More money in the hospital budget

Smalltown NHSGreat news for our local hospital here in Smalltown! We’ve got more money to spend!

It seems that we were budgeting for a deficit in the coming year of £8 million but now the Smalltown NHS Trust management team – who are very, very clever people – have approved a new budget with a deficit of only £6.3 million. This means we have an extra £1.7 million in the pot that we can spend. Jolly well done us!

We asked one of the Trustees, Jane Moneyspender, to comment. She told us “It’s really, really simple. The projected deficit for 2014/15 was £8 million but because we’ve been so clever this is now a lot lower so we have an extra £1.7 million that we can spend without being any worse off than we would have been before. This is excellent news for the Trust and it’s customers!”

Seems to us here at Smalltown Man that they have invented new ways of counting money, but then it could be that we’re just not as clever as the people at Smalltown NHS Trust. Oh dear.

Nurse, bring the screens…

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Saving money, cutting costs

Tom-Fishburne-Brand-Camp-on-cust-service-marketingWell the economy may be improving, but here in Smalltown we understand the necessity of keeping our costs under control.

We need to save more money so we’re going to do this by investing in a major consultation exercise to get our ratepayers to come up with the ideas we pay our councillors to come up with. Makes perfect sense.

Of course, we have reserves. Quite substantial reserves in fact. But we still need to reduce our costs in order to keep our council tax bills down as low as possible. After all, there is an election coming next year!

So why don’t we spend some of our reserves? We asked a councillor for a comment. He said…

“Yes, it’s true that Smalltown has a healthy balance in it’s reserves. In fact we have so much we could let you off council tax for a whole year and still have some left over. But it’s still necessary to cut our costs because if we used our reserves to subsidise our spending, then we wouldn’t have big reserves and we need those to cover rising costs.”

Well that’s cleared that up, then…

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New footbridge opens

1558551152At last, our bright shiney new footbridge is open – and jolly nice it is too!

OK, it was a bit expensive but the government was good enough to throw in a million quid to add to the half million set aside by the local council. Admittedly it ended up costing £2,000,000 but all these sorts of programs overspend after all. Just look at the Olympics!

And it’s jolly good news for the cyclists too. Before the bridge was built, the alternative route had a bit of hill on it if you were coming back into town although, to be fair, you could free wheel a bit if you were going in the other direction. But this new route is nice and level.

Our local Green Councillor, Amerantha Tulip, commented: “Anything that helps promote and encourage cycling has to be good. It’s money well spend. After all, the government money was ring-fenced for this bridge, so if we hadn’t built it we would have had to send it back!” And then we wouldn’t have been able to spend a further million of our ratepayers money on it either.

And on the environmental front, we only had to cut down 33 trees to make room for the new route. The local residents who are now exposed to the additional noise from the road are, of course, fully supportive.

Not everybody is happy, though. One local resident described the bridge as “clumsy looking” whilst another commented “It’s a bit bigger than I thought it would be. It’s absolutely huge. And did they have to paint it that colour? Perhaps they’ll plant a couple of trees in front of it to tone it down a bit?”

That’ll make all the difference…

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No doom and gloom here!

Credit-to-Jack-Pasco-5-640x426It official! The recession is over and here in Smalltown we’re leading the way. After all, we’re so wonderful that it’s only right we should be showing the rest of the country a clean set of heels.

We’re bucking the national trend in every department. Oh, yes we are! Our town centre footfall is double the national average at 2.4% better than last year; our car parks have held 2.1 cars last year – up from 1.7 five years ago; only 6.5% of our town centre shops are empty compared to 10.5% last year. We wondered why, so we asked the experts…

Bill Shutter, the head of the council explained “Smalltown is such a lovely historic town full of great people like me and my colleagues who ensure we have only the finest facilities, attractions and businesses! We’re one of the top visitor attractions in the region, you know.”

“Of course, there will always be casualties on the high street but we’ve anticipated challenges from things like online marketing and reacted accordingly. Did you know that there are now over 90 restaurants, cafes and coffee shops in the town centre. That’s double what we had a year ago. It’s been a real triumph!”

And then there’s the twice weekly market. What an attraction that is! As the chairman of the Market Traders Association, Ivor Stall, put it: “Yes, it’s true to say that market turnover has not yet returned to the levels of 2007 but we’re certainly very optimistic about the future!”

So there you have it. There’s plenty of car parking to be had whenever you want to pop into town for a coffee while you browse the online retailers from your iPad. And thanks to the charity shops, money lenders and betting shops the high street is looking a lot better than when we had all those nasty empty shop fronts.

No, we’ll soon be back where we were 7 years at this rate, so no doom and gloom here!

Posted in Community, High Street | 1 Comment

The Great Women’s Bike Race is coming to town

Oh deep joy! Smalltown is shut all weekend because the Women’s Tour of Britain is coming to town.

Of course, if they were all dressed like in the above picture then I might be a little more enthusiastic. But only a little, mind…

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Trial by combat

fight3Excuse me! Did someone once suggest that nothing exciting ever happens in Smalltown? Shame on you! Life here can be really exhilarating.

Take, for example, our historical traditions. We’re very proud of them. I give you the case of Leon Humphreys who was fined for failing to notify the DVLC that his motorcycle was off the road. But Mr Humphreys believes in tradition – which is why when he was hauled up in front of Smalltown magistrates he refused to pay and demanded that the DVLC nominate its champion to resolve the issue using his ancient right to trial by combat.

Leon explained: “I believe the right to trial by combat is still on the statute books. I can ask for it because the new Human Rights law gives ordinary people the right to use the law for their own purposes. I am willing to fight a champion put up by the DVLA if they want to accept my challenge – but they must remember it is a fight to the death.

“The victor speaks in the name of God and justice so it is a reasonable enough way of sorting the matter out. I know I am in the right so I do not have anything to worry about. I am reasonably fit and not afraid of taking anyone on in a fight.” He added that he was prepared to fight with Japanese samurai swords, razor sharp Ghurka knives or even heavy blacksmith hammers.

Smalltown Magistrates told him to sod off and fined him £200 and £100 costs. No sense of tradition, you see..

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Happy Easter

parking space

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