Tories will make budget decision B4 consultation ends?

CouncilMoney

The Tories at the Town Hall have just launched the first phase of their budget plan, interestingly the consultation ends on 30th November, yet at “a Cabinet meeting on Monday 20 November 2017, members will be asked to approve the first set of proposals for consultation….” – So the Tories will be taking a decision before local people have had their final say?

“…we are no longer sufficiently funded by government to provide the services we want to deliver for residents and the 2018/19 budget will be the most challenging yet.” – Councillor John Holdich

Other interesting points this year are:

  • When the austerity programme was first launched, local Tories described the cuts as with words like “efficiency“, now even the leader of the Tories is admitting the actions are “cuts!”
  • This will be the first time the Tories at the Town Hall have had to put a budget together without their financial guru John Harrison for over a decade! (We’re STILL not sure why he left the authority the other month?)

“..the same time the council has seen unprecedented increases in demand for services, in particular those in housing need and adults and the elderly needing care and support.” – Peterborough City Council

Other bits to bear in mind:

  • Thanks to the Tory Government’s austerity programme, in 2013/14 the city council received £55 million in Revenue Support Grant and this will have reduced to just £15 million in 2018/19 and then £10 million in 2019/20.
  • In terms of homelessness, the council has seen a 200% rise in the number of homeless families requiring temporary accommodation in just the past two years.
  • Senior Tory Councillors say they are lobbying government for extra funding and already have meetings set up with our MPs and have been in discussion with the Local Government Association, but I do wonder what there’ll be doing different this time and why they’ve not done it to date?

Have your say

Let me know below if you have any suggestions on what the City Council could do?

Tories in turmoil at the Town Hall……

Cllr David Sanders
Senior Tory councillors joked about Cllr David Sanders’, just before he announced his departure from politics…. they soon stopped laughing!

The Conservatives have been “running” the City Council since the year 2000, and as someone who has been a councillor since 2004, I can assure you I’ve never seen them in such a mess!

It seems quite clear to me, given that there is no more silverware in the cupboard for them to sell, that they’ve agreed annual rises in Council Tax over the next 5 years, the back tracking on bulky waste collections, senior officers moving to jobs outside the authority etc!

And let’s not forget the recent events, like:

  1. Tory Mayor drops resignation bombshell – After a year in the role as mayor, Tory councillor, David Sanders, announced at a meeting of Full Council (without informing his leader or other senior Tory councillors) that he’d be resigning his position as a elected member after 20 years in the role. Some suggest this was solely down to his view of how things are being run by his party colleagues at the Town Hall?
  2. Chief Finance Officer jumps shipJohn Harrison, who received £184,572 last year including pension contributions, suddenly left the authority, without even a good-bye email? I myself was very surprised, as I thought he was pretty much entrenched at the Council and especially after I was told at a meeting (which he also attended) that he’d be the one leading the renegotiation of the Council’s contract with Amey?
  3. Nearly half a billion in debt – This year I discovered from holding the Tories at the Town Hall to account during a formal meeting, that they are presently in debt to the tune of £395,400,000 and repayment of individual loans ranges from 2 months to 49 years. The total interest payment over the life of the outstanding debt is presently £405,000,000……. nearly half a billion! To put it into perspective, if you get paid £16,000 a year, then its like you owing £38,400 …… on top of YOUR mortgage or rent etc Not very fiscally sound, eh?
  4. Rhubarb Bridge fiasco – Hundreds of local residents were left dismayed after the Tories launched a “consultation” exercise regarding the future of the Rhubarb Bridge, however, on attending they discovered that there was only one option on the table, and that a multi million pound deal had already been signed!

Don’t forget to let me know your thoughts or opinions below!

Amey staff have to wait another 6-7 months for news …..

Amey

At the start of this year, the City Council announced they were set to terminate their waste contract with Amey in a bid to save £100,000 every year.

At a subsequent meeting, when I raised the issue, we were told that, essentially we need not worry as the council’s Corporate Director for resources, John Harrison, would be heading up the negotiations.

A few weeks later, Mr Harrison had resigned from his position at the Town Hall, in what “some” suggest are mysterious circumstances?

So why are they in limbo?

Well over the last few weeks, I’ve been speaking privately with Amey staff, who have told me that they were assured that their employment transfer would occur at the end of July 2017, I was then told by an officer at the Town Hall that it would be more likely be the end of this year.

But, at a meeting at the Town Hall, I was told by Simon Machen, that an announcement would be made by the City Council on this matter, in the New Year.

So basically, Amey staff could end up waiting over 6 months, before their employment is transferred back to the City Council, into what I expect to be a joint venture partnership with a private organisation?

Either way it’s not cool…..! Let me know your thoughts below please?