Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Is this a waste of public money?

I was rather concerned today to find a full page ad in the Metro about the debate over Smoking and Films. I realise there is a consultation going on but on the face of it quite a bit of public money is being spent on advertisements, billboard ads, lobbying documents and so on. By the looks of it this is being spent by the PCT (the Council is merely the body running the consultation).

The problem is not just that the money is being spent, but that it is being spent to promote one particular point of view. Are those with reservations about this suggestion being given money to run info campaigns? No.

And in these times when money is short all round, I am not sure it should be used in a way which either is, or looks, profligate.

I have submitted a Freedom of Information question to the PCT to see what the spend is.

1 comment:

PM Swimmer said...

Whole heartedly agree Paula I can't see that any minor impact that smoking in films may have on childhood uptake would justify significant spending from the PCT on what is in effect political lobbying. This is the kind of waste of money that gives the Tories ammunition to attack public spending programmes.

I have never been pleased with the anti-smoking lot mainly because I had always suspected that once they had come for the smokers then they would come for the drinkers, to paraphrase someone much smarter than me, and recent pronouncements have proven me right.

Don't get me wrong I think that government has a role to play in improving and protecting people’s health but I would suggest that in Liverpool there are bigger threats for such as;

Driving, seriously the worst in the UK. Jumping red lights, speeding, trying to intimidate cyclists, tailgating and using mobiles all worse here than anywhere else I've been in the UK and pretty similar to that in the middle east & Africa except with more 4WD's.

Diet, following the Scottish model of existing on takeaways and cheap frozen foods whilst stuffing your little fat children with sweets is not clever. And providing free gym membership so that rotund teenage boys can stand around a weight machine instead of actually running is not going to solve anything.

Unemployment: work improves peoples health, countless studies have linked unemployment with poor health and Liverpool still lags way,way behind. The solution by the way isn't crap McJobs in Liverpool One. Retail will not cut it, not just because of lack of job satisfaction but because we can't all just buy and sell stuff.
One solution might be making a real effort to retrofit current homes to make them more green, this could if done on a decent scale create plenty of low skilled employment. This however would require more public money than is currently available and a move at Council level away from thinking that your job is to help developers destroy perfectly good homes to erect truly, truly, pitifully, appalling clapboard and render ghettos, to actually valuing existing housing and understanding that its greener and more social cohesive to bring existing housing and communities up to current standards. Can't see that happening in though, can you?

Oh and tanning salons, where’s the PCT on banning these cheap, tacky kiddie cancer factories?

But nah, all those people involved in anti-smoking campaigning need something to do now we have a smoking ban and rather than tackle something else let’s just keep flogging that dead horse despite the money and that it makes Liverpool look like some crackpot, insular little banana republic again.
Seriously someone in the city needs to wake up and realise that people forget things that go well like capital of culture really quickly, but they don't half remember daft crap like an entire city whining about something that Boris Johnson writes (ironically then proving his point), unilaterally trying to ban smoking and now this smoking in films crap.
Seriously senior public sector contracts in the city should have a 'making the city look like a backwards joke clause' resulting in instant dismissal. I realise that would have led to sacking large no's of council senior management, capital of culture, TMP and now PCT staff but it is really really needed.