General Foremen, Fiscal Iniquity, The New Industry

The New Industry 2 On the 31st of October I posted this subject (still included) and I have already said I wouldn’t Rant – I say sorry to those looking for something different – look tomorrow, I’ll put an extra piece in. The panic is that they are at it again, using Global Warming as a lever to make more money by the back door. Of course we have parking problems; we haven’t got a sensible and convenient public transport programme. Surely, instead of giving unscrupulous Clamping Companies a licence to extort, – also making a total hems of the Olympics – which is another Blair ego trip – which few outside the Southern Counties want – which will further drain our resources – still without a firm budget probably 50% wrong; – we should be using all those billions to improve the Transport system and really help the Environment. I mentioned this to someone, who said we are a World Leader and must lead – where has he been for the last 10 years?

General Foremen (GF) are the backbone of any engineering/building project. In my day they started on a long apprenticeship, followed by a journeyman period, became Foremen and finally reached the top. All this time they had been moving from job to job for advancement, gaining experience in many fields, manufacture, building, engineering and heavy engineering, and management. These men were university material but circumstances or finance had forced them to take the hard road. Decades ago the system was changed, the apprenticeship was shortened, and the quality of skill fell in many instances – output and cost were the key, not perfection. At the same time, affluence meant that those with the attributes were going to university, not into apprenticeship, a different route with a different outcome – hence the long experience gained to enable a man to become a proper GF was lost. recently there has been a training programme for people with the ability to be trained in the Trades, but as it is a government scheme, I doubt if the products will ever match up to the men I worked with. I now hear that Polish workers are arriving here with those very skills and presumably there will be more to follow from elsewhere.

Fiscal Iniquity I am worried that we have all been marched into an organisational morass, by the constant and pointless tweaking of every system, without reference to the actual professionals carrying out the work.

The Fiscal Iniquity which ties the hands of all those dispensing Government funds has operated since God knows when. It is a boon to small contractors but a bane to those trying to manage budgets. On the 4th of April, each year, allocated funds not spent revert to the Treasury; and money for the following 12 months has already been allocated, but not necessarily in the same proportions. Teachers, libraries, book sellers, small road contractors, and the rest, all are aware of the system. From October on. there is a rush to buy materials, books, to draw up and let contracts to have footpaths relaid, roads tarred and a host of ad hoc ideas, to use the surplus derived from under spend in other spheres. The under spend results from circumstances outside the control of the local authority, it could be strikes, weather, a glitch in supply, but the money doesn’t roll over, if it is not spent it is lost. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to realise the resultant waste of money – in being put under pressure to spend, forethought is at a minimum. Multiply this throughout Government contracts and general expenditure and the waste must be mind boggling. I fail to understand how, overall, politicians haven’t woken up to this waste, unless there is some valid reason why Government spending is so different from Industry, where a rolling programme is essential.

When I complain, I am thinking of the generations born since ’75 and in the future and worrying where they as a community will finish, when all the skill has been down graded through expediency. – Sorry to be so miserable!

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