chief Exec, this morning detailing the costs of their “Your NHS” publication. To their credit they have been able to get this publication out 315,000 people for only £22,000. To be curmudgeonly it does not change my two week wait for a GP’s appointment to the two days they claim. See October story. It took me a while to write to them, their response was pretty quick.

Public sector waste

Merger = cost?

Another of those public sector mergers cost us money stories from the Conservatives today. They have got hold of a leaked document from the Office of the John Prescott that shows that mergers of district and county councils might cost £358 per household. Private sectors mergers are usually predicated on cost savings. How is it that public sector mergers cost us money? You might think that merging would reduce overheads and quickly deliver savings to tax payers.