Congratulations to Islington Council’s ruling Labour party for cancelling the Lib-Dems’ extravagant plans for demolishing the much-valued Sobell Leisure Centre (I love playing badminton there with my daughter and have celebrated many children’s birthday parties there too). Their new sports hall, which would have cost £30 million, was meant to be a lasting legacy to their administration—what is about that word ‘legacy’ that always seems to imply enormous public expense? Instead, a much more sensible £1.7 million is being put aside to repair and refurbish the existing sports hall. Excellent news.
Such council common sense is, however, still being undermined by adverts for jobs we really don’t need. Latest one to catch national attention is for a 'Walking Coordinator' at a pro-rata salary of up to £31,935. A Sunday Times reporter enquired about the job and was reassured was that the lucky recipient would not need to actually walk but could sit at a desk all day! Interestingly, it turns out that this post is not funded directly by council taxpayers, but by the ring-fenced NHS.
On closer examination of the council’s job site, I discover other taxpayer funded jobs we really could do without include an 'Environmental Systems Coordinator' at up to £37,851 per annum, A 'Census 2011 Community Adviser' at £14.44 per hour, and a 'Labour Group Office Research Officer' at up to £33,306 per annum. The latter position is clearly one of more use to the local Labour Party than the taxpayer and should be funded by them, not by us. As for the 'Environmental Systems Coordinator', we are gloriously told that ‘Islington Council has a national reputation for work on climate change and sustainability. We are developing new areas of focus to ensure we remain at the cutting edge of this increasingly important agenda.’ Oh, really? Surely, in this belt-tightening era, such a position is itself not sustainable?
Tim Newark, Islington TPA