31 October 2012

Duty to spend money wisely

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Dear Cllr Cornelius

I read with interest your letter in the Barnet Times of last week.

I am not a member of BAPS, although I do feature in the wraparound, and you are taking issue with its accuracy "given the extent of the inaccuracies and errors of the wraparound" which by extension, impugns my credibility.

I always strive for accuracy in what I write and if I dispute someone else's figures that is because I have a view as to what is accurate backed up by pieces of paper.

What I would therefore like to receive from you is a list of the alleged inaccuracies and errors so that I can study it. Simply saying that some unspecified figure is wrong is simply a political sound bite and I know how fond you are of sound bites Dr Evil.

One figure that you do seem to be taking issue with is the Billion Pound Gamble figure. You have carefully quoted only the expenditure figures in your
letter. You are not telling the whole truth as the outsourcing contracts (if they ever get signed) will also concern the council's income.

Here are the figures from 2011 taken from the council's own reports (rounded to the nearest thousand to make them easier to digest.) (readers - reports are below)

£ DRS NSCSO Together
Costs 18,528,000 43,961,000 62,489,000
Income 10,286,000 13,647,000 23,933,000
Combined 28,814,000 57,608,000 86,422,000
Ten years 288,140,000 576,080,000 864,220,000
15 years 432,210,000 864,120,000 1,296,330,000

The items included in the One Barnet projects have changed over time due to changes of scope and cuts to services and staffing. The figures are in a constant state of flux. The range is from £522,000,000 for 10 years using your expenditure only figures to £1,296,330,000 across 15 years for all contracted items. Thus the roll off the tongue phrase "The Billion Pound Gamble" seems fair to me to give residents a flavour of what is proposed. They haven't exactly been told much by the council have they? A recent 1190 word scratch at the surface in Barnet First is all that the general public, as opposed to the public gallery, have had. One word for each million pounds. Not exactly shouting about One Barnet from the rooftops.
A good job us bloggers and BAPS & others are here to help spread the word for you.
Can I also whilst writing also point out an oversight in the draft gambling policy, which says:
The licensing authority has resolved not to license casinos, with immediate effect. Any applications received will be returned with a notification that a ‘no-casino’ resolution is in place.
There is an unlicensed high-stakes casino in the borough. It is called the Council Chamber and is located at Hendon Town Hall. I trust you will close it down immediately.
I do look forward to hearing from you soon with the disputed figures and your backup for them.
Yours sincerely

Mr Mustard

p.s. Please don't think that I am so sad that I spend my time counting words in Barnet First. The word count was done electronically.
DRS - June 2011

NSCSO - March 2011

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