Thursday, 16 April 2009

Tories fail to beat Council Extravagance

While some Home Counties Conservative continues to snipe and jibe against the Liberal Democrats, he might be better off considering the appalling waste and mismanagement occurring in one of the Conservative-controlled County Councils around London.

At a time when the political Right are banging on about Government extravagance and the need to cut spending, I've learnt of one Authority where, in just one Department, the number of staff being paid at or above £60,000 is being doubled from seven to fourteen.

That's right, 14 staff, in one Department, earning at least £60,000 and in most cases up to and above £80,000. There's also an unconfirmed report that one very senior officer has effectively authorised himself a 51% pay increase.

This Authority is currently undergoing a change of both political leadership within the Conservative group and also a change of Chief Executive having scored only one star in the recent CAA review.

While senior posts are increasing in number and salary, junior posts are being reduced. The same department is losing six posts, all lower-paid or part-time.

It is frankly obscene and the failure of Conservatives to unambiguously challenge and condemn these actions is equally staggering. The Tories have nothing to say on public spending - it is clear that certain senior posts will be upgraded and rewarded while lower-grade staff and services suffer.

The understandable anger and contempt we can direct at Labour and Gordon Brown shouldn't blind us to the obvious shortcomings and failings in the Conservatives. The most disappointing aspect of the so-called "Smeargate" affair isn't that it happened but that it showed how little Labour have left to say about anything.

The Conservatives may well win the next election by default. It will be only, once in power, that we will all realise what a disastrous mistake has occurred and by then it will be too late.

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