Friday, 11 March 2011

Bexley council votes through £35.3 million cuts

More SE London budget cuts - this time from a Conservative Council, and where all the Labour councillors opposed the budget.

From the Bexley Times:
"...The budget will see £35.3 million cuts over a three-year period to 2014. The council intends to save £15.3 million in the forthcoming financial year. This includes £1.6 million in children’s services and £1.2 million in health and adult care.

Protesters gathered around the back doors to chant “care, not cuts” as councillors entered the emotionally charged meeting..."
"...There were deafening boos as 51 councillors voted in favour of the budget while all 11 Labour councillors voted against. One member was absent."

The cuts to many valuable services are a sad state of affairs which are being repeated around the country.

Meanwhile, here's the approach of another Tory London Council, as Liberal Conspiracy have described it:

"More than 140 staff at Barnet Council’s Regulatory Service’s Department will take industrial action, in a bid to remain directly employed by the council.

Barnet council is a flagship for the Tory’s small-state vision of outsourced public service delivery.

Instead of directly providing services, the council plans to shrink the workforce down to a small core of a few hundred staff, who will commission services from outside providers. The current workforce is 3500."

I was aware that some Councils were exploring this approach but here it is about to happen already. Can out-sourcing a public service to anything other than a not-for-profit operation ever be a good thing? A longer debate...

Co-incidently last week I saw the table above, in the Evening Standard, showing the reserves held by London councils, and the percentage that represented of their annual expenditure.  It shows that Greenwich holds that largest actual reserves though Kensington & Chelsea holds the largest percentage of expenditure. The government is saying that the 'rainy day' has arrived for councils to start drawing on their reserves. The problem is that drawing on reserves is generally not a good idea for recurrent expenditure, for funding services for which there will be bills year after year. I'd like to know more about how councils view and treat these reserve budgets.

Vaguely related posts:

1 comment:

hilly said...

who knows what greenwich are up to, beyond restating their commitment to tackling vulnerabilities in society. since the current cuts settlement only lasts for two years, with further possible disruption in 2013, they might be fairly cautious about what to do with the piggy bank.

but, i'm thinking of roosevelt and keynes and their growth schemes... in woolwich local people looking for jobs could work on the fitting out of the crossrail station for example, which the council has some responsibility for seeing through - so it could achieve its long term infrastructure plans whilst stimulating spending locally. just a thought...