Sunday, 19 September 2010

Those Hard Spending Cuts

From the Perthshire Advertiser
PROVOST John Hulbert has been given the green-light to organise a council-funded trip to Canada costing £2950 – in the face of severe cuts.
The council figurehead’s sub committee members agreed on Wednesday that a trip to visit twin-town Perth, Ontario, in September or October next year would be viable.
Yup. Rather than spending £3K on fixing roads or educating kids, they're going to go on a jolly to Ontario.

But I'm sure there's a justification for it
Provost Hulbert, whose wife will travel at her own expense, explained that on a previous visit to the town he felt that there were business benefits which could be taken advantage of.
He said: “They capitalise on their craft industry, it is part of Lanark County which has a large number of craft industries.
“When I was there some years ago I thought that we should be doing something along those lines here.”
Doing something about crafts? And you have what experience of business, Mr Hulbert?

Of course there's another old chestnut...
Defending the costly jaunt, which will be funded from the twinning-budget, councillors pointed out that strengthening links between the towns was important.
Councillor Alexander Stewart said: “There is no doubt that the arrangements create business links.
“We would have to spend a little to get there but more comes back, so I am happy to support this.”
I'd love to see Perth provide some figures on this, because twinning rarely creates business links. Yes, it's going to happen, but at what cost?

Twinning was created for a very simple reason... it was to foster friendship links with Europe after WW2. It was to show that Johnny Foreigners were actually quite nice people. And it probably made some sense back then, but in an age when half of Britains holiday abroad and frequently work for international companies, it's pretty much redundant

I've decided to go on a hunt for lots of these stories. Councils pleading poverty in the face of cuts, yet still able to fund luxurious spending. Any more examples gratefully received.

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