Council spin aims to fool media and residents about budget cuts

Highways maintenance funding - Double click to enlarge

Ward committee budget - click to enlarge

caption]

Sad, but not surprising, to see the Labour spin machine at work in The Press. Some of the figures quoted in articles about the Council budget are just plain wrong.

Highways maintence expenditure is reducing by a massive 56%. The effect on the safety of our roads and footpaths will be dramatic

Similarly Ward Committee expenditure – on projects like security patrols, CCTV and improved parking arrangements and which have been prioritised by York Residents – will be reduced by an unprecidented 65%.

Click the calculations right – which have been verified by the Councils professional officers – for details.

The savings are not being used to help the less well off.

They will fund the interest payments on vanity projects like the £20 million borrowing on a “re-energise York” programme as well as the Council Leaders personal £1 million pa “delivery and imnnovation” slush fund.

Labour to reduce number of roads that are gritted.

Labour are proposing to reduce the number of streets that are treated with salt. A £10,000 a year budget cut means that fewer areas will see gritters in future, although Labour are not saying which streets will lose the service.

Coming in the wake of a weekend when the existing gritting provision was put under enormous pressure, fears have been raised that the move will lead to more accidents.

The Council also plan to leave salt bins out on the streets for 12 months of the year, prompting fears that they will be vandalised. The bins are normally placed in the Council depot in summer where they are repaired and refurbished.

The new Council budget will allow bins to be filled only 3 times a year in future.

The Council are however finding £500,000 as their share of a £6million plan to extend the Art Gallery

When is a budget “efficiency” saving really a cut in pubic service standards?

Summary of cuts being made by the Labour Council. double click to enlarge

A summary of where public services cuts will be made over the next couple of years has been published by the Council. It reveals the split by department.

It admits that £1.87 million in 2012/13 will come from “service cuts” while claiming that another £5.4 million represents “efficiency savings”.

On close examination many of the “efficiencies” are no such thing. They are cuts in service standards.

Reproduced below is a list of some of them.

We will publish a list of the cuts that the Council is now admitting to shortly.

Double click to enlarge

York Council Budget: Labour announce closure of recycling centre, car park charges up 18%

Beckfield Lane recycling centre

The Labour controlled Council has announced that they are closing the Beckfield Lane recycling centre.

The centre was due to have been replaced by a new “Salvage and Re-use centre” at Harewood Whin but this to has also now been cut from the Councils plans.

The decisions are bad news generally for York Council Taxpayers as the amount of rubbish land filled is likely to increase. This in turn will mean taxpayers facing a bigger bill for, the rapidly escalating, “landfill tax”.

The Acomb side of the City has done particularly badly out of the cuts imposed by the Labour administration. The Acomb Office is set to close later this month and the number 4 ftr bus service will be scrapped in May.

Hugh reductions in the amount spent on the elderly, children’s play and other neighbourhood improvements are also being implemented as ward committee budgets are slashed by nearly half.

Instead, Labour are pouring money into the City centre with gimmicks, like an extended “WiFi zone” and a £100,000 pay on exit arrangement at one car park, sucking funds away from other parts of the City.

NB. Car parking charges are set to rise by 20p an hour for York residents. The increase of between 12% (short stay) and 18% (long stay) is the largest in the City since Labour were last in power in April 2003.

Budget headlines

Labour are announcing today their Council budget for the next 2 years.

• Council Tax up by 2.9% in April 2012 and at least 2.0% more from April 2013 (£54 pa)

• Council House rents up by 7.4%

• Business rates up by 5.8%

• Water and sewage up by 6.1%

• Car parking charges up

• 8% cut in grants for voluntary sector

• 200 jobs to go over next 2 years

• Council to borrow £20 million more

• £2.8 million in public service standard cuts over 24 months.

• £5.4M a year in “efficiency” improvements

• Libraries to be outsourced

• More to pay for increased numbers requiring elderly care and for looked after children
.
• £100k for consultants to prepare a “bus contract”

Bad news for children and elderly as Labour cut ward budgets

As the Council budget crisis deepens, Councillors are set to scrap a series of Ward Committee funded repair and renewal schemes across the City. As much as 32% of this years (11/12) ward committee budget could be slashed with further cuts expected during the next 12 months.

We understand that in Westfield the provision made for the repair and improvement of children’s play facilities has been scrapped, together with funding for older persons activities and the renewal of street signs. This comes on top of the previous decision to stop community ranger security patrols.

In total £11,500 is being cut from the £40,000 budget.

Across the City nearly £168,000 is being axed, with one ward apparently facing an 80% reduction.

The panic move comes after newly elected Labour Councillors failed in the summer to get to grips with escalating wage costs particularly in the care services. Over £20,000 is now being spent each year on a newly created “community safety” cabinet post allocated to a Labour Councillor. £38,000 extra is being spent funding Trades Union shop steward posts.

Hopes for playground improvements dashed

Ward Committee ballot results – Westfield Foxwood

  1. GRANT to Foxwood Friendship Club – This is a weekly club for the elderly to come along and make friends and enjoy a range of activities
  2. Improvements to street lighting at identified areas throughout the ward
  3. GRANT to Age Concern to help with the costs of Room Hire to be able to offer increase services to the Elderly
  4. GRANT to Active York to support young people in developing their opportunities in their chosen sport,
  5. Ward Fund to make repairs and improve security at play areas
  6. Ward Fund to increase Leisure facilities & opportunities for teenagers throughout the ward
  7. Ward fund for improving and cleaning cycle tracks (eg removal of broken glass and detritus
  8. Ward Fund to increase play facilities and play sessions for 8 – 13 year olds throughout the ward.
  9. Ward fund the replacement and new dog bins and litter bins as identified by residents.
  10. Ward Fund to increase facilities and opportunities for older people throughout the Ward
  11. Ward Fund for tree management throughout the ward at identified areas.
  12. GRANT to Street Sport York to provide 10 x 2 hour sports sessions throughout the ward for young people.
  13. Ward Fund for reducing waste and have a quarterly recycle and refuse lorry for street pick ups throughout the ward.
  14. Ward Fund for installing cycle barriers at appropriate locations around the ward to prevent cycling on the footpaths
  15. CCTV overlooking the Tedder Road park (subject to quotations)
  16. Each list to be worked down until Ward budget is exhausted.

Liberal Democrat Budget 2010/11

On Tuesday the Liberal Democrat Council Executive agreed its budget proposals for 2010/11. The budget is designed to help prepare York for the economic recovery, while ensuring investment in vital services such as adult and children’s social care.

In preparing our budget we were also very keen to ensure we responded to the city wide budget consultation which went out in December.

Some of the budget highlights include:

Transport: To help boost the city centre economy, car parking charges will be frozen as will Park and Ride charges. Everyone except the owners of the most polluting vehicles will see ResPark charges frozen while charges for visitors to ResPark areas will be cut from £1.10 to 90p.

There will be more congestion busting improvements to the outer ring road. Following the completion of improvements to the Hopgrove roundabout there will be improvements to the A19 and A59 roundabouts.

tom-brake-and-ann-with-bus.JPG

Read the rest of this entry.