Anyone would think that our local councils were trying to off-load as much cash as possible at the moment, and two stories in the regional press today serve to demonstrate exactly why the WMTPA has such a strong presence in the area.
The Birmingham Post has reported that Birmingham City Council are planning an extravagant £7,000 Christmas bash at the ICC, hosted by Chief Executive Stephen Hughes for senior council executives. The lavish shindig will – of course – be billed to the taxpayer in spite of the effects of the financial crisis and the Local Government Association predicting on Monday that up to 180,000 in the West Midlands could soon find themselves out of work.
Why should local taxpayers be picking up the tab for this party for the council’s best paid managers and executives? Don’t we pay them enough already without treating them to a swish Christmas do with costs running into the thousands? Maybe we wouldn’t if we had more of a say in just how are money is spent.
Wyre Forest District Council has been criticised for similar insensitivities in the Express & Star today, having employed two new staff members to co-ordinate country walks. Most of this large amount comes from national quango Sports England but the new posts will be subsidised by the council to the tune of around £30,000.
Like any rational human being, local councillor Mike Shellie has slammed these new appointments as 'a nonsense', rightly stating “You can walk free in our nature reserves around the district. I do not think this idea is an example of money well spent. It is a bit of a nonsense and the kind of politically correct thing that is led by the Government.”
These coordinators have been hired as part of a knee-jerk reaction to a survey that claimed people in Wyre Forest were – not the fattest – but the laziest people in Worcestershire. We have no survey to say whether Worcestershire is a particularly lazy county, they may in fact be perfectly active, in which case the poor people of Wyre Forest may only be averagely lazy in a national context – nevertheless, if they do fancy going for a walk they needn’t find the concept overwhelming because thanks to Sport England and Wyre Forest District Council, they’ll never walk alone…
Councillor Marcus Hart doesn’t seem to think that Sport England money is taxpayers’ money, but obviously that’s his mistake and we can only assume it’s attitudes like this that leads to our money being poured into these ludicrous schemes that ‘urge’ people who don’t want to do something to do it at great cost to the rest of us.