Curly's Corner Shop, the blog!

South Shields premier political blog

Revenue raisers and cost cutters

with 19 comments

Time to step out of the box

The thought came to me as I was visiting the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne with what is akin to a High Street of shops just beyond its main entrance, we are about to embark upon the building of a new swimming pool at the Pier Head in South Shields and although detailed plans may already have been drawn up I wonder if , at this late stage, it is possible to make adjustments to those plans to include small shop units that South Tyneside Council could franchise out, lease, or rent to raise much needed revenue? I can see a good case for allowing private enterprise to run their business within, or attached to, the new swimming pool, such retail ventures might conceivably include sportswear, hairdressing, cafe/coffee shop/catering, souvenirs and gifts, newsagent and confectioner.

The concept could also be applied to the Temple Park Centre as it sees out the remainder of its time, is there any GOOD reason why South Tyneside Council HAS to provide the catering operation there, could it not be provided by another enterprise?

Some local businesses may well take an enlightened approach to a cheap and viable opportunity to expand their operations under the right circumstances, it is worth a thought.

Another revenue raising area worth thinking about is the very large number of available pages on South Tyneside Council’s website and the amount of printed publications that the council is responsible for, would anyone object if the council started to sell advertising space there? I know that the website is one of the better more accessible and popular local government sites, there is sufficient traffic to attract additional revenue from online advertisers. Perhaps this is a more immediate opportunity that could be acted upon.

Finally, after some outcry over the employment costs of some of the higher layers of management within our council (there are a few whose salaries are larger than that paid to our MPs and one who rivals the Prime Minister for remuneration),  it may well be worth considering acting together with Sunderland and Gateshead councils to provide a central management service for the three combined authorities in an effort to streamline services and reduce costs.

As we face a period of austerity our councillors need encouragement to think outside of the box for more innovative solutions.

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Written by curly

May 7, 2011 at 1:59 pm

19 Responses

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  1. Three good ideas; shared service provision subject to clear acountabilty is a route that some LA Services could explore in an urbanised area like this.


    May 7, 2011 at 2:09 pm

  2. there is already evidence of the LAs working together. STC, Sunderland and Gateshead developed a waste management partnership. They have jointly signed a 25 year PFI contract to have 150’000 tonnes of waste annualy shipped to Seal Sans for burning in a purpose bulit £200m plant.

    Unfortunately the good people of Sunderland,Gateshead and STC will be paying £500m in PFI payments.

    Processing this amount of waste could have brought in £20m annually, plus enhanced recycled material recovery and £65 quid a tonne gate fees savings.

    So even working together does not mean it will save money and in this case it just shows the possibility of making a bigger arse of things


    May 7, 2011 at 5:18 pm

  3. My money is on Allan West for Dep. Mayor. Not a shred of evidence, just a hunch. Ernest Gibson would be a laugh mind

    Allan Steward

    May 9, 2011 at 10:23 am

    • Good point about PFI,extaordinary private sector financial burden upon the public sector, needs constant, well informed exposure.


      May 9, 2011 at 11:21 am

  4. Every Coronary Heart Unit needs a Greggs.


    May 10, 2011 at 10:58 am

  5. Every PFI negotiator on the publc sector side must need a coronary heart unit. Seriously, whilst the idea of encouraging retail and food outlets into public buildings is good in theory ; in the particular case of ST, what about the number of vacant business premises in the more traditional shopping areas, what message does that give out?


    May 10, 2011 at 12:27 pm

  6. It could be two messages, a depressed economy, and unit costs too high to attract interest.


    May 10, 2011 at 6:17 pm

  7. Or the town is seen as a dead end with little hope for long term sustainable businesses.

    The town is quite depresing and to my shame seldom venture in and favour the Metro Centre or Newcastle to shop.

    I’d shop more if we had a decent range of local shops selling local produce.


    May 10, 2011 at 9:24 pm

  8. Spot on, depressing is the word. Even Newcastle City centre has some empty premises, but the Council has worked with the business community to try and promote the city.


    May 10, 2011 at 10:34 pm

  9. Curly I think youve wrote about this before but why dont the library hire out books the same way they do with CDs and films?

    I think most people wouldnt mind paying a small charge for the service.

    Sandra D

    May 11, 2011 at 9:42 am

  10. Sandra the whole idea of public libraries are that they are free to encourage literacy. When I was a child the only access I had to books was through the Public Library. We pay for the services through our Council Tax so I would not want to pay extra to borrow a book.


    May 11, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    • Ispy your talking of a time when people could not afford to buy books and education was not very good, now we all have pretty good schools, well according to the ever improving exam figures they are.

      So why am I paying twice for my CDs, DVDs, sheet music, computer games, and anything else that the library has that isn’t a book?

      I’m sure people wouldn’t scream too loudly to hire a book for a small fee each month these days, it’s still cheaper than buying it.

      Sandra D

      May 11, 2011 at 9:46 pm

  11. Whilst I am happy to pay to become member of Newcastle Lit and Phil Library, I agree that the free public library service is as much a part of our heritage as the NHS. However, any suggestions for raising revenue or economising are welcome; in the main I would look to economies, such as why does everyone employed by a LA have to have a desk top computer? Surely some IT facilities could be shared. I worked for a local government dept, where the staff could have shared computers without causing any undue inconvenience.Worth checking out Con Home Local Govt archives where numerous cost cutting ideas were floated a few months ago.


    May 11, 2011 at 7:02 pm

  12. The concept of a free library has got to be something to be cherished. I can recall the days when the vast majority of adults and children relied completely on borrowed books.We should not be misled into believing that people of reduced means would have the wherewithall to give priority to book borrowing if they had to pay for the privilege.Indeed,the very suggestion that a library is to make charges will deter those who need it most. I hope that the Lit and Phil doea survive but let us not lose sight of the point that our libraries should remain free and available to all.


    May 11, 2011 at 10:34 pm

  13. The Lit and Phil is an exceptional private library, which would be worthy of being preserved with the help of public money if necessary, but a missile strike in Libya is a far more productive use of tax payer’s money. I support the free public library concept, but could envisage a scenario where getting an answer to an enquiry about a local history topic would have to be paid for; that, for me, is the ultimate goal of CamCleggism, outsourcing to the private/voluntary sector, who would have to charge a fee or “request a donation” to provide what we now get free at point of delivery.


    May 12, 2011 at 8:27 am

  14. Watch out, folks, STC is monitoring your emails and phone calls!GCHQ on Tyne… It must be an exceptional Council, because use of surveillance by regulatory departments in the LA that I worked for was very, very strictly monitored and supervised, as well as being accountable to an external authority. However, as stated previously, that LA, quite rightly in my opinion, had a strict IT and telephone useage policy that was clearly explained to employees. Don’t worry folks your emails to the local library service requesting loan renewals are not being pored over by this mythical “Toon Hall Stasi”.


    May 13, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    • Wonder if he’d care to explain how he got knowledge of one of my emails to a private company recently, and why he disclosed some of the contents?
      He is genuinely interested in privacy and confidentiality in regard to Twitter presumably?


      May 13, 2011 at 8:23 pm

  15. Send him a solicitor’s letter; do the company have any idea of how their confidentiality was breached? Could be a serious disciplinary issue if one of their employees has breached their IT Policy.


    May 13, 2011 at 10:22 pm

  16. What is very concerning is that one of these “wild card” politicos could be elected as a Police Commissioner with a less than 30% electoral turnout. Yet another unnecessary, time and money wasting initiative by CamClegg Inc.


    May 14, 2011 at 10:48 am

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