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Friday 29 October 2010

Cut Off Nose – Spite Face

After a discussion with a Zelo Street regular about civil service goings on in Merseyside, the impression is given that there may be an ideological edge to the spending cuts, as some have suggested.

The latest investigation by the Beeb’s Panorama strand looked into the behaviour of “rogue” landlords, the availability of source material suggesting that the spirit of Peter Rachman lives on across the UK.

Fortunately – until now – there has been a civil service unit on the trail of the new Rachmans. My contact goes to the football (Everton, in this case) with one of the Merseyside section called John, whose colleagues target the more serious larcenists and racketeers.

John’s group has one advantage over many other Government departments: it’s effectively self financing, as they recover large amounts of housing benefit, or prevent it being paid out and siphoned off for the benefit of organised criminality. It might be thought that this kind of public service would be left well alone by the wave of spending cuts.

But that, it seems, would be wrong: John and his team have recently been handed what are called “first stage” notices: volunteers for redundancy are being sought – with the added incentive of better terms – but if there are not enough takers, the job losses will be compulsory, and the terms worse.

John and his colleagues are not being informed why there should be cutbacks, especially given the valuable work they do in preventing fraud and recovering money. What is the game here, if not one of cutting for the sake of ideology?

1 comment:

allegoricus said...

But, of course, there is a level at which John's costs will be aggregated with those of others whose activities do not show an easily identifiable return (although they may be of similar importance) and be represented by nothing more than a single spreadsheet cell.

Decisions made to reduce costs made at that management level become indiscriminate when applied to the lowly troops.

I believe HMRC have already demonstrated this.