Not such a calming thought

MassageIt’s been revealed that in the depths of the recession former ministers were busying themselves with something that the rest of us might not consider a top priority.  It’s emerged Labour spent more than £72,000 on a Whitehall "tranquillity room".  As far as I can tell this consists of a space for staff to skive off in.  The blurb claims that the space can also be used for work, but I have yet to meet someone who can equate work with tranquillity (other than perhaps a yoga instructor). 

A stock excuse for spending money is that it will bring about efficiencies and ultimately save money.  In some cases this may be true, but this room cannot provide any real, cashable saving. The relaxation ‘pod’ was apparently part of a £2.4 million refit, ‘intended to bring about efficiencies for the government’. But there is a more straight-forward way to economise: cut spending.
The refit was at offices shared by Harriet Harman's government equalities office and John Denham's communities department.  Whilst the focus in Whitehall was on building "a 21st Century... space of quality, air and light, where we can work, relax and refuel in a natural ebb and flow", ordinary families on the outside were preoccupied with wondering how to pay for basics like lighting and fuel at home, and their distinct lack of cash flow.

Stories of taxpayers’ money being wasted like this are more sickening than most because they confirm the public’s creeping suspicion that those spending our money have only their own interests at heart, not the interests of those they serve, those who pay them.  A familiar complaint we have all heard from over-worked friends is that they are desk-bound and barely have time to grab a sandwich, let alone eat it with (whilst furiously typing e-mails with the other hand).  Most of us would be lucky to have a free moment to use a ‘serene space’, even if we did have one in the office.

The only comfort in this story is that this was spending by the old Government; the new Government has set out its stall and says it is serious about spending cuts.  There is no space for the calm of a tranquillity room in the storm of our growing national debt.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience.  More info. Okay