Over the last few days, with the Iceland bank adventure and Gordon Brown flinging around taxpayers money with abandon, a few questions have been brought to the fore that don't seem to be being asked, although they certainly should be.
Firstly, where did the Government suddenly magic the £81 billion it used to buy out banks from?
All we have heard these last couple of years is how we can't have this hospital or that school because of belt tightening with pay rises in the public sector pegged at 2%, half of the inflation rate, while all the time Gordon Brown had £81 billion set aside for a rainy day. If he had that much just idly sitting around why are the hospitals understaffed, prisons at breaking point and overcrowded schools having to make do with children sharing text books because they haven't got enough to go around?
Secondly, when the Iceland banks fell over, they took with them £858m of council money which works out at approximately £7m per council.
Did your council tax bill get hiked by a crazy amount this year? The average person's council tax bill soared by 5% this year, taking it past £1300 per household, but still council services are being cut, libraries and community centres closed and projects cancelled. The reason cited on every occasion is lack of finances but now we find out that amongst others, Kent Council had £50m stashed away, Nottingham £42m and Haringey £37m. All squirrelled away in a high interest account in an Icelandic bank while the pensioners meals-on-wheels were cut back, adults sent to prison for failure to pay their council tax bill, parks sold off and fortnightly rubbish collections introduced as ways to save money.
If the Government and councils have this kind of money just slopping around, why are we constantly being squeezed for more rather than spending what they have on facilities and services that we are crying out for?
Obviously saving bankers necks and having a healthy surplus to show off at the next Council meeting is more important than spending our money on some of the things that would make our lives that little bit more pleasant.