Council spends £410 on an umbrella wrapper for Fisher’s Folly

UmbrellaIt never rains but it pours, as far as Croydon Council’s profligacy with public money is concerned.

After the £272 replacement tap in the council headquarters (and there’s more, much more, to come on that story), we bring you … £410.46 spent on an umbrella wrapping machine.


Feel free to fill in your own exclamation of shock and horror at this latest example of ridiculous spending by the Tory-controlled council.

In answer to a written question this week, cabinet member Sara “Book Token” Bashford, who receives £43,339 per year in “allowances” for her part-time role with the council, offered this by way of explanation: “Slips, trips and falls are the main cause of accidents in the workplace,” she has written, clearly having believed the manufacturers’ marketing blurb about ambulance-chasing lawyers.

“In the event of wet weather conditions the Council invested…” do you like that use of the word “invested”? “…£410.46 in the umbrella wrapping machine in the corporate reception for staff and visitors to reduce the risk of slips from wet floor surfaces.”

We should probably be grateful for small mercies: “There are no associated on-going maintenance costs,” Bashford claimed.

A simple Google search shows that umbrella wrapping machines – which, despite Bashford’s assurance, do have on-going maintenance costs, at least in the provision of wrapping re-fills, if anyone can ever be bothered to use the thing – can actually be purchased for less than £150.

Clearly, this was not the low-cost option purchased for use in what some people insist on calling Bernard Weatherill House. It appears that Bashford has authorised the purchase of a very top-of-the-range umbrella wrapping machine.

Our art collections may have been sold off, our libraries closed, lollipop ladies have had their jobs axed, old people’s care cut and our street cleaning services reduced, but nothing, it seems, is too much when it comes to spending our Council Tax on Fisher’s Folly, the council offices built at a cost of £140 million but with a roof that leaks.

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