Thursday, 26 October 2017

A neighbouring council has allegedly spent £55,000 a head on getting 21 smokers to quit!

The above figures come from a fascinating article, Council anti-smoking campaigns are an expensive failure,  by Harry Phibbs, published on Conservative Home yesterday. The council in question is Hammersmith & Fulham, and their grotesque squandering of the Public Health Budget - which comes from general taxation rather than the rates - should be enough to make anyone, whatever their political leanings, weep with frustration. Ultimately, that represents £1.2m taken from the private sector (where all the tax ultimately comes from - the tax paid by public sector workers was taken from the private sector in the first place) to help a handful of nicotine addicts who could have visited either Totally Wicked or Shop E-Cigarette on King Street and...

...picked up a decent starter kit and some eliquid for around £25! (And if the addicts are unable to get to the shops, I'm sure a council employee would be delighted to pick up a kit for them.)

It's not as if vaping is some sort of big secret. There are reckoned to be about three million vapers in the UK, half of whom have given up using tobacco entirely. It's a mainstream activity. There are still some nine million smokers in this country. If the government, or local councils, or NHS administrators, or health campaigners, or any of the vast army of morally superior busybodies who are addicted to spending other people's money really want to help smokers to quit, then, for the love of God, get them vaping. It's the cheapest, healthiest and cleanest method of ingesting nicotine yet devised. In an ideal world, of course, smokers would renounce nicotine altogether - but this isn't an ideal world. So go for the next best option - the one that even our health authorities reckon is at least 85% safer than smoking.  As Harry Phibbs puts it: "What this does show is that the market has come up with an innovative and cost-effective solution – while the municipal alternative is to spend a fortune of our money on alternatives which fail."

Discussing his £55,000 per quitter figure, Phibbs writes:
Even in the very stiff competition provided in the public sector that is staggeringly poor value for money. Yet I am not assuming that the anti-smoking element is any more wasteful than other items in the Public Health budget. Nor that Hammersmith and Fulham is untypical with such dire performance. Just ask for the equivalent figures for your own Council.
That's a chilling thought - but even more chilling is the suspicion that the public sector is pissing our money away on thousands of similarly pointless, fruitless schemes covering a vast range of "issues" across the whole country, while at the same time whining endlessly about Tory "cuts".  What a wicked, wasteful farce.


  1. Hyper Masculine Heteronormative Bigot29 October 2017 at 06:54

    'Tory cuts' involve the faux austerity, expenditure wise, of borrowing one pound out of every six, instead of borrowing one pound out of every five.

    The UK population's weekly expenditure per capita on Welfare vastly exceeds any important item such as policing, defence or education.

    But then, why complain about the elaborate fraud called Democracy when we can observe the high calibre and selfless conduct of our elected representatives.

  2. Which reminded me of Kid's Company and Batmanghelidjh and her saturnine little friend. After two years neither of them has been put up before the beak to be held accountable for the disappearance of "our" £46m.

    "Scheherazade" has postponed the publication of her book for another year and Botney is knocking off his documentary wall-paper for the BBC [where does he find his subjects? Well, mostly New York and Los Angeles, by the looks of it].

    We were promised two investigations - one by Scotland Yard and another by the Charity Commission. Last year the police said they could find no evidence of fraud or sexual shenanigans and have quietly dropped all activities [they have moved on to Harvey Weinstein] and the CC has said it needs yet more time [perhaps Chilcot is in charge?]. Could have something to do with the lack of co-operation by several government departments who released the funds originally.

    £55,000 a head to give up smoking? A mere bagatelle.

    1. I used to treat most claims of Establishment cover-ups as nonsense (mainly because the Establishment is evidently useless at organising anything) - but, given the number of awkward potential scandals the authorities have allowed to dribble away into the sand in recent years - while wasting vast sums of money on very publicly investigating preposterous claims regarding the sexual activities of a dead Tory prime minister - I'm not so sure.

      However, I am sure the Yard's keenness to fully investigate allegations concerning Harvey Weinstein's activities in Britain has nothing to do with the fact that doing so will involve huge media exposure and any number of trips to California this winter.