Monday, 5 October 2009

Local Government Needs Sorting Out

Okay, are you sitting comfortably? I'll now thell you a story about how fucked up local government is.

Right. I moved to Havant in Hampshire last November. It took three months to get my daughter into a school. The two closest schools wouldn't take her, because the nearest one in Havant 1 mile away was full and the nearest one in Portsmouth (we were 100 yards from the Portsmouth Border) less than a mile away wouldn't take her because we were in Havant and therfore under Havant Town Council.

So, we eventually found we were in a catchment area for a school over the other side of Havant, over 3 miles away! We duly applied for her to attend the school and she was accepted. She started school in February. Yes, thats nearly 3 months out of school in year 10!

Because there is so much distance between our house and the school, we luckily qualify for a bus pass for the daughter. The bus pass is applied for and subsequently supplied by Hampshire County Council (NOT you'll note Havant Town Council).

Fast forward to July this year and we find our landlady is selling the house we were renting. We found this out not by a formal letter, but by the landlady showing the people round the house! She originally told us they were prospective new landlords, but landlords don't envisage where their 3-piece suite is going, nor think about knocking chimeys about....

So, we hunted for a house again. Now here's the catch. With me being unemployed, the number of landlords that will take us is limited. In the past we've seen houses we've liked, only to be rejected because I'm out of work. So, we find a house 2 miles away over the border in Portsmouth where the landlord is happy to take us. We move in.

Now, the daughter is getting a bus pass from Hampshire County Council and Portsmouth is in Hampshire, so there shouldn't be a problem right? Wrong! We inform the transport committee of our move as you are required to do. Today they phoned up demanding the bus pass be returned immediately and say I have to apply to Portsmouth City Council transport committee for a bus pass. But Portsmouth is in Hampshire, so why duplicate the same function for Portsmout? Why pay two lots of people to do effectively the same job? I assume the same goes for other cities that have declared themselves "unitary authorities", so I assume there are several groups within Hampshire doing the same job as Hampshire County Council's.

It gets worse of course: Portsmouth City Council have different criteria to Hampshire County Council and it looks like my daughter won't be going to her school much longer. The policy is not to move year 11s because they are in the middle of GCSE studies, but only if you get jobseekers allowance (I don't as I've been unemployed over 6 months), Income Support (we don't because the wife works), or Working Tax Credits (we do get them, but have been given a benefit of £0... yes thats zero pounds. Thats what the paperwork said: not you're not entitled, just you're entitled to nothing.), so I'm not sure if we qualify or not. Probably not.

So, I've just had an interesting conversation with the lady at Portsmouth saying we can't afford to pay to send my daughter to school, whereupon she said if we do that, we'd be prosecuted. Fine says I, bring it on, because if I can't fathom how this fucking stupid system works or why it works the way it does, then lets waste some council tax money and employ lawyers to argue the toss over it in a magistrates court.

It never ceases to amaze me how the stupid cretins in government think that all of this is somehow saving money. We have layers upon layers of people in government duplicating jobs for no reason at all, other than what appears to be a public sector job creation scheme.

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