Wednesday 28 October 2009

The People’s Republic of Barnet

By all accounts, this recession is the worst in living memory. In the three months to August, unemployment rose to 2.47 million. But whereas 230,000 jobs were lost in the productive private sector between March and June, in the wastelands of the public sector 13,000 new jobs were created.

Not real jobs you understand. As fellow blogger Constantly Furious so eloquently puts it, we’re talking about Outreach Co-ordinators, Diversity Managers, Community Space Challenger Co-ordinators and Enviro-Crime Enforcement Officers. In short, interfering pen pushers and bureaucrats.

Comrade Mike Freer, never one to miss a socialist bandwagon, joined in the fun and appointed a Business Support Officer “in order to strengthen dialogue with local businesses in the borough”.

According to Freer’s report Responding to the recession in Barnet, this non-job will help the council to:
  • Understand more about the experience of local businesses in the current economic climate
  • Support local SMEs and enable them to be more aware of, and bid for, contracts from local developers
  • Act as a conduit for support and advice
  • Understand the skills needs of local businesses
  • Encourage links between business and education
  • Support contractors in the preparation and implementation of their Local Procurement Strategy documents
The position is funded by using what is known as “Section 106” money, paid to the council by property developers and intended to be spent on infrastructure improvements - not useless jobs for Gordon Brown’s client state.

Don’t Call Me Dave has a simple question for anyone running a small business in Barnet. If you need advice to help get through the recession, do you:-
(a) ask your bank manager

(b) contact the Federation of Small Business or

(c) call the council which sunk £27.4 million into failed Icelandic banks just as other councils were getting out? Or which spent £1.4 million on obsolete lap top computers, or £31,000 on a room booking system which could have been bought for £2,000, or £14,000 on five flat screen televisions for chief officers, or £5,000 for our glorious leader to be flown business class on a junket to America?

Mike Freer talks about copying the Ryanair business model, but even after 15 pints of the black stuff, it is hard to imagine Michael O’Leary coming up with anything as stupid as this.

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