Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Money, Money, Money (or private affluence and public squalor)

I sat in my crumbling courthouse a couple of months ago, having edged past the permanently-stuck gate on the justices' car park, and made my way up the nearly-new lift to the assembly room. It is a handsome room, built in 1907 but has sadly not seen a lick of paint in the last decade-and-a-half and more.

Everywhere are signs of decay and neglect - but no matter. I understand the desperate need for the government to bring expenditure under control, even if that means denying resources to the public service that I have served unpaid these thirty years. There are still biscuits (amazingly) and most of the lights come on when you press a switch. There is some mysterious  kit that we think might be for use in the new all-electronic courthouse. It still bears the protective film that we see on expensive audio visual stuff to protect it on its long journey from a Chinese sweatshop.

I have recently received an email from  www.gov.uk/annual-tax-summary setting out the tax that I paid in the last fiscal year setting out the tax that I paid (direct tax only, so forget the taxes on consumption such as liquor duties and Council Tax (fifty quid a week on my modest Thames Valley bungalow).

Much more interesting is the breakdown of where it went, revealing how little our fellow citizens know of what is done with the country's collective cash.

Not that much goes on the justice system.


  1. True, and probably because there are no votes to be gained by putting money into the justice system.

  2. As I avoid the hole in the retiring room carpet sit on the ageing chairs, struggle to hear the defendant in our secure remand cour, with my winger sitting on cushions because her chair will not adjust while taking notes on the few sheets of note paper we are provided with I do reflect on the facilities HMCTS staff enjoy.

  3. You're lucky to get a biscuit! Oh for the days when we had waitress-service 3-4 course lunches, with wine, if anyone (other than the Bench Chairman) dared! A new courthouse, built with PFI led to every 'privilege' being taken away bit by bit, so not even coffee available now!


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