Unnecessary expense

If you wonder why council tax rises inexorably despite Government exhortations that they must be reduced, along with thousands of ludicrous so-called council jobs, look no further than the present road works at Fylingdales.

They have the expensive footprints of health and safety stamped all over them. How I’d love to see that lot of expensive jobsworths put into overalls to keep our streets and paths clean instead of dreaming up ways of making life more difficult for those who pay their wages.

Roadworks during holiday time? Naturally. It was early afternoon. Drinking tea time. There were lorries, a road laying machine and traffic lights about 100 metres apart with two men standing between them, perhaps to help drivers who were colour blind I thought. Why else? Daft and expensive, I decided, but not where health and safety are concerned. Our lights were on red. From the other end a truck belching diesel fumes approaches followed by a dozen cars. They had passed so there we were waiting for the lights to change. Oh no. The traffic light man puts up a hand to stop us proceeding though the road was clear. The truck went 400 yards or so down the road, turned and returned. Then I saw the sign, “convoy system in operation”. The truck, still polluting the moorland air, returns, passes us and the traffic light man waves us on to follow. How daft can you get? So the truck goes up and down all day, burning fuel, as well as paying the driver’s wages, followed by waiting vehicles. Unnecessary expense? Don’t be silly. When did health and safety think about cost?

They have to spend our money to justify their existence. I’ll bet the cost of this operation would have been a great deal cheaper and done more quickly if it had been put out to tender to local companies. Then my imagination took flight. The health and safety have their annual outing. It’s on Boulby cliffs. The diesel truck is in front to guide the stretch limousine containing the council’s finest. There are traffic lights at the cliff edge - on red. Naturally the truck slows and then turns away. The lights change to green. The stretch limousine obeys the lights and goes sailing over the cliff before plunging into the sea. Goodbye!

PS: What are the present total numbers and costs of direct and indirect employees on Scarborough and Whitby Council and North Yorkshire Council compared with 1997? And what were the chief executives’ salaries then and now and what’s the comparison between the cost of councillors then and now? Don’t hold your breath.