‘Replace gardeners with cows’ and four other stupid suggestions from the Taxpayers’ Alliance
Those fun-loving types at the Taxpayers' alliance have published a new list of 201 ways for local councils to save money.
While there are many sensible suggestions on the list, there are also a fair few idiotic ones.
Here's a look at five of them:
1. "Where appropriate use cattle and sheep to graze on council land rather than spending money on grass cutting."
Fancy taking your kids to the local park? I'm afraid you'll have to navigate your way past a herd of Fresians first. There is a fantastically twisted logic to this suggestion. For some reason, councils spending money on gardeners is a bad idea, but spending money on an army of farmers, sheep dippers and veterinarians is a perfectly brilliant idea. Off the scale idiotic.
2. "Charge for use of the staff car park."
There are lots of good ways to motivate public sector workers. Charging them to turn up to work isn't one of them. If you really want to take some money back from council employees, you may as well just be honest and cut their pay and pensions. Oh wait, councils are doing that anyway.
3. "Review street lighting usage. Some councils have excessive street lighting. As with much else, this is probably due to a culture of being unduly risk averse over health and safety"
Or alternatively it's due to the fact that motorists and pedestrians need to be able to see where they're going? By all means turn off lights in the early hours of the morning as this list suggests, but don't be surprised when you have to pick up even larger bills for the higher crime and road collisions that follow.
4. "Youth Clubs and Youth Centres. These should not always be run by the council: they are typically pretty drab, dreary institutions when they are."
The shortage of youth clubs and activities is an issue that is always raised by members of the public, especially in poorer areas. If existing youth clubs are "dreary and drab" as the taxpayers' alliance suggest then, more money should be invested in them. Simply shutting them down and hoping the already over-stretched voluntary sector will step in is a non-starter.
5. "Stop producing leaflets for silly reasons"
This appears reasonable on the face of it but is actually nonsense. Of course councils shouldn't be producing leaflets for silly reasons but first you have to find a council who accepts that they are producing leaflets for silly reasons in the first place. Presumably, if they think the leaflets are silly then they wouldn't be producing them. You may as well replace this suggestion with "stop spending money on stupid things." In fact you may as well replace the whole list of 201 suggestions with this sentence.