Wednesday 17 November 2004

Where to start the cuts

The boom in local council "jobs" continues:
Official statistics from the Scottish Executive showed that council staff, both full- and part-time, have increased by nearly 10,000 in the space of a year to 315,414. Much of the increase was said by councils to be due to the recruitment of front-line and support staff in areas like social work and educational support.
Cutting any of those jobs at random probably wouldn't do much harm but why not start with some of the "education" bureaucrats? Far from supporting learning, some of those folk are actively discouraging it:
MINISTERS have warned local authorities not to ignore guidelines on home education amid claims that some councils are obstructing parents’ attempts to remove their children from school, The Scotsman can reveal.
If the ministers are serious (which I doubt), why not cut off the money?


David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

You're welcome. 
Actually Provost ain't boss: he/she just gets to wine & dine a bit, like the queen. It seemed quite a nice job: not too much hard work. Just like raking in "unearned" oil & gas revenues! 
Maybe you could now aspire to high office as an Independent. Not my cup of tea, but apparently lots of people like that kind of thing.

21 November 2004, 22:35:47 GMT
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Neil Craig
Stuart I agree with you about the need to make councils more financially accountable tho' the effect of putting all their costs on income tax would be pretty spectacular - assuming income tax reduced by 20p but replaced by an average 20p council income tax which would mean 10p in Bearsden, or equivalent, & 30p in Glasgow. Since people currently commute to work from Glasgow to Edinburgh & vice versa this would have an obvious effect. 
Thank you for the kind words about my prospects as boss of the Greater Glasgow Empire. Unfortunately not only was I not that senior a Lib Dem but these prospects have recently taken rather a tumble. 
For the full, if not entirely impartial, story see:

21 November 2004, 19:28:50 GMT
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Readers down south may be interested to know that up until a few months ago Perth & Kinross Council was controlled by a Con-Lib-Lab coalition! Against an SNP opposition which was the largest party. That arrangement became very unstable. 
Now Dundee City Council has the same Lab-Lib-Con agreement. 
How many English councils have had a Lab-Con coalition? That is how keen they are to keep the SNP out of power. 
It will all change at the next election when we introduce proportional representation.

21 November 2004, 09:11:03 GMT
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Just to complete the roll-call the Lib Dems are in coalition with the Labour Party in 2 councils: Dundee and East Renfrewshire. 
In addition of course to the Scottish Government.

21 November 2004, 09:02:11 GMT
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David Farrer said...

I am not forever ruling out buying a Scottish Conservative Party membership card, but they would have to drop the Unionist and monarchist bit; and I could only consider it post-independence. 
However, post-independence, I am far more likely to find myself in a Liberal grouping. 
I view the SNP as by far the best tool to lever our nation back to self-government; not as my perfect ideological home. 
I merely suggested a Lib-Con coalition as being more likely than a Lib-SNP coalition in some future "Greater Glasgow". The Lib Dems seem to prefer the Tories over the SNP when given the choice. They are in coalition with the Tories in 2 councils: Aberdeen and Dundee; and with the SNP in 2: Perth & Kinross and Dumfries & Galloway. But they only switched allegiance in Perth because of the peculiar "ideosyncracies" of the local Conservative councillors (a right bunch of numpties!) 
It is interesting to speculate who the Lib Dems would choose under a future hung parliament: Labour, SNP or Conservative. It is important because they could be "king-makers" for years to come!

21 November 2004, 08:57:25 GMT
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David Farrer
Neil Craig for Lord Provost! 
(and Stuart as leader of Neil's Conservative partners in Glasgow!!)

20 November 2004, 19:48:59 GMT
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David Farrer said...

As a senior Lib Dem are you giving us an insight into how the Lib-Lab coalition government are thinking: 
"Hold On to the Barnett Formula At All Costs!" 
I don't think that unionists like yourself have much to fear from abandonning the byzantine Barnett Formula and moving to a fairer and clearer system where a Scottish Exchequer sets and collects taxes before sending off a small portion to the central UK Exchequer. 
On David's main point: surely we should be cutting the ridiculously large percentage of local authority funds that come from central government; abolish Council Tax in favour of local taxes (preferably on sales rather than income) and letting councils stand on their own two feet. 
The problem is that councils are subsidy junkies: make them properly accountable to their electorate. 
While we're on the topic, I hate to say it, but we should perhaps redraw the boundaries for the umpteenth time. Glasgow City Council is way too small: merge it with E Dunb and E Renf. Dundee and Angus should probably be merged too. And Galloway and Caithness deserve their own authorities. I could suggest other tinkering, but Glasgow and Dundee are unsustainable in their present form. 
With electoral reform kicking in very soon the suburban voters have little to fear and much to gain from going in with their urban core. We could even see Glasgow governed by a Lib-Con coalition! Now Neil would like that: he could be Provost!

20 November 2004, 10:05:41 GMT
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Neil Craig
Ditto at one level up the same applies to the Barnet formula. 
I must admit that from a purely selfish & idealogically unsound point of view I wouldn't like a revision in the formula that lost us about 5 billion (no matter how badly it is spent).

19 November 2004, 20:45:37 GMT
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Bob Bird
David Stockman's eminently quotable phrase 'Starve the Beast' ought to be acted upon asap.Scotland's love affair with the egalitarian 'ought to be' may slow this down a piece.

18 November 2004, 15:11:29 GMT
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Neil Craig
Thats only 3% a year. If that continues with all government employment it will take a whole 20 years before everybody is a government employee & unemployment is forever ended.

17 November 2004, 19:49:13 GMT
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Mark Holland
Oops. That comment should have gone with the next post down. Apologies.

17 November 2004, 12:51:57 GMT
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Mark Holland
I own a one dollar bill with a picture of AC/DC guitarist (and Scotsman) Angus Young on the front. It looks like this. 
I can't imagine anyone would be dumb enought to take it as currency. Although, according to that website above, the "one dollar bill" is actually worth $7.95 so you'd have to be dumb to use it too.

17 November 2004, 12:49:23 GMT