Dear Mr. Cameron

Dear Mr. Cameron (and Nick), Since the word is out that you would like us all to suggest ways that you can cut the Public Sector budget, I would like to take this opportunity to put forward a couple of suggestions. The big thing about these suggestions is that once implemented very few people will notice any difference. A few years ago, when Government money was sloshing around like the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and your job was done by a chap from Scotland, a new type of civil servant was introduced called a Highways Agency Traffic Officer (HATO) (not to be confused with a hard working Highways Agency repair man). Their job description seemed clearly defined and their role understood by everyone, which was to help to keep the main motorways in England free of stoppages, help broken-down and stranded motorists, and help the Police when major accidents occurred, and the role would be intended to remove Police from the motorway network, for which the law breaking motorist is now thankful. In fact, the low-life tell me that the motorways are one of the safest places to travel. For politically correct reasons these HATOs have been drawn from all walks of life and therefore include very few retired Police Officers, somebody who would be perfect in the role. What concerns me most is the extravagance that has come to bear with the running of this operation. Many weeks are spent training these Highways Officers, they are then equipped with quite expensive and uneconomical four-wheel drive vehicles. I understand they always have to work in pairs for safety reasons, whereas the Police are often single-crewed. By their very nature they have little or no power to maintain law and order on the motorway but, worst of all as people can testify, they appear to have contributed very little to keep the traffic flowing in the event of even a minor accident. Their role, therefore, seems to be driving up and down the motorways in matched pairs at great expense looking for the odd broken-down motorist. While this may give some reassurance to a broken-down motorist, if they are looking to be intercepted by a HATO it is hardly cost effective in the present climate having regard to the fact that very few people do not have the use of at least one mobile phone. If an accident occurs invariably the Police still have to come to the scene, so I know I am not alone in asking the question: Why can’t Police be given what will amount to only a small part of the budget to do the job that they used to do? And when they weren’t working on the motorways they could attend to the crimes and accidents and all of those little things that happen on the roads adjoining and at the same time have a law enforcement facility back on our motorway network . One of the other big expenses of running the HATOs must be the Control Centre and infrastructure that we never see. By referring back to the Police it would automatically go back to the local Police Control Room, thereby keeping up efficiency and having a no-cost control facility. Using a scaremonger’s charter it might be said that these HATOs save lives but I would like some justification before I would agree with that statement. After reading this I would have thought using the rear of a cigarette packet you would certainly be able to build a few more hospitals with the money saved or, better still, let’s get the National Debt down: But if you lack the stomach for making big cuts, how about saving a few more millions by not spending so much time cutting the grass on the side of the motorways and many other roads. Environmentally, I would have thought the more grass we grow the better. It is not unsightly, it must be better for wild life and insects and it might even provide a safety buffer for cars that leave the road. I ask, how much money can be saved across the country by giving these roads a one-metre wide trim along their entire length and nothing more. I recently saw over a dozen people with at least four expensive machines working on a Sunday cutting back the embankments on an A-class road near where I live. I bet that exercise alone cost thousands. If we are going to address the problems and at the same time ensure that you stay popular and in office, these two savings I have suggested are areas where you may not lose many votes or, indeed, would anybody really notice. Fred Henderson, Breakdown Doctor, Collector of Taxes, VAT and PAYE (all at no cost to yourself)

(These are not necessarily the views of Recovery World Ltd.)