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Monday, 1 February 2010

Quality of Life

What new public policy has most improved my own quality of life in recent years? I would have to say the ban on smoking in public places. Simple and highly effective.

What next? For me, to require public services to stop observing so-called "Bank Holidays". These are really only public sector holidays now. They not only disrupt everything from access to doctors to refuse collection, but they are the launch pad for numerous scams. Out-of-hours doctor services double the shift rate for "Bank Holiday" cover (£175 per hour according to yesterday's Sunday Times ).Binmen likewise command double time to do the necessary catch-up work on the Saturday following a Monday holiday.

A High Street kebab shop with a staff of half a dozen will open 364 days a year. The staff work shifts, which means they are off work at different times - something which is still rocket science to your average town hall.In fact, the whole retail sector now opens the best part of 364 days a year. The same ought to be true of the whole public sector. Doctors' surgeries, town halls, refuse collection rounds, courts - the lot.

How much more grown-up for workers to be able to use their holiday entitlements on days which fit in with their own plans. Nanny doesn't always know best. In this case, Nanny has given us bank holiday traffic jams and crowded public spaces and has picked the dates to guarantee bad weather.

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