I was pleased to read in last week's local press that Buckinghamshire County Council is asking the public for its views about how to save money during this age of austerity.
Sensible suggestions from the public have included the reform of local government pensions and the scrapping of council magazines and newspapers.
While the £1 of every £5 collected in council tax that is spent on local government pensions (for fat cats that 'earn' more than the Prime Minister) will have to be stopped with legislation from the government, one measure that councils could take immediately is to stop producing free newspapers and magazines.
While Buckinghamshire County Council looks set to stop producing its extravagant magazine, I am not aware of any such plans for Labour controlled Slough council.
The 'Slough Citizen' newspaper is produced bi-monthly and delivered to every property in Slough 'free of charge'. Packed full of propaganda, telling us how wonderful the council is, when the reality is so different. It is high time this disgraceful waste of money was stopped. As a reader of both local newspapers, I can find everything I want to without reference to Slough Council's poor effort, which usually recites occurrences weeks after they have already been reported by the local press. Instead, the council should use the existing local newspapers. The council can also get in touch with the public via its website and at libraries and other public buildings.
I strongly suspect that most people in Slough never read the council's attempts to aggrandise itself, its councillors and senior staff and, instead, immediately put it in its rightful place - the recycling bin. Therefore, in addition to the cost of writing it, producing it and delivering it, the council also has to pay for the cost of its disposal! Imagine the money that could be saved if this waste of public money were to be scrapped, which would also include the scaling back of the council's bloated communications team.
Despite the fact that the public is demanding that council newspapers are scrapped, sadly I suspect that Slough council will continue to waste the public's money in this way. Stopping it would offend Labour's tax and spend principles and hurt the egos of those involved in this unnecessary and pointless sacrifice of trees, energy and money. I challenge Labour to prove me wrong and let the unwanted Slough Citizen pass into history.