Posted tagged ‘francis maude’

I’m not striking but for once I sort of wish I was

November 29, 2011

 

Or not...

This blog is written by a group of people with different experiences and therefore different perspectives.

 

Tomorrow one of my colleagues will have a piece up explaining why he, and many others, will be striking. I imagine his perspective will be representing the vast majority of local authority workers and rightly so. With that in mind I thought it would be appropriate to put the view of someone who won’t be striking now save it interfere with the rightful coverage of a large amount of public sector workers who feel pretty badly treated.

 

Normally, not striking is fairly easy. In fact, the main reason I am no longer a member of a trade union is that a lot of the previous strikes have been for reasons I just don’t think justify a strike. Indeed, the last major strike over pensions, in defence of the “rule of 85” if I remember correctly, was exactly that type of strike; elitist and a little stupid.

 

However, this time it’s different. Rather than feeling opposed to the strikers I actually have quite a lot of sympathy with them.

 

In Local Government there are three issues that make up this strike and I’d like to cover each of them in turn:

 

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Asset stripping

August 8, 2011

And for my next criticism...

I find it difficult to rant about the things I should rant about. Oliver Letwin wants to spread fear in the public sector; I raise my eyebrows. Francis Maude calls it ‘absurd’ that people in the public sector should be paid the same as their equivalents in the public sector and I let out a tired but resigned sigh.

However, when Eric Pickles takes the opportunity of a quiet August Friday morning, when the news should be filled with previewing some form of sporting endeavour and commenting on a piece of toast with Britney Spears’ face on it, to claim that councils should be on an asset sell off I think my blood almost boiled.

What state of ridiculousness does this man live in? Could he not take August off from bashing councils and maybe focus on building some bridges with local government? Could he not have simply focused on the admirable aim of open data hiding behind his headlines?

The stupidity of his statements about councils selling off their assets (apparently shops, pubs and golf courses were his, easy, targets de jour) almost requires no response but here goes anyway:

1)      Selling off assets only releases a one off capital receipt. Thus, it might be possible to use one to fill a budget gap in year 1 but in years 2 and 3 that figure needs to be recouped in full, along with the other cuts needed for that year. In other words it simply delays the inevitable.

2)      If the asset is bringing in revenue then selling it removes that revenue from a council’s income stream and leaves them needing to find even more money to balance the budget in years 2 and 3.

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