Friday, 6 August 2010

Outrage at Public Waste of Money?

Sandwell councillors, educationalists and their supporters angrily confronted Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, in outrage at his cancellation of the Building Schools for The Future programme and their 9 school projects. After the meeting, a Sandwell Council spokesman told television news, “We have spent £20 million on preparatory work and that will now all go to waste. This Tory Minister is responsible for an outrageous waste of Public Money..”

We gather that the Building Schools for The Future programme was cancelled because of the staggering proportion of funds that had not been spent on building schools. The extreme outrage at Sandwell is because their schools were cancelled after, apparently, being given the all clear by the Minister, advised by the Partnership for Schools quango that has turned out not to know what it was doing – with vast amounts of public money.

We draw your attention to the comment, “We have spent £20 million on preparatory work and that will all go to waste.”

How can anyone spend £20 million on only 9 projects in “preparatory work”? Even allowing for over inflated public sector pay, that looks like 40 man years of activity that has produced nothing. 40 man years!

Was the Sandwell spokesman was suggesting that the cancellation of their projects should be reversed just because they had already spent an enormous amount achieving nothing?

You’re having a laugh … seriously?

Gordon Brown spent 13 years building massively complex organisational structures employing tens of thousands of bureaucrats to spend vast amounts of public money (that we could not afford) in order to build his own political power and “to create employment”. We showed you how he was doing it, and how stupefying wasteful it was, in this blog in June 2009.

The Coalition now faces the task of dismantling these labyrinths of wasters. Building Schools for The Future is just the first and a vivid illustration of what needs to be done. How many more tens of thousands of man years of unproductive activity are yet to be uncovered?

“Massive reductions in public spending are not possible without cutting front line services”, alleged the failed Labour government. This example shows that massive cuts in public spending are the only way to deliver front line services without absurdly wasteful bureaucracy.

This is the first sign of the different way of thinking that will enable a different way of acting that will deliver the different results that our economy so badly needs.

One of the first things you must do with something that is not working and out of control is to stop it. Good on you, Govey, you got this first step right!

Do you know what do next though, because that is what you will ultimately be judged on?

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  1. I think the outrage should be aimed at a business that lays into a local authority in a way that would do the Daily Mail proud. This 'toryfication' of the truth does Sandwell a disservice. I live near Liverpool and so have to confess I don't know much about Sandwell but I took the time to do my homework.

    Sandwell is ranked as the 16th most deprived district in the country out of 354. Four out of five households are judged to be deprived in at least one significant dimension, with one in four school-age children being entitled to free school meals. Against that background they have ensured that Sandwell secondary schools have improved at twice the national rate over the past 5 years.

    They are actually already well advanced as part of BSF to provide the education facilities their children deserve. The expenditure you so gleefully parody as waste has in fact gone towards major school improvements. They are already part of wave 3 schools and are objecting to the loss of wave 5 funding.

    The fact is BSF is a fantastic scheme that invests in the future of our country by creating community learning environments for our children and young people. The coalition is acting without any thought for such investment and quite frankly the education secretary is reprehensible having presided over cock up after cock up since taking office.

    I am not stupid enough to believe that there are huge tracts of waste and that fat cattery still exists but beware this coalition as it is a marriage of convenience making ill thought out decisions with no regard for the consequence. Your portrayal of Sandwell frittering large amounts of money away is incorrect and therefore I feel I should put the record straight.

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