Pro-cuts think tank Reform takes public sector sponsorship

Tory-Lib Dem council Birmingham City Council is sponsoring Reform's upcoming conference "Localism and the Public Services Revolution", at the cost of £7,500.

Free Market think tank Reform is very keen for the public sector to spend less. So, for example, director Andrew Haldenby has argued that there should be 300,000 fewer employees in the NHS, and one million fewer in the public sector as a whole. So if the public sector shouldn’t spend money on front line staff, what should it spend its money on? Why – free market think tank conferences, of course.

Tory-Liberal Democrat run Birmingham City Council is sponsoring Reform’s upcoming conference “Localism and the Public Services Revolution”, at the cost of £7,500.

Reform’s business model is a sound one – take sponsorship from private companies, many of whom apply for public sector contracts, and then advocate for ever greater outsourcing – for example, in the NHS. (Although how that qualifies Reform to charitable status is puzzling).

That a local authority like Birmingham, currently cutting social care, meals-on-wheels and youth centres, thinks this is the best use of taxpayers’ money seems bizarre. Despite the enthusiasm of communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles for targetted attacks on local authorities and agencies he doesn’t like, we don’t expect he’ll be using his headlining appearance at the conference to comment.

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