Friday, October 10, 2008

The Big Council Robbery

Cherish British apathy. Because otherwise you'd be seeing riots in the streets right now.

It's at times like these that you actually come to cherish apathy. Because if Britain wasn't the most apathetic country in Europe, right now you'd be quite possibly witnessing riots and disturbances poll-tax style against the terrifying display of arrogance and incompetence from our local authorities. The last few years have seen local councils attempting to slash pay and change their staff's working conditions (look at Birmingham City Council's controversial 'single status' pay restructuring, for instance).

Nationwide, we had rubbish collection switched from once a week to once a fortnight, which is a unique disgrace (don't forget that, in most EU countries, trash is collected from daily to three times a week and their council tax is infinitely lower than in the UK). We had council tax rocketing up year on year with disarming consequences on family budgets. And now we learn that most councils had loads of surplus money. But they didn't use it to provide better or extra public services. They didn't use it to freeze (or reduce) the obscene council tax rates currently forked out by families across Britain. No. We just found out that a total of nearly £1bn of this surplus was INVESTED (Solihull Borough Council was one of them) in Icelandic banks and we don't even know the amounts invested elsewhere.

To many, this is tantamount to criminal behaviour. Council tax was raised -and collected- to have millions of pounds "invested" and gambled around foreign banks. If I wanted my money "invested" I might as well play the stock market myself. The British government is now sueing the nearly-bankrupt Icelandic state, hoping for some compensation by the year 2078 or similar, but the fact remains that taking our money and "investing" it without our knowledge or consent is fraud, pure and simple.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

News just in: council workers' wages are at risk, certainly this month as the funds are frozen in Iceland (it would be funny if it wasn't...)