Bigger boondoggles to come
Monthly interest payments on the Library of Birmingham cost £1 million every month, wrote the Birmingham Mail’s Graeme Brown.
[Library of Birmingham might be unworkable – but that’s no reason not to try, Birmingham Mail, 11 Feb 2016]
That is £33,000 every day or £1,370 every hour for interest alone. Permit me a tabloid moment: FOR INTEREST ALONE.
If the Library of Birmingham “costs more than £70,000 a day, with an average attendance of about 5,000”, the cost per visitor is around £14. But the build cost of the Library of Birmingham was “only” £188 million. There are much bigger boondoggles to come, and not just in Birmingham.
For example, Centro and Birmingham council want to build a circuitous Midland Metro line to Birmingham Airport, at a cost of around £500 million (or “2.65 LoBs”).
And the track and tunnel just to bring HS2 into Manchester Piccadilly would cost more than a billion pounds (i.e., more than five LoBs).
Birmingham council’s “scorched earth” policy of cancelling most newspapers and periodicals seems not to be helping library visitor numbers. When set against the LoB’s £1,370-per-hour interest charge, how cancelling the Guardian and / or Times at branch libraries is supposed to make a difference, has not been explained.