Observer Comment: The authority has a responsibility to reduce unnecessary cost

A FREEDOM of Information request made this week by the Observer showed Hastings Borough Council spent almost £300,000 on printing and photocopy last year.

More than £10,000 of this went on producing council agendas, another £50,000 plus on photocopying.

At a time when council staff are fearing for their jobs and services are being cut back, the authority has a responsibility to reduce unnecessary costs wherever it can.

A council spokesman defended the spend, saying some of the money was generated by advertising.

That explained away less than £100,000 of the overall cost.

The authority also said it was looking at ways to reduce the amount it spends. One plan is to print off posters to put up across council offices.

So, in order to reduce printing costs, the council is printing more. You couldn’t make it up.

Surely a quick chat with staff, an email explaining the position or, heaven forbid, a few handwritten notes would have sent out a better message.

Either way, areas like this should be getting looked at long before job losses.

THE hospital trust’s mounting debts makes worrying reading.

For almost a year management has been battling to clear the deficit, often with little success and the fact that £6 million worth of debt has amassed since last April is shocking.

The Conquest Hospital has seen a tough year, with more patients walking through the doors needing treatment, recent snowfall, norovirus and seasonal flu.

Staff, from nurses, porters and doctors, to clinical directors and consultants, are all working their socks off, putting in extra hours to deal with the influx of patients, while at the same time trying to balance the books.

Let’s hope the local trust gets its debts cleared.

Like Conquest managers, the Observer will be waiting with bated breath.

SIMON Angel served his country with distinction through tours of duty in Northern Ireland, Kuwait, the Falklands and Belize – with his bravery rewarded by an MBE in 2000.

Raised in Hastings, the now retired corporal was a credit to his family, his town and his country.

Now he is setting off on a new challenge.

Suffering from multiple sclerosis and ME, Mr Angel has discovered first hand the difficulties faced by many soldiers once they leave the Forces.

On April 1 he sets off on a mammoth journey from John O’Groats to Lands End, travelling on the back of a mobility scooter.

He aims to raise £10,000 for the Royal British Legion and Help For Heroes.

Our servicemen and women make sacrifices on a daily basis, the least we can do is dig deep and offer a few pounds to make sure they are not left on the scrap heap once they finish serving their country.