Spot the difference

Exhibit A

ROUND 157 in the cuts blame game and Ed Davey at the BBC reports that Lambeth Council is in hot water with Pickles over bus stop posters telling locals that services will be cut because of decisions stemming form the government. The council will be referred to financial watchdogs for ‘abuse of funds’, he reports.

Interesting quote from Pickles’s private secretary: “The government is not telling or forcing Lambeth to cut services – that is a decision the council are taking.”

Maybe it’s those big blue scissors the gov doesn’t like, as Camden Council pulled a similar trick completed a similar exercise without sanction when its dressed bus stop with reminders of where the Town Hall thinks the blockage in the money pipe is. Just with slightly – slightly – subtler language.While waiting for the 168, passengers were told the cuts are ‘national government spending cuts’.

Those posters, I’m aware, remain a source of lasting irritation on opposition benches who say every penny counts when your cutting play centres. No word as yet from Pickles, however, on whether he thinks the rules were bent in Camden too.

Exhibit B


2 Comments on Spot the difference

  1. Theo Blackwell // January 18, 2011 at 3:40 pm //

    Oh great. From the government that said it wouldnt ‘micromanage’ the banks over 7bn of bonuses – including the banks the taxpayer owns – we get a Secretary of State who will tell us what colour posters on our bus shelter should be.

  2. Local Tory // January 19, 2011 at 4:24 pm //

    Much as I hate to defend Theo, and I suspect Camden got on the right side of the line by luck rather than judgement, its “we are forced to cut services” where Lambeth went too far. Pickles, of course, says the savings can be made without frontline cuts, so the statement is untrue.

    Camden’s posters simply said there would be tough decisions, which would be true whether the savings are made in the back office or the front line.

    Whether or not Pickles is right that no frontline cuts are needed, the image the Lambeth poster presents of town hall functionaries lazily slashing real services because they hope people will blame the government and not them is not an edifying one. Of course Theo would never do such a thing, so productivity at Judd Street must be about to go through the roof.

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