50 shades of Pickles

19 Dec

Sometimes, a blog post just writes itself.  Department of Communities and Local Government Minister Eric Pickles has just published a document entitled “50 ways to save: Examples of sensible savings in Local Government.  This is a MUST READ for East Devon residents!

My pick of the crop?  Definitely number 37:

37:  Cease funding “sock puppets” and “fake charities”.  Many pressure groups – which do not deliver srvices or help the vulnerable – are now funded by state bodies.  In turn, these nominally “independent” groups lobby and call for more state regulation and more state funding.  A 2009 survey found that £37 million a year was spent on taxpayer-funded lobbying and political campaigning across the public sector.  Many of these causes may be worthy, but why should they be funded by taxpayers? …..

Now, if that isn’t a justification, from the Minister himself, for the East Devon Business Forum to stop sponging on the taxpayer and starting to pay their own way.  These big companies, landowners and developers at EDBF have said that they “can’t afford” subscriptions to pay for their lobbying so we, the taxpayers of East Devon, are doing it instead.  Way to go Mr Pickles!!!

Others that catch the eye when you live in East Devon.

Number 17:  hot desking, rationalisation and sub-letting. Well, a lot of EDDC officers don’t seem to be at their desks when we ring in … and Friday is rather dead at the Knowle with all those people working at home.

Number 18 and 19:  open pop-up shops in spare office space (18) and find that spare office space by closing your subsidised canteen (no 19).  And while you are at it, make yours staff pay the same parking charges for parking at the Knowle as you charge us for parking in your towns.

Number 22:  cut senior pay.  Nuff said – I know where I would start!  “Open up middle management and senior pay to greater public scrutiny”.  So, how much is the Economic Development Manager being paid paid then and how much of his time is spent on EDBF business?

Number 23 Share senior staff and/or (no 24) scrap the Chief Executive post entirely.  Well, we already share our Chief Executive with South Somerset (total population of both districts around 284,000) but the example given is of a Chief Executive shared by Breckland, Luton and South Holland districts (total population of all three districts around 382,000) – now that is a much bigger area in every sense than East Devon and South Somerset so we should be finding somewhere else to take its share of our Chief Executive’s hefty salary.  However, if we don’t want a Chief Executive at all DGLC is making it easier to abolish such posts without councils having to fork out “golden goodbye” payoffs – Leicester City Council believes it will save £175,000 a year from scrapping the post there.

Number 28:  freeze district councillor allowances and end councillor pensions.  Now, I didn’t even KNOW that some (all?) councillors got pension contributions.  What a scandal.  No wonder these people want to keep getting re-elected …. for some of them it is probably just about the money not about representing their electors.

No 38/39/40/41/42/:  Scrap the Town Hall Pravda newspapers, stop providing free food and drink for meetings (DGLC suggests no food and drink for meetings of less than 4 hours and no meetings spanning a lunchtime), reduce first class travel, cut mileage payments and video conference instead of travel.  Well, we are all making sacrifices, so perhaps so should our councillors and officers.

Anyone else got any other ideas for saving money?  Doing away with our district council totally and just having county, towns and parishes perhaps?  Back on the table thanks to Lord Heseltine’s recent report.

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3 Responses to “50 shades of Pickles”

  1. Medusa December 19, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

    But East Devon District Council is a law unto itself isn’t it. The normal rules don’t apply to them. They are probably publishing as we speak “50 ways to spend money like water on things that the people of East Devon don’t want or need but which we want for ourselves just because we can, so there”.
    That I would like to read.

  2. Not a Developer December 19, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

    I just read an article in a newspaper that says that Pickles stuff isn’t relevant because, for example, councils don’t have subsidised canteens any more. Obviously someone who hasn’t been to East Devon then where the prices in the subsidised canteen are round about what things used to cost in the 1980s.

  3. Tim December 20, 2012 at 11:58 am #

    If I may suggest, “the 50 shades” inclines me to think that we should be asking some more FOI’s to establish what elements may be relevant to EDDC. I didn’t know about them having a subsidised canteen. If we ask via whatdotheyknow.com it will bring the information, and their profligacy, into the public domain, and will save duplication of FOIs. Would be nice to have some new faces making these requests, Mine just get blanked most of the time, must be on a hate list at Knowle.

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