Archive | March, 2011

Random sticker on the Central Line – pt 2

23 Mar


Random sticker in the Central Line – pt 1

23 Mar


Cappuccino – a work of love

17 Mar


Taken at Kaffeine

How Newham Council Spends Our Money

8 Mar

In line with government requirements on transparency, Newham Council has released details of all payments over £500 in made in January 2011. 

You can download the data from here:

I have had a quick look and here are some headlines (bear in mind, this was just for the month of January):

There were 9,677 payments, totalling £33,931,106

Details of 766 payments, worth £1,644,445, were redacted due to ‘personal data’ or ‘commercial confidentiality. There is no way to find out what these payments were for or who they were made to.

The top 10 recipients of Newham’s cash were:

NEWHAM HOMES LTD – £2,039,397 (15 payments)
RINGWAY JACOBS LTD – £1,774,918 (58 payments)
LOCAL SPACE LTD – £1,549,617
(1 payment)
F M CONWAY LTD – £1,178,547 (48 payments)
BADENOCH & CLARK T/A PPS – £1,088,057 (1,643 payments)
MOUCHEL LTD – £648,759 (3 payments)
LONDON COUNCILS – £507,579 (4 payments)

Kingsgate Interim Advisory, “a turnaround business, focused on the implementation of solutions for challenged or failing organisations” received 3 payments, totalling £51,015.

Buried near the bottom is a single payment of £500 to the Fabian Society. The payment is from the Chief Executive’s department, for ‘conference expenses’. Given that the Fabian Society is a party political organisation (it is affiliated to the Labour party, though you don’t have to be a member to join), I’m not sure why public money is being spent sending someone to one of its conferences. No doubt there’s a proper explanation, but I’d be curious to hear it.

(for the avoidance of doubt, I have no axe to grind with the Fabians – I used to be a member and left when I resigned from the Labour party)

The World Turned Upside Down

4 Mar

Imagine a council, running one of the 32 London Boroughs. And imagine that this council had just voted overwhelmingly to unilaterally change the contracts of its employees, to make their conditions of service worse, in order to save a few million quid.

You’d be appalled.

Imagine that this same council has just voted unanimously to implement a budget that will cut £100 million of spending over the next 3 years and cost 1,600 jobs among their staff.

You’d think that was a Tory council, wouldn’t you? Or may be a Con-Lib coalition? Bloody typical!

Now imagine that this same council has agreed to take out a £40 million loan and given it to a successful local business to move to swanky new premises, that this business is owned by multi-millionaires and employs some of the highest paid people in the country.

You’d think it was madness. Tory madness.

Imagine the men that own this business made their millions from pornography and sex shops.

You’d be outraged. 

And imagine if you then found out that if their business failed, the people of the borough would be liable, through their council taxes, to repay that £40 million and all of the interest on it. And that the people of this particular borough are among the poorest and most deprived in the country.

You’d organise a march, demand action be taken to stop this nonsense. You’d write to the papers, organise a petition.

Unless you were a member of the Labour Party. Because this is exactly what’s happening in Newham and the silence is deafening.

Our Labour mayor and the 60 Labour councillors (we have no opposition at all here) have done exactly this. The local business is West Ham United football club, who happen to play in the world’s richest league and are owned by Davids Gold and Sullivan, millionaires many times over. And the swanky new premises is the Olympic Stadium.

So while council staff have had their conditions of service downgraded and 1,600 of them will lose their jobs, while services that people depend on are being cut, a Labour council is advancing £40 million to a couple of porn barons to help them fund a football club, leaving some of London’s poorest people to pick up the tab if it all goes horribly wrong.

Truly, the world has turned upside down. 



View from 90 York Way

2 Mar


Taken at Logica