Wednesday, 26 January 2011

What the County Should Cut

When money is being cut, it is important to look at our priorities.
There are many other things the County Council could cut instead of attacking our libraries.
The public has made it clear that it overwhelmingingly opposes the proposed library closures. Now we need to agree on alternative ways to trim the County budget so that no libraries need to be closed.
Only a few months ago, a report by the Tax-Payers' Alliance criticized Oxfordshire County Council for spending money on unnecessary jobs. Among these are political advisors, diversity officers and climate change officials.
According to the TPA the total cost of those was £588,394 in the year 2009/2010. The County Council said that the real cost was £268,837, but even that would be more than enough to finance Headington library for a year!
What do political advisors do? Surely anyone employed the County council should be educated enough to do their job advised by the senior personnel in the hierarchy, without an additional advisor. The same goes for diversity officers. It is surely enough to inform all employees at the outset how to follow good practise in the matter of equal opportunities. It's nothing new after all. As for climate change officials, since the exposure of the frauds on the website of the University of East Anglia, fewer and fewer people believe in climate change at all. Why do we need a salaried official to tell us to switch lights off or wear a jumper instead of keeping the heating on all the time? It's not a professional job. None of these occupations need a professional level of skills. But they are paid very lavish professional salaries.
In many cases these silly jobs were created by EU legislation demanding that we take visible steps to promote this or that agenda. The result is that other things, more important things, suffer. The money gets shifted sideways from the essential to the non-essential. If we don't conform to EU legislation, we get huge fines, See
(Yes, that does say a billion, it is not a misprint).
Even if you regard the jobs listed as useful, surely the vast majority of supporters of this campaign will agree that libraries are a higher priority.
Those who imagine that we can still, at this stage, avoid any reductions in the County Budget are not being realistic. The reality is that we have to make choices. So if you want to be heard, write to your county councillors and don't just tell them what you want to keep - tell them what you think needs to be cut.

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