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Gershon, Bezhti and the Piano


Today was another financial review looking toward the 2005/6 budget. Most worries lie out in the medium term. Something Birmingham has not concentrated on is the
Gershon Report into public sector efficiency.

Para 3.5 is the challenge for local government arguing that by 2007-8 savings of £6,450,000,000 per year can be found from local government. This is out of a total forecast figure of £21,480,000,000. (This is apparently an agreed figure. Noone asked me to agree it for Birmingham.) When you look at the appendix this is just a figure of 2.5% (per year) extrapolated to 2007-8.

40% of this is supposed to come from schools, 10% from policing and 35% from other procurement. Where the other 15% comes from (what's £967,500,000 between friends) is not clear.

Still I don't think anyone has told Mr Tony "Education, Education, Education" Blair that he is going to be looking for savings (cuts) of £2,580,000,000 per year by 2007-8 from schools.

C3 explains what this means including:
enable frontline professionals in schools, colleges and higher education institutions to use their time more productively to generate around 30 per cent of the total efficiency gains, enabling institutions to achieve more with their resources.
Benefits will be generated through workforce reform, investment in ICT and
reducing administrative burdens;


Pull the other one. (This 30% is 30% of £4,300,000,000. =£1.29bn) Are we really talking about replacing teaching staff with computers.

Interestingly, however, this will also be at the time when central government is more directly funding schools. Hence central government will not be able to blame local councils for the effects of budgeting for savings that people cannot make.



I also spoke to some of my staff about Bezhti today. One 2nd generation Sikh woman who works for me went to the Saturday production that was "stormed" - before the production had started. She made a number of interesting points. She found it interesting that some papers had blamed Muslims for the event when she saw Sikhs, white people and black people demonstrating, but no Muslims. She saw one hooded white person smashing a window.

We were wondering whether this was:
a) The BNP trying to cause racial stress
b) Rent a Trot
c) Some drunk from Broad St

Difficult to tell really.


I also moved my piano today. I have had a piano in my office since I decided it was too risky to lend a keyboard to Bread and Roses (which had an old worn out piano which may have only cost BTUC £80 but required about £1000 of refurbishment to make it playable). My piano at home, however, is now quite worn so I thought I would take the office piano home. I didn't find much time to play it in town in any event. I find the children are more enthusiastic about playing this keyboard than the standard piano.

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