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The State Must Get By On Less

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Costing too much? Britain’s Town Halls.

Editorial Comment

Press coverage of Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement has been mixed but the-news.co supports the contention that things need to change with the State getting by with less.

The taxpayer is saddled with paying for three tiers of civil servants, national ones in Whitehall, their euro counterparts in Brussels, and yet more based in our local town halls.

Are they all really necessary or could we rely on the voluntary sector to provide many of our public services?

At a recent local residents’ meeting in Brighton complaints were voiced about lack of public toilets in what is after all a seaside tourist resort. A Council representative explained they had to close the existing ones because each needs £160,000 a year in cleaning costs. Yet most of this amount is taken up by civil servant salary costs. During WWII locals would have taken turns with a bucket and mop.

A further illustration of how Council staff salaries are an unnecessary burden on the community was during the last council elections the ruling Tory group booked the Town Hall boardroom for a candidates’ meeting. Asking the cost of providing coffee, the organisers were staggered on being told it cost be £60 per head using the council caterers. A couple councillors resolved the issue by bringing some thermos flasks from home.

Yesterday’s announcement that the new temporary finance chief is costing hard pressed taxpayers £1,000 a day brings home the point. We can’t afford the Civil Service.

We will still get a perfectly good cup of coffee if we make it ourselves, but in future we will have to do without our £300,000 a year ‘indispensable’ butler.

Lord David Howell
Lord David Howell

Asked to comment senior Tory peer Lord David Howell said;

I hear people saying that the curbs ahead on our swollen public spending will mean a loss of public sector jobs. But have they noticed what has happened?  For every job cut in the state sector we have seen two growing in the private sector.

That is a process which will continue. If its more jobs and faster growth we want – and who doesn’t – then it is a slimmed down and much more efficient public sector  and a fast expanding private  sector we need to deliver.”

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