The War on Waste roadshow made its way into the Midlands today with stopovers in Manchester, Stoke-on Trent, Stafford and finally Birmingham.
On a blustery day outside Manchester Town Hall, City Council employees were appalled to discover that hundreds of their colleagues had been handed iPads costing taxpayers almost £200,000, and that the Council had wasted £16,000 on software to monitor what people were saying about them on Twitter. There are plenty of alternatives available – such as the rather cheaper (i.e., free) option of doing it yourself.
Our presence was less well received by two Council employees, the first of whom tried to tell us we needed the permission before setting up “infrastructure” (a plywood table with tablecloth and 2 flags) outside the Town Hall. She eventually conceded that there was no such requirement but said she would need to report the incident to a town hall bureaucrat.
The second employee, apparently a Unison member, was initially a little agitated with our stall, but was delighted to hear that we are strongly against using taxpayers’ money to subsidise theatre and opera. Wasting money in this fashion isn’t a left vs right issue – it’s just common sense.
Then on to Stoke, where residents were horrified to learn that overweight people in the area had been receiving motivational text messages from the Council advising them to “use the stairs” and to “try to eat smaller portions”. This patronising farce cost taxpayers £10,000.
After a brief stop in Stafford, the roadshow rolled on to Birmingham where as we speak TPA staff and volunteers are telling people about the £319,000 Birmingham City Council has used for jet-setting trips to the likes of China, Jamaica, Brazil and Bahrain.
Tomorrow we head to a true shrine of wasteful spending -The Public in West Bromwich – before heading to Chipping Norton to remind the Prime Minister that he desperately needs to wage a War on Waste across the country.