LEFT-WING SOOTHSAYER Simon Blackburn yesterday upped the ante in the latest row over council jobs as he rattled the sabre of rhetoric in the direction of Peter Callow, spewing out his socialist sermon through a megaphone outside the town hall.
Due to a £32m cut in Blackpool’s budget, up to 1000 jobs are at risk with every member of staff at the council having recently received their notice of consultation. Well, no doubt apart from the Chief Executive.
Brunswick ward councillor Blackburn gave his loyal Labour footsoldiers food for thought, as he said;
“The people of Blackpool just don’t understand how Coun Callow and his Tory colleagues can spend money like water when propping up the private sector and then turn around and say between £30m and £40m of public sector services have to go.”
Cllr Blackburn is trying to draw a line here between the private sector and public sector; making a suggestion that the Conservatives are supporting the private sector at the public sector’s expense. Unfortunately for Simon, it’s not true.
You see, the Gasjet informs us that the projects in Cllr Blackburn’s mind are the £2.5m injection into the council-owned Sandcastle, the £5m loan to the Pleasure Beach and the (approximately) £40m acquisition of the Tower and Winter Gardens. The only project here that sees Callow propping up the private sector is the £5m loan to the Pleasure Beach.
Simon conveniently ignores the St. John’s Square project (£4m), the Birley Street project (£5m), the £3.5m purchase and refit of Harveys for Blackpool Coastal Housing, the Tower Festival Headland (£15m), the wedding chapel and new Registry Office, the Promenade renewal and the replacement tram lines (£100m). These are all public realm improvements that have consumed far more money than the other projects that Simon Blackburn has listed, and all of this spending has, in part, been fuelled by Labour-appointed quangocrats like Steven Broomhead at the doomed North West Development Agency.
So, what does this work out at? Apart from the Pleasure Beach loan, everything else has, more or less, been funded by a Labour government or Labour quango. This is one of the Labour bargaining tools until they realise that because of this spending, and similar spending around the UK, the government now has no money available to keep public sector workers in jobs.
All the cycling grants and projects in Blackpool were handed over by, oh yes, another Labour-founded quango called Cycling England. This quango is apparently set to be axed by the government and in its dying throes has tossed a few more taxpayer dollars into the Blackpool Council Spending Machine.
Looking at the council’s predicted spending until 2013 you can see that there’s £50m committed to building council offices at the Talbot Gateway. Remember that, Simon? Another Labour-founded money-pit that you won’t say whether you support or not.
Approximately £170m has been spent on public realm improvements and acquisitions, with much more committed in future years (with just a £5m loan to show for the support of the private sector. So it’s fairly audacious for Cllr Blackburn to tell us that the council has supported the private sector at the expense of the public.
If you ask any business owner in Blackpool, the Callow council has supported the public sector at the expense of everyone else.
(Well, unless you’re in the Blackpool Improvement District club (another quango started by Labour)).