Wandsworth’s Big Brothers is watching you!
Wandsworth council’s army of ‘busy bodies’ seem hellbent on interfering in the affairs of small businesses; all white collar council employees are told to report anything and everything. The problem with this is that when you give too many of your subordinates too much authority; they will do their best to use it and by god they do! Big brother is watching you!
Chadwick’s butchers have had many silly run-ins with local officialdom over very trivial matters such as Bill & Ted (Our advertising boards), our barbecue, which Balham loves, and of course the infamous environmental office. All of them seem to want to force their will and rules on your business and let you know who’s ‘the boss’. There is no common sense applied to any of these situations and I suspect the reason for this is part revenue collection and misguided authority and power play!
Gone is the day when our local authorities were there just to provide services such as housing, rubbish collection and help the elderly and working hard to encourage business growth; now they are big empires run by highly paid individuals who are virtually untouchable in safe seats such as Wandsworth. In fact many public sector workers have lucrative pay packages with a pension to match. For instance, an Environmental officer (health inspectors we use to call them) will earn between £60k-£80k a year with a final salary pension and will work approximately 35 hours a week! I find this astonishing that people can get paid so much of our hard earned taxes for very little effort. No wonder the Conservatives want to cut budgets! The gravy train is alive and well and full steam ahead with our money.
Wandsworth take themselves very serious and spend millions on advertising and PR to promote just how good they are. I find it unbelievable that a council can use local taxes to promote itself; it should be illegal. In contrast, they use to spend half a million pounds a year on the TCIS scheme which is the town center improvement scheme. This was a fantastic scheme as it improved the high street and gave small businesses a leg up! Basically if you wanted to improve your business or your shop you could apply for a grant. I myself sat on many grant application boards over a ten year period on a voluntary basis. I also received grants which helped me get Chadwick’s to where it is today; and I’m very grateful They cancelled the scheme when their budget was cut but kept the PR office which costs a lot more to run, unbelievable!
It seems that all the good things Wandsworth council did are being cancelled. Town center managers, who gave us a point of reference, have been cut whilst costly Waste enforcement officers and PR & marketing machines are left to continue spending our money on needless promotion and interference.
Perhaps we all need to start demanding value for money and reel-in our local authorities by using our votes more vigorously and chopping and changing until we get what we want. Until then we are probably going to suffer an over officious council who with their army of spies are going to continue ‘watching us’ and slapping our wrists when we bend their unbend-able rules. Unfortunately ‘Big Brother’ is here to stay and watching you and me carefully; maybe one day the big brother machine will wear me down and win and I will ‘love big brother’!