Last bus to Downing Street

I don’t think I can see anything factually incorrect in the new designs for bus shelter posters in Camden, the ones ordered by the council. The Town Hall’s leadership want residents to understand that when cuts to familiar services take place across the borough in the coming months, the paper trail leads quickly back to the Treasury and chancellor George Osborne.

But factually correct or not, Conservatives and the Lib Dems in Camden surely won’t like a publicly-resourced awareness campaign to be pointing such a fat finger at their colleagues in central government? They will only see: It was them wot cut it.

7 Comments on Last bus to Downing Street

  1. Andrew Mennear // November 2, 2010 at 12:17 pm //

    Except that obviously the current Government is having to make spending cuts owing to the previous Labour Government’s reckless profligacy with our money during its 13 wasted years in office.

    Labour Camden’s decision to waste our money locally by putting up pointless (and arguably political) adverts of this nature will not go down well with local residents…

  2. Theo Blackwell // November 2, 2010 at 1:04 pm //

    Sure Labour proposed cuts too – the Coalition’s are larger and swifter – but the point is that local government is hamstrung because it is so reliant on central government funding – especially Camden.

    Not so sure Tory ‘spin’ can accuse us of ‘spin’ but I understand the opposition wanting to deny the situation.

    What is written up these is a fact – only £1 in £8 comes from council tax – the reader can get further information from the website too.

    It’s important because the scope for us to really alter some of the proposals we will set out on 23rd November is very limited.

    Sorry but the cost issue doesn’t wash either – a little more than £1k, which I’m ok about. This is open to public scrutiny because we’ve published expenditure online for items over £500 (in contrast to the previous administraion). Your Camden / Camden Living – which Conservatives failed to cut, despite promising to, has been stopped for the time being, making a clear saving well in excess of this.

  3. Andrew Mennear // November 2, 2010 at 1:45 pm //

    To paraphrase, Theo is saying “Labour Camden saved some money by stopping ‘Your Camden’, which means we’re free to spend taxpayers’ money on pointless bus shelter ads”.

    He’s wrong. It’s not his money, it’s our money and he has to recognise this and act with restraint.

    We’ve entered a new era of ‘every penny counts’ austerity thanks to the profligacy of Gordon Brown and the negligence of Tony Blair. Even relatively small items of expenditure like this need to be held to account, which is why I welcome Theo’s earlier pledge to publish all expenditure of over £500.

  4. Theo Blackwell // November 2, 2010 at 1:56 pm //

    Cease having a cow please. The posters cost just over £1k. We spend much less on publicity than your administration.

    Re: your former advocacy of localism. Commmunities and Local Government have started ordering councils about saying how and when they would like town halls to communicate with residents, and now you complain about a small nudge to our website, which takes people through local government finance (a tricky issue to explain at the best of times).

    Anyone would think the Conservatives just wanted Camden to implement cuts and take all the blame for central gvt decisions!

  5. ConDemNation // November 2, 2010 at 6:52 pm //

    Handbags at dawn?

  6. Surely it is correct for each side to blame the other in some respect. However the Cons have effectively gained the support of the public with their plans in action.

    Labour will not even be in a position to challenge for a return to govt unless they have something to sell to the public. Currently they don’t, and being ‘anti cut’ or ‘anti speed of cuts’ will not suffice as effective opposition or a persuasive alternative. The reality is that the difference in cuts is less than 1% and it’s difficult to gain support for slower cuts unless you offer alternatives to where and when.

    The cons appear to be successfully setting the agenda, but it’s early days in the long run to the next election.

  7. Theo Blackwell // November 3, 2010 at 3:20 pm //

    To an extent Bernard, but you cant discount how the burden of limited decision-making in the face of massive cuts will fall on local government, nor the lack of awareness about how local government gets its money.

    Because council tax bills are a uniquely insensitive way of demanding money (£1200 quid each April please), most people believe council tax covers all local services. It doesn’t – it only covers a very small proportion, so bigger gvt cuts mean bigger cuts to local public services.

    (The difference in cuts is not “1%” (of what??) as you state – I don’t know who told you that, but whoever did was wrong).

    The speed of cuts is important, because the force of government cuts is in the first two years (conveniently well ourside of election time). By the nature of local gvt finance that forces us to cut faster.

    You also have to factor into Camden’s case the capital gap of £300m plus. Without action to find new money to invest in school buildings (we lost £170m in BSF cash) etc, they will ultimately cost the taxpayer more in repairs, or will close if the become too delapidated.

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