Fringe Box



Letter: Why Do Local Councils Have to Cut When Whitehall Spends Billions on Shoddy Orders?

Published on: 14 Nov, 2020
Updated on: 14 Nov, 2020

From: Monica Jones

In response to: As Council Cuts Loom ‘Those Affected Are Going to Scream’

Council cutbacks are nothing new. Central government has been pressuring local government since the Eighties when the sale of council housing was introduced and councils were not allowed to keep the sales revenue.

This went straight into central government coffers, and has only recently been reversed, due to the overwhelming need for social housing.

Local spending has also not been helped by employing extremely expensive “consultants” who basically ask what you want to achieve and charge thousands to tell you how to do it. I never see the sense in this when so many able, qualified officers are employed.

This, together with huge payoffs to certain staff who in some cases were not performing satisfactorily, is a drain on local spending. How is it that the most highly paid officers get garden leave and payoffs and the lower-paid officers get the sack?

Privatisation of the refuse depot is a disaster, leading to excessive fly-tipping which in turn costs more to control. Now we hear pest control, an essential environmental health service, is to cost us cash.

Adult social care is cut to the bone, a disgrace.

The arts are always top of the list when it comes to cutbacks and savings. With closed parks and recreation facilities, this really hits low-income families the most, especially as so many face unemployment caused by the pandemic.

Why are local councillors not resisting these perpetual pressures when this virus has shown Whitehall can lay their hands on billions for untrained inexpert bodies to perform untendered work (badly or not at all), funds which would help keep local authorities afloat and protect essential services to the community?

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Responses to Letter: Why Do Local Councils Have to Cut When Whitehall Spends Billions on Shoddy Orders?

  1. Bibhas Neogi Reply

    November 14, 2020 at 6:08 pm

    Questions on whether tenders have been appropriately let should be addressed. The National Audit Office should investigate whether proper procedures were followed.

    Rules for letting tenders are laid down by EU directives so that tenders are invited in a fair competition from those who have the experience, expertise and financial stability to reliably supply the service or commodity required.

    Is it possible that such rules have been disregarded now that the UK had left the EU and not yet replaced the EU directives by the UK ones?

  2. Peta Malthouse Reply

    November 15, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    Sadly the usual requirements for tendering have been suspended as a result of the Emergency Covid legislation. Furthermore, the government is not complying with the law that requires them to publish short details of each contract they enter into within 30 days.

    The government has been refusing to comply with this even when asked to by lawyers. In one reported instance they refused to name them because, “the purpose of the question was to provide info for a court challenge (per The Good Law Project)” ie we won’t tell you to prevent you from suing us because we won’t tell you.

    Quite simply it is anti-democratic but what’s new. We have left the EU but these regulations were not being complied with in some situations (recent evidence given to the Grenfell enquiry). Sadly, it seems to me that corruption has taken hold of our public finances. Who knows what a grip it has?

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