Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Government Cuts and Thanet District Council goes Bing.

For some time now I have been trying to get the council to make various aspects of their website work properly, well going there today I notice that they have finally replaced the search facility that never worked properly with one provided by Microsoft called Bing.

Looking on the front of the Thanet Times, I noticed that the headline is, Axe to fall on top jobs in the Council Cost savings to total £1m. it goes on to say that a quarter of the senior management jobs in Thanet council are to axed.

Well I know that our top officers in TDC earn a fair bit, in fact I had quite s tiff reprimand from the chief exec of TDC when I used nicknames based on their weekly wages to illustrate a point, see http://www.michaelsbookshop.com/foi/id17.htm

But even so the top TDC officers earning £4m per year seemed a bit of an exaggeration so I thought to check this one out, first port of call the council’s website, confronted with the new search facility I duly entered the search terms “officers pay” one of the pages on the council’s website that came up was entitled “STRICTLY PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL” here it is http://www.thanet.gov.uk/pdf/Parking_Enforcement_Policy_%202008.pdf so I was somewhat distracted for a while.

Funny thing about the attraction of things one is not supposed to read.

Sorry I digress, pay at this sort of level is actually called remuneration, so with a slight adjustment of my search terms I finally came to this page http://www.thanet.gov.uk/council__democracy/council_budgets__spending/statement_of_accounts_2009/core_financial_accounts_notes.aspx which does indeed list their pay.

All in all it is a bit difficult to see what the paper is saying here, the “top jobs” cost £843,952 so the cost savings wouldn’t reach £1m if you sacked the lot of them, so how the paper thinks sacking two of the top seven jobs in the council will slice £1m of the budget for the next financial year eludes me.

As with so much to do with the government cuts, it is explanation that is lacking, like today’s scrapping of HMS Ark Royal, there may be an explanation but our politicians seem reluctant to divulge it.

The civil servant who only generates sheafs of paper is a problem that has to be reduced, for every two serving members of the armed forces the government employs one civil servant in the MOD.

Don’t get me wrong here some of these will be essential, but the problem has got out of hand and there is a limit to how may people whose life is funded by taxation, be they paid wages by the government or living on benefits paid by the government.

There is also another differentiation to consider here and that is the one between doing any sort of job and doing a job that actually produces something that wasn’t there before.

I am conscious that much of my time is spent buying and selling books that were produced by someone else, however some of the time I do produce something, mostly in terms of the local books I publish.

There are two aspects to this, one is the writing and editing that eventually produces a file that can be sent to one of my printers and the other side of this is the actual manufacturing of the books.

As far as I can see most of the tangible wealth of the country has to come from producing something that wasn’t there before, in the world as it is, the proportion between this and other forms of work needs to be in balance.

Coming back the problem of cuts, I suppose the underlying problem here is that it is the system of government that has to remove parts of the system of government and it is probable that those highest in that system of government will be the most resistive to this removal.

4 comments:

  1. scrapping ark royal or any other royal navy ship or air craft is totaly wrong and we will pay the price sooner rather than later sack half the mps who waste many thousands per year

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  2. The balance of our manufacturing base has been destroyed in the last 30 years. Factories producing real goods have been replaced by retail parks full of B&Q and PC World manufacturing nothing and selling goods produced in China.

    The rise and fall of the Roman Empire comes to mind.

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  3. I AGREE with Readit we produce Jack compared to the past but the feature that got me was save a million out of 840,000 I assume the paper has behaved as all good politicians and gone for the four or five year total. This sounds impresive but in real terms it is like what we as a country produce, Jack ****. Our career council officials are paid too much and have to big pension pots. The real world where people work have no guarantee job the rates are far less. But making a career working for a local authority seems to me very lucrative.

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  4. Readit doesn’t it just, but it isn’t just countries like China, I print all of the local books here in the bookshop apart from one, The Ramsgate Story. Coloured ink for laser printers is fairly expensive and when I costed this one out it was obvious that I was making a loss on it so I got various quotes from UK printers and accepted the cheapest. When the books arrived a fortnight later in noticed with wry amusement that it says, “Printed it The United States of America” inside the back cover.

    Don the paper definitely says, “for the next financial year” often the same problem with local news, good headline but the story doesn’t make much sense. I suppose much of the problem here is that the papers primary remit is to stay solvent. I think what the council are actually saying is that they intent to cut £1m off their annual wages bill and that no council job, from the top to the bottom is exempt from the possibility of being cut.

    I don’t think the politicians and civil servants at any level really understand that with this cost cutting thing it is only really, clear, detailed expanation that will take the people with them.

    Every time they attempt to fudge the cost of things, like they are over the latest cliff repairs for the Pleasurama development, where people look at the thing, in this case £1m already spent on a job gone wrong – everyone in Ramsgate can see the weeds and the places where bits have fallen off – the public’s confidence is damaged.

    21.35 just like the Ark Royal, scrap the only carrier years before the replacement is ready, it just doesn’t make sense.

    Thought of in simple terms like keeping the carpets clean, what they are saying is throw your hoover away now and you will get a new one in n years, you won’t be able to use this for further n years until the bags for it are produced.

    What they don’t say is how to clean the carpet in the meantime.

    How we could return in this country to a reasonable balance between manufacturing and jobs that don’t actually produce anything that creates wealth I just don’t know.

    I suppose in the end the problem of shipping things from one place to another may change the situation, if not for the obvious environmental reasons, then because of the looming shortages of fossil fuels.

    On a smaller scale this may have some impact on the shops in towns problem from the previous post, but only I think when it becomes uneconomic to make some sort of road journey to buy pretty much anything.

    ReplyDelete

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