Opinion – Has the ugly side of Nationalism reached Scotland? via Telegraph – John Gelmini

The answer to Dr Alf’s question is that Alex Salmond will go to almost any lengths to achieve his ends and his followers are simply ignoring and concealing the powerful numerical evidence that shows how people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are £3,500 gbp per head better off under the Barnett Formula.

They ignore free tuition fees, they ignore the fact that Scotland’s economy has never been self-sufficient in hundreds of years, and that from the time of the Highland Clearances and indeed from the time the Roman emperor Hadrian built his wall Scotland has never been economically self-sufficient.

About 55% of County council budgets, City council budgets and Unitary authority budgets are consumed by the costs of Adult Social Care, which everyone in England with total assets of more than £23,500 gbp including real property has to pay for in full.

A North Sea Oil rig. North Sea oil production ...

A North Sea Oil rig. North Sea oil production is centred on the waters to the NE of the Scottish mainland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Scotland Adult Social Care is free.

In addition, car ownership is higher in England, journeys are longer and we have more freight movements. We therefore pay more Petroleum Revenue Tax to the Chancellor per head than anyone in Scotland.

However, even that is not the whole story because the NHS since the year 2000 has not been funded out of NI contributions. The NI fund became effectively insolvent at that time (I saw the submissions by insurers in 1998 warning the Government that this would happen by 2000).

What has funded it is Petroleum Revenue Tax until the banking crisis and the so-called “Green measures” which forced up the costs of petrol and diesel.

These measures caused the car manufacturers to develop more fuel-efficient engines and the public to cut back on driving to the point where Petroleum Revenue Taxes fell by £1.83 billion gbp and then a further £2 billion gbp the year before last.

The NHS already cross subsidized out of monies plundered from “good causes” out of the Lottery then doubled the price of lottery tickets to bridge the NHS funding gap.

Even this is not enough because rising numbers of old people, obese people and demented people are going to cause a £30 billion gbp funding gap within 10 years.

The most unhealthy people in the country and the biggest drain on NHS resource per head of population are the Scots.

Adding in just these costs to those of the Barnett Formula gives every Scot a £6,500 gbp a year subsidy.

What do you hear about this from the SNP and Alex Salmond?

Nothing!

What you do hear is threats to repudiate debts, insistence that he is going to “share the pound” and statements to the effect that “we are a rich country and want 92% of North Sea oil revenues”.

The 3 main political party leaders to a man have failed to make these points forcefully, failed to call Alex Salmond’s bluff and are still prepared to give him what he wants at the expense of the English taxpayer.

It is time his bluff was called and for these useless and ineffective politicians to be given their marching orders.

John Gelmini

Opinion – UK Local Authorities and Shared Services: Cost-Cutting – Myth or Reality? – John Gelmini

Metropolitan boroughs, London boroughs and non...

Metropolitan boroughs, London boroughs and non-metropolitan unitary authorities are shown (the remaining areas are shire counties) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 Dr Alf is right to worry about the risks of Local Authority shared services centres because the real problem of lack of local authority worker productivity (32%) and the number of local authorities, constabularies and fire commands is not being addressed.

Nor is the problem of too many local authority layers of Government being addressed,  nor the burgeoning problem of Adult Social Care, which now consumes 55% of county council, unitary authority, metropolitan borough council and London Borough Council budgets.

The steps needed are clear:

1) Abolish districts and boroughs and outsource all their functions to a rotating panel of providers

2) Reduce UK county councils, unitary authorities, metropolitan borough councils, London Borough Councils and City Councils to 15 (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland)

3) Reduce layers to five, and impose headcount restrictions to stop bogus grades re-emerging as happens now

4) Apply Lean EFQM to all services, recalculate headcount required fire all those surplus to requirements staring at the top with the 4000 or so council chief executives who are essentially not needed. In practical terms, this will mean firing 55% of all local authority workers

5) Reduce constabularies and fire commands to 15 and repeat the process but in the case of the police keeping the overall budget intact and using layering and procurement savings to fund cleverer detectives and more bobbies

6) Merge Adult Social Care into the NHS and get rid of Adult Social Care directorates in councils

7) Centralise all purchasing with a rotating panel of auditable providers changed once a year

8) Bring in random spot checking of all local authority workers bank accounts and in the case of senior officials, Chief Executives etc audit the accounts of their wives, girlfriends, partners, mistresses, children and relatives, forbid them from setting up foreign trusts

Catch and bring to justice two or three of the worst examples of corruption (there could well be many) and make sure that the sentences on conviction are draconian and that all monies are recovered in the full glare of publicity and with Dominic Littlewood the bald headed presenter given full scope to pontificate on the matter in a television programme

9) Bring in variable tax on foods, identify Adult Social Care recipients early, insist that people lose weight and stop smoking before they are given Adult Social Care or NHS operations.

Aggressively re-enable all Adult Social Care recipients so that only those truly in need of such help actually get it.

Apply gastric band and stomach stapling to the morbidly obese and prescribe Tai Chi for them once they are thinner

10) Merge all call centres and dispatching centres into CRM driven,web enabled shared services centres

11) Outsource whatever is left over

John Gelmini

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