We pay our taxes in good faith for many important services, including our police force, national defence, schools, healthcare etc., though we’re all very aware that worryingly large amounts are regularly siphoned off for rather more dubious causes, like MP and MEP’s expenses, bloated quangos and government non-jobs to name a few. And even as the TPA strive to highlight such waste and profligate spending, some public sector bodies clearly feel no shame when it comes to using our money in the most questionable, obscure and downright offensive of ways.
That’s right, it’s The Public gallery in West Bromwich again.
Rather than cut to the chase and directly use our cash as kindling, the galleries director’s have thought of some more inventive ways to burn it, and they’re now becoming pretty expert at it, having thrown £63million at their venture despite it still being closed six months after being launched.
So what is most ludicrous waste of taxpayers’ money that these practised spendthrifts could come up with?
How about knitting lessons for their staff? What staff you say? Well the staff who’ve were hired on full salary (some since November 2006) even when the place was completely shut (the gallery is still isn't open, although the cafeteria is...).
So far from addressing the big issues surrounding this catastrophic project, the bosses at The Public have decided to shuffle their priorities and are dealing with training their staff in arts and crafts before they have to deliberate the future of the gallery.
They’ve reportedly described the knitting lessons as ‘vital’.
According to the figures in the Express & Star, The Public Gallery Ltd spent £700,000 on staffing and running costs between November 2006 and March 2008, not to mention £372,521 on wages, £106,521 on arts costs and £28,901 on travel, subsistence and hospitality. And March 2008 was a good few months before July’s non-launch.
These knitting lessons are for staff who will supposedly be leading educational workshops for schools, but the future of The Public is looking pretty grim indeed and before they sink any more of our money into courses for anyone, they need to prove to residents and taxpayers that this gallery isn’t a complete black-hole.