Council spends money warning people of spending cuts to come

Council poster on Tottenham Court Road, Camden

Council poster on Tottenham Court Road, Camden

I’m sure there are lots of things going on in Camden which the local authority could spend money promoting. Christmas events maybe, or sports activities which are fun for all the family.

Spending money, as Camden appears to have done in this picture, on posters which tell the public that the council faces tough spending decisions as a result of national funding cuts, seems a bit like overkill – or propaganda.

Are the people of Camden so ignorant of national news stories which everyone else finds impossible to escape from? Does the local council therefore need to dispatch national announcements via billboards to its residents?

Or is it a way of reminding people that the cuts to come aren’t just the fault of the council? I have sympathy with the message, but can’t really see the need for a council to broadcast the message in this way.

Surely if the decisions are going to be so tough, then splashing the cash on adverts like this should have fallen by the wayside by now.

Camden has, in the past, used the same billboards to promote its council newspaper, Your Camden, which comes out 10 times a year at the moment and costs £193,000 a year to produce

Communities secretary Eric Pickles has already dealt with that form of propaganda. Quite whether he anticipated councils spending money in this way to warn of spending cuts remains to be seen, I guess.

3 comments

  1. I take it someone is FOI-ing to figure out how much was spent, and also worth asking how much time has been spent on this campaign? Obviously money is a big part – but it’s also worth seeing if they’ll provide a breakdown of how many staff hours (approximately) went into it. Time is money after all?

  2. My co-workers in our local Council office found this hilarious, and very poignant.

    The same thing is happening down here – money is being spent on expensive consultants who invite us to two hour meetings (thus stopping us from doing our jobs) to ask us what we could be doing to be more efficient. Nothing is achieved by this as we have been asked by the Union not to say anything, in case our comments lose someone else a job. So, we are away from our desks for two hours every couple of months to discuss obvious measures like using less paper, ink and electricity, which will shave a mere fraction off of our costs and will make no difference in the long run. Effective!

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