The union Unite was created by a merger between two of Britain’s’ leading unions in 2007, the T&G and Amicus. A little snippet I heard yesterday at a party was that T&G went into the union with £2m more to put in the joint pot that Amicus did. So what did they do? The most shamless thing possible of course, T&G blew the £2m as fast as possible on a series of parties, in the months leading up to the merger.
I witnessed this type of profligate attitude towards public funds as well, in the case of a government funded charity I once worked on the PR for, who decided to blow their budgets on pointless anniversary and self-celebration parties throughout 2009/10, before their budgets were ‘likely to be slashed by any new incoming government’.
And today I read in the paper, that Jill Suffolk, the new Head of Comms for the County Council will be paid £700 a day over 6-months, the equivalent of up to £182,000 a year, almost £40,000 more that the PM.
Finally, head of a legal department within a local council, who I was speaking to yesterday, said she was travelling 3hrs by train first class next week to attend a Litter Picking Training course (all council funded as per). To add insult to injury, the course providers on realising it would clash with a World cup match informed her that the course was being shortened so the train tickets purchased were now at the wrong times, so new tickets would have to be purchased. Which of course was seen as not problem on council expenses.
I am not condemning the public sector as a whole – my wife works for our local council and I see and hear what amazing things are achieved, often on shoestring budgets – but the irresponsible attitudes of some government agencies are sickening in their disconnection from reality. The much vaunted cuts Dave & co will be administering are set to be painful – but if they manage to imbue a sense of genuine responsibility towards public funds, then they will be worthwhile.