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Give us your suggestion - big or small - of where public money could be saved

141 replies

dotnet · 14/11/2010 13:05

Mine would be - turn heating down by 5 degrees fahrenheit - or a little more - in all our hospitals.

Sick people don't need to be cooked, it doesn't help - and if any patients really do NEED to be kept in a blazing hot temperature, have a few designated 'hot' rooms per hospital and turn up the radiator valves in there.

OP posts:
CardyMow · 16/11/2010 00:06

Try living (and working) in a town where a vast amount of people commute to London, and can happily pay rental prices of £1000pcm for what is essentially a 2-bed+study (used as a 3rd bed) mid-terraced house. And then tell me that a local worker, in a town where a shop manager earns £14-£17Kpa, can afford to rent a home, any home, without the help of TC's/HB?

CardyMow · 16/11/2010 00:08

Who is at fault? The London Commuters that can pay £1000cm+, the LL's that charge what the commuters are willing to pay, or the low-paid local workers that need the help of TC's/HB to cover the cost?

CardyMow · 16/11/2010 00:11

Dotnet - according to my dc's, the heating in primary schools could be turned down from scorching sub-saharan temperatures to a more reasonable level too. It's winter, all dc's have jumpers, 99% of them strip off their jumpers within minutes of getting into the classrooms as they are so warm. If they have jumpers on, the school surely doesn't need to be heated so high that they are sitting there in short sleeves??

hobbgoblin · 16/11/2010 00:18

not buying wasteful shit to put in public places like chairs from those extortionate office supply places, or plastic bay trees. If every public ammenity had a person responsible for purchasing and ordering that took the same approach to this task they would if buying form their personal bank account i bet millions would be saved. have you seen the cost of stationery at the council approved office supply places?

schools leech heat through their awful poorly insuilated walls and windows so maybe plough some money into energy conservation for mid term - longer term gain?

turn all doctors waiting room radiators off while we're on the subject

hobbgoblin · 16/11/2010 00:21

get rid of nhs direct - despite using it myself often in moments of hypochondria, it is shit becaiuse the 2 devfault positions are 1: call your gp 2:call ambulance - if you answer yes to any of first 3 questions then go straight to solution 2.

I now know this so no need for nhs direct anymore - particularly not the website. i mean a website diagnosis really doesn't fuel the hysteria enough when i need my cold to be serious

CardyMow · 16/11/2010 00:25

Wasteful shit for public places - like an arts centre that 75% of the towns' population voted against? That has run over budget by the full original amount? Hmm that sunds like a good plan! Or re-vamping the council offices and public area 3 times in 3 years?

School was only built 21 yrs ago, is well insulated, if it is leeching heat through poor insulation, it isn't apparent if you sit through a morning sweltering while children read to you!

CardyMow · 16/11/2010 00:28

Hobb - think you are right about NHS direct, Walk in centres are so much better when run right, now in our town, walk in is open 7am-10pm, also a normal GP surgery in there, plus the building houses the out-ofhours service for most of the GP surgeries in town. All under one roof.

hobbgoblin · 16/11/2010 00:28

yes, I suspect a LOT of public money has been frittered in this way.

I see you have a shiny new school that is following the model of the 1960/70s and Victorian schools, i.e. turn up heating full blast - doesn't work well in either scenario, frankly.

CardyMow · 16/11/2010 00:33

My (almost) 9yo is on the school council this year - and is trying to persuade the HT that turning the thermostat down will save on the school's utilities, but he's not getting very far! I think it's to do with the fact that I'm skint and tight very frugal with heating, and only put heating on when it is below freezing outside. It's what jumpers and blankets are for! He seems to have taken this on board, and is trying to get support for this at school! He has also suggested that the school turns OFF the pc's in the ICT suite at the end of the day instead of leaving them on standby.

CardyMow · 16/11/2010 00:34
hobbgoblin · 16/11/2010 00:35

Another idea: Don't revamp the curriculum every 5 mins or spend money testing the effectiveness of said curriculum via SATs when (if you invested properly in the first place on staffing schools and resourcing them well) you could ask any class teacher for just as an effective synopsis of a child's ability for much less money.

Ban 90% of government targets related to education - this would mean the AIO could go home at lunch and the Head would probably be happy too and would not notice if their salary didn't increase much in the next 5 years, they'd just be glad to be able to get the actual important stuff done instead of wasting hours and hours whipping children's asses into school if they are 0.8 secs late and then writing about it and talking about it to Ofsted and the AIO and the overwrought parents who are on Tax credits and really just crap and lazy obviosuly

gaelicsheep · 16/11/2010 00:40

A small one but I don't believe it's the only example of a dreadful business process:

Tax credit people - If we have 3 months to apply for CB, don't check the CB database after only 2 months and then waste money sending out letters to query it. If it's an issue, either shorten the deadline or, a radical idea, require a TC claimant to give the CB reference number. Simple innit?

gaelicsheep · 16/11/2010 00:43

"If every public ammenity had a person responsible for purchasing and ordering that took the same approach to this task they would if buying form their personal bank account i bet millions would be saved." At work I avoid ordering any stationary if I can help it because I feel guilty spending the money. I make do, same as at home, to the point that I'm still constantly borrowing a colleague's ruler.

Bramshott · 16/11/2010 10:39

I would scrap Trident and bring the troops back from Iraq and Afganistan.

Some good ideas in this PCS article about alternatives to cuts here

Mumsnut · 16/11/2010 10:52

The requirement for A 'Temporary Events Notice' (£21) or lottery licence when a school/ scouts / neighbourhood society for example is holding a fundraising event or selling lottery tickets in advance.

The lottery licence is £40 for the first year and £20 thereafter, and all sorts of returns are required. Basicallly, the additional printing and organisation costs make the whole thing not worthwhile.

dotnet · 16/11/2010 10:55

I hope this thread is read and considered by people wiv power! I like all the arguments around raising the minimum wage which would/would not lead to huge saving on administration of credits etc (because they'd no longer be needed) - but I can't add anything to those arguments really, as I don't have a good understanding of economics.
Thanks loudlass, clemettattlee and hobgoblin for pointing out the kind of things which drive me crazy and which any non-economist can understand (metal equipment in hospitals which is thrown away rather than being sterilized; writing materials being thrown away after use in polling stations; boiling hot schools.)
Perhaps a massive paring down of the Health and Safety Executive so that they concentrate on the important stuff instead of twiddling about and interfering with people's normal day to day lives; they get on everybody's nerves, don't they?
I'm enjoying this thread, thanks.

OP posts:
TheCoalitionNeedsYou · 16/11/2010 10:57

Scrapping trident would save $34 Billion on the highest extimate. That's 2 months deficit borrowing. May or may not be a good ides, but it's a drop in the ocean. You have to hit the recurring costs - i.e. staff.

TheCoalitionNeedsYou · 16/11/2010 11:05

dotnet - The kinds of things that drive you crazy may well be cheaper and more efficient. If disposable metal instruments are cheaper that longer lasting ones plus the cost of sterilising them then the total cost of the longer lasting ones is higher. The cost of taking a bunch of pencils back to (where? The council office?) may be greater than any saving.

I can't see any reason not to turn the heating down in hot schools though. Maybe it's not part of a budget the HT controls so they wouldn't get to spend any saving anyway so aren't bothered.

GrimmaTheNome · 16/11/2010 13:37

Well, given that many polling stations are schools, they could just leave the pencils there and save the school a bit of money, couldn't they?

TheCoalitionNeedsYou · 16/11/2010 15:11

Maybe - even so, the saving would be a really, REALLY trivial percentage of the schools budget.

TheCoalitionNeedsYou · 16/11/2010 15:11

Maybe - even so, the saving would be a really, REALLY trivial percentage of the schools budget.


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hobbgoblin · 16/11/2010 15:30

I wonder how many people it took to set the 800million savings target for suppliers...20 to think of it, 5, to write about it, 2 to buy the stationery to type up the guidelines for the target, 8 to keeps tabs on the target...An office of 5 to smack the wrists of those who ignore the guidelines, 2 to report back on the targets and 3 to analyse the data,4 to feedback on analysis of the success of the target's objectives...

scaryteacher · 16/11/2010 18:55


Creamlegbar · 17/11/2010 11:41

Sell the military bases in the South East, eg Cirencester, and relocate to Northumbria.

Legalise cannabis. Not for the tax raised but to free police, judges, and prisons to deal with more important things.

Look at every public sector job created in the last 13 years and ask whether it is needed.

When Canada had to reduce public spending, they didn't look at what they had to cut, but what they had to keep, eg roads, schools. Although I think that they shifted responsibility to individual states who raised local taxes, and public buildings went a bit crumbly.

Scary, are you a forces wife? What do you think about selling bases? Do we need bases in the South? France are unlikely to attack if we are sharing an aircraft carrier?

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