Friday, 25 January 2013

Rotten Boroughs : Greenwich


Greenwich has been given a Royal Charter and on the 3rd February, 2013 officially becomes the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

Naturally, the local population is delighted at this. Not. Mainly because in these times of austerity, the council is spending shed loads of money changing all the street signs, designing a shiny new logo and changing all it's stationery followed by a great big celebratory bun fight on the day itself.

So what's the outlay so far? Well, depends what you read, but according to a reply to a question asked of leader of the council, Chris Roberts...

The cost of the new Borough Boundary signs was £21.8K. This is significantly cheaper than the cost of replacing the previous signs as a much simpler design has been used. The lamppost banners that have been installed in town centres cost £41.4K. The cost of new street signs only placed in selected areas was £19K.

Across the Royal Borough there is an agreement that we will avoid producing new stationery. Existing stocks are being used up and the bulk of letters will now be produced on letter templates which have been designed in-house thus avoiding pre-printing costs.

The cost of fireworks displays in the three town centres on three successive nights was £32.5K including music, lighting and displays. This was offset partially by contributions from sponsors to the general celebrations."

So far, then, we have arrived at around £115,000. But according to the Private Eye, the total is actually nearer £266,000 and counting.

The Eye goes on to point out that this is at a time when they are closing down a local school which has a £1.5m deficit. I think it not unreasonable to suggest that the money could have been better spent.

It's all apparently to do with 'civic pride' according to the Council 'rather than any material benefit to the borough'.

Would it be churlish of me to suggest that it puffs up the Councillors more than a little at the same time?..

1 comment:

Ed P said...

How could simple things like signs cost so much? It's rather similar to Armed Forces procurement,where an item like a Biro will "cost" £25. There must be major profiteering (or backhanders & sweeteners) with local authority purchasing & contracts - the whole system is rotten to the core.