I have a friend who's a parish councillor.
He was telling me recently how they had paid £10,000 (half their annual budget!) to have 'Keep Clear' painted on the road.
At a single place, not all over the parish or anything.
I said that I'd do it for him for £1000, using the right paint and font and everything, including driving half-way across England to do it. And that once I'd got the kit and learned how to do it, I'd do further work of the same nature much more cheaply.
Ah, he said: "The problem is that you're not a council-approved contractor."
How, I asked, does one become a council approved contractor?
That, he said, is where the £10,000 goes....
The other half of the parish council budget apparently goes on maintaining the buildings where the parish council meets.
My friend is a volunteer, and a very high powered and competent man in his own right, who controls a budget of millions in the private sector. He couldn't find any way to get it done cheaper.
I sense that he is already rather disillusioned, I wonder how much the next volunteer will end up paying for road markings?