Saturday, 19 July 2014

Expensive Way To Save Money

Sutton Council looks to have invested heavily in a poster campaign to tell us all that they are running out of money. This poster appeared at the end of Caldbeck Avenue a few days ago and looks to be one of many around the borough.

One reader who contacted the blog said:
"I was staggered to see this poster appear at the end of Caldbeck Avenue this week asking to 'join the conversation' about how Sutton Council can save money. 
My suggestion - not wasting thousands of pounds on a poster advertising campaign. Working in advertising I know that a billboard poster such as this might have cost around £500 when you factor in printing etc. If this has been posted across the borough then I dread to think what the overall cost will have been in total."
Couldn't have put it better myself. I guess Sutton Council hasn't learned a thing about prudently spending other people's money.

I guess it's much easier to get people to accept poorer service if they feel they've contributed to how it's done. Even though I wonder if, given past experience, the decisions have already all been made and any such 'consultation' is entirely for this purpose and will have no actual baring on what happens to Sutton's council services.

24 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Cliffo said...

And Sutton council is... Lib Dem run. Absolutely no chance of political point scoring in this article.

Simon Densley (Blogger, Consv) said...

It's such a badly run council. The Lib Dems have done things like this so many times. Usually the Conservative opposition has tried to warn the Lib Dems but they carry on regardless. Someone's got to point it out.

Gino said...

Meet the new boss ,same as the old boss .
Who ? The Lib left overs .
Surely when we receive less service we should pay less.
Or is just another case of useless management that the non voter supported?

borisranting said...

pittance of a cost in the grand scheme of things. People moan about not having a say, and then they invite the public to have a say and you still complain about it! Say this costs £20k even £50k once. They need to make savings of £40m over 5 yrs. What else do you want them to do - start buying pencils from Poundland because they are 3p cheaper per 1000??

Alex said...

Was the £2.3 million utterly squandered by Sutton's Outer London Fund a pittance too? [And no, we didn't have a say ...unless we supported the squandering!]

Rather than penny pinching on cheaper stationery, how about getting to grips with the real problem and getting shot of those utterly incompetent council officers who are responsible for the £2.3M of wasted public funding?

Whilst they continue to be in positions of trust in Sutton Council, and spending our money like water, we can only get further and further into the red.

Gino said...

Stop wasting council tax payer's money would be a great start.
Do Poundland sell calculators ?
I fear that regarding the Lib cuts , you ain't seen nothing yet!

guest ab said...

The electorate have got what they voted for. So let them suffer & moan.
Now is the time to get away from politics in local elections and move to Residents Associations which are far more representative and do not bow to party central policies.

Steve said...

Perhaps instead of moaning about it you should get involved as the council are inviting you to? Whatever gets cut, people are going to complain about it. At least if the council give the choice between, oh I don't know, weekly brown bin collections vs care for the elderly, they might be a bit more understanding when they have to squeeze and extra black bag into their bin.

Gino said...

And it is possible to go from chairman to mayor .
I do agree though resident associations are important .

Gino said...

Council and choice ,had you used the word Sutton ,laugh would have been close behind surely.
I agree as many people as possible should get involved,however I'm sure that had the good people of Sutton been aware of the cuts sooner ,their choice would have been wiser.
Instead the Lib lit only mentioned Tory council cuts .
There is fear ,reality and the Lib leftology.

Guest D said...

It's a lovely idea, but as soon as Resident's Associations had real power the main stream parties would take them over.

I'm looking forward to the day when technology advances to the point that we can move to an Athenian Democracy rather than a representational one.

That would make local politics more like Resident's Associations, but impossible for a political party to control, so it will never happen.

Steve said...

You mean the 'Lib leftology' of cuts to central funding to local authorities, and the fact that local councils are facing ballooning social care costs due to increased numbers of elderly requiring home help? Yes I can see how from the cloud cuckoo land of the Tory mindset, the truth would rather seem like 'Lib leftology'.

The Dutchman said...

The reason for the relentlessly increasing benefits bill isn't "waste", "immigrants" or "benefit cheats" but the fact that government after government continues to chase the grey vote and not look at the harsh financial realities

In an era of ever improving life expectancy on the back of ever more expensive health care - how would you propose to close this circle Gino?

Gino said...

I think it is time to restructure the entire welfare state ,the tinkering just makes for a political battlefield with the genuine needy and innocent caught in the middle . A twenty first century system built on integrity and affordability . I would like to see the senior citizens contribute through debate towards the new system .
The current system is now too far removed from reality and the denial is a cruel political game.
Previous generations gave for their country ,today an attitude has been adopted ,what can (I) get out of it ,in some cases as a result of a perception of unfairness .
It is simply not good enough to throw a few crumbs to the genuine whilst the those that abuse the system enjoy the loaf .

Guest D said...

In the last year that there are full figures 47% of the total benefits bill was spent on the State Pension, the next biggest chunk at 16% was the Employers' subsidy aka Tax Credits, in third at 12% you have Child Benefit.

That we spend a lot on scroungers is a myth, I'm all for cutting down the Employers' subsidy, by pushing up the minimum wage to the living wage mark and reducing the prevalence of zero hours contracts.

I also think that the previous government and the current one were right in pushing up the retirement age. Though I would prefer the French system of years worked, it's not right that a Builder and Judge born in 1949 will both qualify for State Pension this year, the builder after a possible 51 years of work, the judge after a possible 42 years of work

Gino said...

Another example of the tinkering political game ,the current and previous governments not only allow the failures but seem to encourage them.
Who is really benefiting ? A political job creation scheme where to many do too little for too much.

Steve said...

That's my point. To protect things like elderly care, cuts have to be made elsewhere. £40 million is a lot, so tough choices will need to be made. Involving the local population in these choices seems fair.

Sutton Tax Payer said...

"That we spend a lot on scroungers is a myth," Based on what evidence? Please back up that statement with the financial figures:
So, tell us how much money was wasted on scroungers in Sutton, in the last financial year, who never detected?
Sutton Council obviously don't know. They only know about the woefully small amount of scroungers who they catch each year. And when a fraud case comes to light (as recently), they have a vested interest in trying to placate us with reassuring statements that fraud is a notional "drop in the ocean".

We do know from recent cases that benefit fraud cases can certainly go undetected for years or even decades. Mostly they only come to light either by chance, or (more likely), because the recipient(s) diddled an associate, who grassed.

So if Sutton Council have no idea how much money they lose to undetected scroungers, how can you claim to know?

Guest D said...

The government attempts to demonise welfare claimants by intimating, that there is a large amount of the welfare bill going to those who never have worked and never intend to work. The highest estimate from DWP is 5% of the total bill as against 47% going to pensioners, that is a small amount. Particularly when you start to examine those figures and look at the savings if all of those people were got into full time minimum paid jobs, 90% of that 5% would move from one budget, welfare, to tax credits.

By the way the only benefit that hits Sutton's pockets is the Council Tax rebate that is given to those on housing benefit, local councils administer housing benefit on behalf of the DWP.

The DWP are becoming much better at detecting benefit fraud since they invested in fraud detecting software and got the help of credit card companies and banks to examine claimants expenditure against their declared income and that now accounts for around 40% of those detected and will surely rise as they improve their techniques.

The Citizen's Advice Bureau have done an in depth analysis and found that using the Government figures the maximum amount that could be fraud was £1.6 billion, this compares with £2.2 billion overpaid by accident and £1.3 billion underpaid, so yes it is a drop in the ocean and is less than 2% of the total fraud committed in the UK. It also pales into insignificance against the 900 Trillion the banks defrauded the UK of.

So yes using the governments' figures I can claim to know.

Gino said...

A good starting point will be for LBS to make public a statement of every penny they intend to spend including the management wage bill and pension fund including where it is invested. They won't make a bill board of this or post it with c/tax bills . Transparency first !

Sutton Tax Payer said...

If £1.6 billion is the annual cost of benefit fraud, then the cost of five years (at today's prices) would be £8 billion across the whole Country. The most recent census for Sutton (2011) put the population of Sutton at 191,000 and the population of the entire UK was 62.75 million, so Sutton was about 0.3044% of the total.

0.3044% of £8 billion is well over £24 million, which you claim "pales into insignificance". Meanwhile, the poster at the top of this thread tells us Sutton Council has to make £40 million of savings over 5 years and YOUR figures tell us well over half of this overspend can be wiped out by preventing benefit fraud.

And don't try the we'll crack benefit fraud with "fraud detecting software" and "credit card analysis" nonsense! We've been hearing that from senior civil servant s since the 1980s!, During this time, benefit fraud has grown faster than ever.

But this is just the very tip of the iceberg. No senior Civil Servant will ever admit the true scale of benefit fraud. They collude with the Government of the day to massage the figures - ditto unemployment and illegal immigration. The true cost is massively higher than the expediently low Government estimates.

In the meantime, to those of us actually working and picking up the cost of £24.35M of benefit fraud over the next 5 years (again, according to YOUR wildly understated estimates), it certainly does not "pale into insignificance". The poster at the top of the blog suggests Sutton Council think there's a problem, even if you don't care about Sutton's working families.

So rather than sit on your ass lecturing those who pay for your benefits, I suggest you get off this blog and off benefits and get your ass into employment, where you can start making a contribution to Sutton's 'insignificant' contribution of £24.35M, to service benefit fraud.

Guest D said...

To answer your last question first. I have been in full time employment for the last 42 years and for most of that time have been paying higher rate tax and have been putting off going into full retirement to avoid going on 'benefits'. I won't presume to know your tax situation or length of work, so I won't guess whether I have contributed more than you. You may well own a company larger than mine and employ many more staff.. Don't presume that because I don't like the crude attempts to try and get the squeezed lower and middle class to blame them for all the pain inflicted on them, that I am on benefits as well.

The figures are not the governments alone, I agree they do, like all previous governments, massage the condensed figures to tell a fiction, but they don't have the skill or the resources to do it to the raw data and it is that the the CAB have analysed.

Since the 1980's? I've been involved in software development since the 70's and have avidly followed articles on this topic in the two main trade rags, Computing and Computer Weekly and it was only in the late noughties that any real success happened. When the law changed to force Banks to provide hooks to their systems.

But to humour me, perhaps you can explain how a tiny percentage saving in one Government budget will make it's way into another budget. Don't you understand that in Government even more than in business you have to spend all your budget and preferably more or it will be cut in the next round?

Another Sutton Tax Payer said...

Wow Sutton Tax Payer, the badly thought out insults in your last paragraph do nothing to advance any sensible discussion and undermine any good comments you made in the rest of your post. Why should someone who posts well thought out comments get off this blog on your say so?

AlanRogers1 said...

Nice reply Guest D. A considered and well reasoned and polite response.

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