6 February 2012

A foreseeable implosion. Sub-title: How much does a backbone cost?

Correction. Barnet Council have woken up to the bad publicity and now say that the FOI response they issued was incorrect. That it contained a typing error. Mr Mustard has mentioned many times the errors in reports, remember the table that was 1,000,000 telephone calls out, and he hankers for the good old days where one person wrote something and another one checked it for reasonableness ( the sniff test as it is known ) a practice that is followed to this day in his office for important emails. The council say that instead of typing 166,109 the (unfortunate junior) officer typed 16,696 which is a spectacular piece of typing which even the ham-fisted Mr Mustard could not manage to wrongly type and to not then notice. (The words in italics are Mr Mustard's interpretation of the rank of the officer - are junior officers properly supervised by the 462 managers?). 

The outcome is the same. The number of voucher sales has fallen drastically. Mr Mustard won't be going back over the figures below until and unless he sees the original prime books of entry. 

Corrected at 6.30pm 6 February

Before Mr Mustard goes through the entirely predictable numbers for sales of visitor vouchers he wants to share with you a most interesting site he has found on the internet

implosion research
Now you might think that the people at Implosion Research are not completely in control of their faculties (Mr Mustard has watched a former colleague use rods to do water divining so has an open mind on the subject) but the question is, is Brian Coleman more in touch with the world than they are ?

If Mr Mustard asked absolutely anyone what would happen if the price of something was increased fourfold overnight he can predict the answers:
1   they would stock up before the price rise ( we see this when petrol goes up in price ) and

2   they will look for alternatives.

The Barnet CPZ action group wrote a blog post about this a few days ago. They have compared the loss of income to budgeted figures which could be misleading as it depends on whether budgets were put up or down and by how much. Mr Mustard is going to look at the figures in absolute terms.

Let Mr Mustard firstly repeat the FOI  responses.

2011/12 (to date)
Number of residents permits sold = 9,510
Number of visitor vouchers sold = 194,689

Number of residents permits sold  = 13,453
Number of visitor vouchers sold = 331,614

18/04/2011 to 07/01/2012
Number of residents permits sold = 8,825
Number of visitor vouchers sold = 16,696

2010/11 -  01/04/2010 to 31/03/2011
Number of residents permits sold  = 13,453
Number of visitor vouchers sold = 331,614
There were two sets of answers as the first time the council answered the question slightly incorrectly.

Mr Mustard will discuss just the visitor vouchers today.

Let him put the numbers in a different form that is easier to follow.

From To Days Vouchers Cost £ Income £
01/04/2010 31/03/2011 365 331,614 1 331,614

01/04/2011 17/04/2011 17 177,993 1 177,993
18/04/2011 07/01/2012 265 16,696 4 66,784
08/01/2012 31/03/2012 84 5,292 4 21,169


01/04/2012 31/03/2013 365 22,996 4.20 96,585

Movement from 2010/11 to 2012/13 235,029

Figures in blue are projected in proportion to time and the one in red is the drop in income that is likely to occur in a full year.

These figures are a textbook example of price elasticity of demand.

So what has happened.
Many residents stocked up with 200 vouchers each. Most of Mr Mustard's road did this. They won't buy more at £4 each when they run out.

Residents don't now feel so inclined to give a voucher to, say, the electrical repair man and they leave him to make his own arrangements. Just tell him sorry a voucher now costs £4 and you don't have any vouchers left. If he is going to be less than 2 hours it is cheaper to let him pay for the parking and as a mobile workman he is more likely to have a mobile phone and a credit card so he can register once and he is then set up for the whole of the borough.

Many people now park on the edge of the zone and walk.

Many now go to their visitor rather than the other way around. Mr Mustard used to have 2 visitors on a Monday morning and now the meeting is at one of their houses. They do not now visit any of the High Barnet shops.

Many use alternative spaces such as the Spires Car Park which for a short visit is much cheaper. The same goes true for other car parks for supermarkets etc and you could buy a pint of milk or something else you will definitely use to show goodwill.
Why didn't anyone say anything?

Residents could see what would happen when a £1 charge became £4 so why couldn't Brian Coleman, Pam Wharfe, the interim ( for now) Director of EPR, any member of the Cabinet, non stick Nick Walkley the Chief Executive, Andrew Travers the £1,000 a day Chief Finance Officer or any One Barnet consultant see it.

Why wouldn't any person at the council have the backbone to tell Brian that his price increase would have the reverse effect to the one planned.

Your supine behaviour will cost the council £235,000

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. Mr Mustard: they simply do not care. None of the officers are here for the long haul, and the Tory councillors think they can persuade the voters to forgive and forget. They are mistaken.


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