Lewisham budget cuts plan to be debated

On July 13th, the Council’s Public Accounts Select Committee will discuss proposals to reduce the Council budget by £60 million, which will involve significant service reductions.

Much of the reduction will be achieved through “efficiency savings” such as job losses and renegotiating supplier contracts and by shaving non-core services (for example, nearly £100,000 will be cut by reducing the number of issues of Lewisham Life from ten to six per year and the elimination of the borough’s Fairtrade promotion). Many of the proposals seem eminently sensible, if the claims that service delivery will be unaffected are correct. For example:

Officers recommend the amalgamation of the Community Safety Service and the Community Wardens Service to create three area based neighbourhood safety teams on a reduced staffing level. The amalgamated service will still be able to deliver against the requirements set out in legislation, maintain key aspects of the current provision and deliver in partnership with the safer neighbourhood teams. A restructure is anticipated to save approximately £791k plus a £20k saving against tendering of the home security service.

But frontline provision of core services will also be hit. We’ve already highlighted the impact this could have on Lewisham libraries, including Crofton Park, which faces possible closure. Other major cuts include (but are by no means limited to):

· The cancellation of night-time waste collection in Lewisham’s major shopping centres, including Lewisham town centre, Deptford and Ladywell.

· Reduced funding for sports clubs

· The closure of adult social care centres for people with learning disabilities

· Fewer street cleaning machines in operation across the borough

· The closure of Lewisham’s automated public toilets

· The loss of trading standards officers, planning officers, environmental enforcement officers and town centre managers

Residents could also be faced with increased charges for services, including having to pay for replacement bins.

Lewisham Cllr Mike Harris told Londonist:

To cut any Council service there has to be a statuatory consultation and then to deliver the cost saving it can take a few years. We predict that we need to deliver £60m worth of cost savings based on the fact that in the budget the coalition announced cuts worth about 25 - 30% per department. We need to plan a minimum of 3 years in advance - therefore we're sketching out savings now so that if we need to be can deliver a 'balanced budget'. Local Councils aren't allowed to borrow except for capital improvements - so if we get our budget cut by 25% and don't manage to cut costs in time then we have to slash services that can be cut at short notice (which isn't acceptable really).

There's going to be a lot of consultation - and Councillors, the Mayor and his Cabinet really mean this. When you start looking at the budget options you realise how difficult some of these choices are.

However, the target of cutting £60m from the Council budget was discussed before the election. During the Brockley Central hustings, Mayor Bullock said:

All three major Parties have made clear that there will be a severe squeeze on public spending – they only differ on when and by how much this will be done. None of us can know until after the General election how much is needed but a 10% real terms reduction is likely to be the least that is required.

83 comments:

Monkeyboy said...

Was it kinnock who said "don't be old, young, disabled etc*..."? I'm none of those thankfully so will not hit me as much as some others. I'm expecting lots of empathy in the comments here.

[*or in desperate need of "Lewisham Life"]

Anonymous said...

the town centre already boasts stinking, rubbish-strewn streets so i dispair of what it will bill like after these cuts. mind you, i've never actually seen a street cleaning machine in operation in the town centre.
and anyone who has ever dealt with people such as environmental and planning enforcement know it's impossible to get things to move faster than a snails pace with them so cuts there will make it even more of a waste of time to report infringements. though lewisham council has no interest for the most part in enforcing its rules anyway...

Anonymous said...

Surely the night time collection is needed ( do they mean around 6pm )the shops are just shutting,and to leave all that rubbish out overnight, will have the foxes pulling it all over the streets.Not to mention our drunken yoof.

Anonymous said...

Could save initial £45,000 and maintenance costs thereafter and not build a skateboard park...

Anonymous said...

Could save initial £45,000 and maintenance costs thereafter and not build a skateboard park...

Reg said...

It was reported on here some time back that Lewisham council pays its head of regeneration over £200,000 per annum, and through a private company that he and his wife owns. Why not start there?

Pete said...

I must confess to only skimming through this but so much of these cuts appear to be frontline services. Werent these to be protected by David Cameron? I hate to think of a council serving us that is even more cocooned in its ivory towers.

Anonymous said...

ok I'm going to come across as all victorian here but....

over the past 3 to 6 months we've had 3 shootings (of which one was fatal) in and around Brockley Cross.

Unless the plans to reduce or amalgamate community safety and community wardens say something explicit about targeting this particular location/community/problem (delete as appropriate) then all I see is the council ducking an extremely important law and order issue.

If budget cuts mean more anti-social behaviour/crime (which they probably do) then ensuring that the authorities have a visible presence "might" help alleviate the worst of it.

Clearly law and order is only one part of a greater set of questions to do with the public realm and what not but I guess the potholes, rubbish and graffiti are going to be the norm over the next 5 years (or until the LibDems get their blessed PR referendum and then hold a snap election as a result of the coalition's imminent collapse).

David said...

They should scrap Lewisham Life completely. Council newspapers are a joke.

Ed said...

I have never fully understood why it is apparently so difficult for councils to prioritise their spending according to need and what can be afforded. I suggest scrapping everything and only reinstate things in order of importance to ALL not discrete interest groups (policing, health and sanitation, transport etc.). 200k council salaries, skate parks and the like all seem offensive in light of the the new era of auterity we are facing. It is simple, we have been paying for lots of stuff we just can't afford.

Anonymous said...

How can adults with learning difficulties not be a priority for the council? There was an article in the Guardian the other day asbout how people with learning disabilities are living longer and how therefore the burden is falling on their elderly parents to care for them even if they have medical problems themselves. These families have often not applied for benefits they are entitled over the years and I think that having some where for their children to go during the day must be a god send. Getting rid of the stupid Blackheath fireworks and Lewisham's peoples day and the Lewisham Life would probably save several day centres.

Anonymous said...

Depends whether you thing facilities for youg people are a legitimate responsibility. I do

Anonymous said...

I seriously doubt that even with the poor salary care workers receive. Engage brain before posting.

Ed said...

I didn't explain my point very well. There are more deserving causes repsonsibilities that we would like to fulfil/fund than we can afford so we have to prioritise. This will undoubtedly lead to important funding being cut but we just can't afford everything and we have to begin to change the culture that has led us to believe we can do so both personally and at council/national level.

Hugh said...

I wonder if they'll abolish the free swimming lessons where most of the pool is cordoned off from keen swimmers while people with no real inclination to learn splash around for a couple of (peak time) hours.

Anonymous said...

Hugh Hugh Hugh

Don't wanna be like you you you....

After Neanderthal D

abw said...

£25k per edition of Lewisham Life!!! Really??? cut it completely

Anonymous said...

hands off Lewisham Peoples Day which is tomorrow BTW

Tressilliana said...

Why?

Hugh said...

Anon, we swimmers look at you with pity, frankly.

Now Then said...

Could we ..like..march against Lewisham Life or something?

Anonymous said...

The fireworks alone cost the council nearly £40K. Am I to take it you woudl rather have social events than care for the vulnerable?

Run Forrest Run said...

London Olympics 2012,I know what we will do,cut funding to sports clubs.

Anonymous said...

No, but 40k would not pay a fraction of one care home. FACT. So although your point has some validity I think you'll find that things are little more complex then you think.

Mb said...

Lewisham life is a rubbish mag but having said that the council do have a responsibility to tell their residents what they are doing which cannot be done for free. Their mag is not the best use if the money though.

Ed said...

I don't imagine Uruguay have a great sports funding program and they got to the semi finals of the world cup. Sport is about passion not money but it is now ingrained in our culture that we can buy anything we want, sporting success included, usually on credit. I'll admit that there is a link between funding and sporting success but it is not the only factor.

Now Then said...

Thats an important function of the libraries

Now Then said...

An interface with the council that is, not sporting success

Anonymous said...

Not talking about care homes, day centres

Anonymous said...

The point stands. £40k doesn't go far. Try again

Tamsin said...

Mb has a good point about the Council needing to keep people informed - and to say that everything is on the web is not an answer as that makes huge assumptions about computer access.

And people have contacted the voluntary organisation I work for because they have got the number from Lewisham Life.

But it does not need to be so glossy, so frequent or so irritatingly upbeat.

Lou Baker said...

- Scrap Lewisham life.

- Any information from it that's needed - hardly any - to go online instead.

- Close at least half the borough's libraries as there are too many and they're unnecessary.

- Scrap free swimming to all but those on benefits.

- Increase the cost of using leisure centres so they all run at a profit.

- Scrap weekly bin collections in favour of fortnightly ones.

- Prosecute chavs who produce too much stinking waste.

- Charge individuals or organisations who create needless bureaucracy by unreasonably objecting to more than one planning application. (Yes, Telegraph Hill Society - that means you).

- An immediate pay freeze for all council staff for 2 years.

- Council vacancies should not be filled.

- The cost of food in council run canteens should be increased so they all make a small profit.

- There should be a move to send most council tax bills by emails.

- The cost of residents parking permits should double.

- Areas without paid for residents parking should have it introduced immediately.

- Double the cost of parking in all council run car parks.

- Scrap the 'learn to cycle' scheme.

- Stop distributing free cycle maps.

- Whoever's in charge of 'twinning Lewisham' with other countries - scrap them.

- Market co-ordinator? Please. Bye bye.

- Get rid of all of the press officers, bar one. The 'film team' and the like can go too.

- Scrap all events - like People's Day - unless they can make a profit.

- Charge for the Blackheath fireworks so they make a profit.

- Sack anyone who has the word 'champion' anywhere in their job description.

- Install Highwaymen on the A2 at Blackheath to rob all the motorists coming in from Kent.

- Only turn on every other street light to save energy.

- Turn off traffic lights at night.

- Sell off the council HQ and have all of its office based employees work from home.

- Staff who need to travel around the borough should be given a bicycle and helmet. Mileage will should not be paid.

There you go, that's a start. How am I doing?

Tressilliana said...

The scary thing is, Lou, I would agree with a lot of that, especially the bit about highwaymen. If the film team aren't making a profit for the borough, they should be - unless they can provide pretty solid proof that having film crews in Lewisham has led directly to money coming into the borough.

Ed said...

Wow - I actually agree with alot of that! I must have recently reached 'turning into my parents and becoming more right wing' age.

Tressilliana said...

...but not the bit about libraries and not the bit about working from home. People need human contact during the day - well, I do.

Anonymous said...

Presumably any thing that brings a little happiness to peoples lives should be scrapped unless you can either pay or it can make a profit? A fairly bleak life view you have. The thing is trust in your judgement has never really recovered since you got the ELL 'disaster' wrong. Niven touch about fining 'chavs' presumably the mess we are in now is due to thevfeckless poor. - should we have them killed or lightly beaten perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Cllr: Mike Harris: 'We predict that we need to deliver £60m worth of cost savings based on the fact that in the budget the coalition announced cuts worth about 25 - 30% per department.'

No Cllr Harris, the £60m cuts were announced in 2009 by the The Mayor.

Tamsin said...

In defence of the Telegraph Hill Society (and Broc. Soc.) and their (necessary) stand on planning issues - what about charging treble for those developers who cause unecessary work by putting in applications in clear contravention of Conservation Area and general planning guide-lines?

Agree on charging for the individuals and businesses who produce too much waste - but not to charge them for taking it themselves to Council dumps (as long as they are genuinely resident or based within the borough).

Don't even think about going down the idea of "rewarding" people by the amount they recycle with vouchers from M&S or Sainsbury's - who produce far too much packaging anyway.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone checked how much the list of cuts adds up to?

If its 3 times more than that which is required, then a great deal may be there just for show?

Hugh: The free swimming has already been sunk without trace...

Despite only a few weeks ago in Lewisham Life the Mayor claiming credit for the free swimming.

When it was scrapped an outraged Mayor ran to the press and revealed the scheme was funded by government not the Mayor.

The Mayor is immune from the cuts having increased the number of his cabinet by almost 30%, how does that demonstrate a more efficent Council?

There are 5 Directorates within the council but The Mayor has 9 cronies as Cabinet members.

Anonymous said...

How about being obvious and starting at the top with job cuts and getting rid of the Mayor? 70K + per year saved immediately. Why do we need him, Boris is more than(bad) enough for London as it is. Then start with all the council departments that duplicate the work of other agencies i.e. the crime reduction dept - obviously not living up to their title- they do what is or can already by done by the police, probation and social services.As for Peoples Day, it may be free to go to, but it cost a fortune for police and security staff.

Anonymous said...

Love it, Lou! I do find your posts very entertaining. You say the things that others are thinking but which their claims to leftyism do not allow them to voice!

Anonymous said...

Cancel the annual awards ceremony Lewisham council holds for its staff. Save a fortune right there.

Lewisham People's Day does at least attract 30,000 people, many of whom would probably not go if they had to pay for it. If it was attracting 3,000 I'd say scrap it, but a big chunk of the community seesm to think it's worthwhile. Anyone know how much it costs?

Brockley Nick said...

@Ed - it's a mistake to confuse elite sport with grassroots sport. The funding for clubs (which was minimal anyway) would help kids and adults get regular exercise and live healthier, happier lives.

Provision of local leisure facilities ought to be a core part of the Council's remit - reducing crime and ill-health and making life worth living by giving local people something constructive to do are all good ways of spending money.

With regards to Lewisham Life - scrap it entirely and place information in local newspapers, which are desperate for both money and content.

Anonymous said...

Quote from Max's Blog May 19, 2010

As first act of his new administration Steve Bullock has appointed the new Cabinet, and if this is a sign of things to come then we’re in trouble.

One member is in fact appointed with the title of Cabinet Member for Strategy and Communication, a job that didn’t exist before, that we don’t need and that is only of in the interest to the Labour Party and functional to its perpetual preservation in power, unfortunately this job is remunerated with an extra £15,283 a year of your tax money.

The post for Strategy and Communication has been awarded to Lewisham Central Councillor Damien Egan, that during electoral campaign successfully convinced Lewisham Central residents that the Labour Party was behind various community actions and campaigns in the area that were instead the result of non-political community groups.

That’s some strategy and communication in action for you, in vernacular we call this weaseling, Steve Bullock evidently approves of it very much.

Anonymous said...

It was reported on here some time back that Lewisham council pays its head of regeneration over £200,000 per annum, and through a private company that he and his wife owns. Why not start there?

WHAT????????

this is flipping ridiculous.

I have long though that in order to make savings, the place to start is not as often suggested welafare bills but is to cull the number of utter non jobs being done in this country. It is quite ridiculous to have people counting traffic, doing reports on trees, stting up training courses for non existent pc events, having diversity officers, having training for diversity officers. These are the sorts of white collar nonsense zero value added jobs that "graduates" nowadays think they deserve to do. A proper job that adds value like plumbing bricklaying, or actually heaven forbid, making something will of course be out of the question.

Start with non replacement of council staff. See if anyone notices.

Mb said...

Lou is the local Jeremy clarkson. You can take that as a complement or an insult, up to you.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, because £11.7m is still being spent to demolish some lovely buildings at Gordonbrock School, to replace them with cheap garbage, so at some people will be happy.

Anonymous said...

The Sunday Telegraph has established that returning officers in Liverpool, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Islington, Milton Keynes, Lewisham and Runnymede, Surrey, have accepted payments averaging £12,000 each in addition to their normal six-figure salaries.

Lewisham's returning officer & CEO, Barry Quirk, took around £14,000.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/election-2010/7805995/Returning-officers-collect-bonuses-despite-polling-day-farce.html

Tamsin said...

Been at People's Day from 10 though to 6 today because of work. It was actually very, very good. A great family atmosphere - with a happy mix of all sorts of people. It would be a pity if this is the last one.

Anonymous said...

People's Day is very very good - very few people on this site will ever get to enjoy it as too snotty to try it

Tamsin said...

Don't want to denigrate the energy and dedication of the young people involved but - in the current climate - isn't the whole "Young Mayor" business something of a waste of money? All the publicity, paperwork and election costs. Use the expertise in the Young Mayor's advisers more directly, support some decent youth work (if one can find the workers...) and liaise more directly with secondary schools for the engagement side of it.

Anonymous said...

Isn't £200,000 being spent on a temporary garden in Lewisham.

Anonymous said...

Peoples Day is fun but how can the Council still justify spending the money on it? I would like to know how much it costs and if it delivers a profit(unlikely).When you add up the costs involved a and let's start with the private events company -Continental Drifts-that manages the whole thing, the private security company that provides staff to all the major events/festivals which doesn't come cheap, the funky "crew" tshirts given to the staff,that gives us a starting figure of 150K minimum. So how necessary is it to spend that amount of money on ONE DAY when it could be put to so much better use. How many community projects could benefit for a year from a tenth of what this day costs?

Anonymous said...

Erm... It is a community project. Do you not think a councils responsibility extends to improving recreation in the area? Cutting the grass in parks? Slash it? Tennis courts? Not essential, if you can't afford tennis tough. Flower beds? Nope. Trees? Please. Youth clubs? Why not charge a quid.

These things improve the feel of the area. I don't want the area to turn into dour, windswept wasteland. Look at the costs yes, but these things make the place a liitle nicer to live in. There is such a thing as society.

Anonymous said...

Peoples Day is fun but how can the Council still justify spending the money on it? I would like to know how much it costs and if it delivers a profit(unlikely).When you add up the costs involved a and let's start with the private events company -Continental Drifts-that manages the whole thing, the private security company that provides staff to all the major events/festivals which doesn't come cheap, the funky "crew" tshirts given to the staff,that gives us a starting figure of 150K minimum. So how necessary is it to spend that amount of money on ONE DAY when it could be put to so much better use. How many community projects could benefit for a year from a tenth of what this day costs?


Completely agree with the above poster. Appalling waste of money though, of course, it's not pc to say so.

Anonymous said...

What does being "PC" have to do with anything? It's a free event put on by the council for everyone in lewisham in the middle of summer. Let's get this clear, do you thing that local authorities should never fund leisure events that help unify the area? Would it be un pc to accuse you of not really thinking through you comments or being a selfish individual with no interest in the area they live in?

Tressilliana said...

Free event - that's the crux of it. Why not charge? What does it offer that makes it essential to provide it for nothing? I think an excellent case can be made for a free library service but I'm struggling to see why a free funday should be up there with funding of schools, social work, social care, emptying the bins, cleaning the streets, mending the roads, maintaining the pavements and keeping the parks in good order.

I had the same objection to the government funding the Millennium Dome. If it pays its way, fine, otherwise either change it so that it does or scrap it.

Anonymous said...

Asking if Peoples Day is worth the money is absolutely nothing to do with being "pc", it's a very reasonable question to ask when so many budget cuts are being made in essentail services.If the Council want to "unify" the area they should look at whether to spend the Peoples Day money on more sustainable long term projects. I don't see how a one day event can bring unity to an area - get real -this is South East London , a stabbing a week ,not some pretty, twee village where after the village fete everyone bonds over home made cakes and real ale.

Anonymous said...

You really don't like lewisham do you? No fun, we don't deserve it. The fact that there is crime does not preclude any efforts to improve the atmosphere of the area. What about those who are not involved in any nastiness? Do they not deserve something? What if you are on benefits, £67 a week job seekers? Tough. Tresiliana has a more nuanced argument but the posters who paint this picture of lewisham being a he'll hole and that we should take no interest or spend any money in improving the civic environment depresses me. I went to the max and thought it was one of the nicest things I seen in London. I'm not into the "screw the rest" school of thought.

And stop with the argument about how many schools, hospitals etc could be funded. It's a lazy argument. Sell the parks, they are not vital.... Daft argument, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Actually, I do like Lewisham, have lived here all my life and choose to continue to do so! No Bromley for me... It's the Council I don't like. I always go to Peoples Day and have enjoyed it but you are missing the point about whether it can still be justified or kept free(I agree those that can pay, should pay and people on benefits can be free/subdised) BUT it's a one day event and so many other "fun" things could benefit long term from the money spent on it. Anyway I went to the Councils stands and got free pens, keyrings, fridge magnets etcs and lots of leaflets telling me all about the Councils services that will soon be cut, just so that there can be one "fun" day. And when I've read the leaflets I'll put them in my re-cycle bin that will soon be emptied only once a month.

Anonymous said...

Thank Christ this isn't a twee village

mintness said...

They give T-shirts to the crew?! Ban it immediately.

ade said...

@Tasmin the young mayor scheme is part of a wider program to get young people involved in politics - there are elections across the borough (in every school and youth club) and early research shows engaging young people in politics in this way increases participation in politics in latter life.

Brockley Nick said...

@Ade - I'm sure it does. I guess the question must be - should it be part of Lewisham Council's core remit to teach local young people civics? In my view, it shouldn't. That's the education system's job.

As for Lewisham People's Day, I think staging one or two cultural events for the borough is part of a Council's core remit - but my question would be is there a better way to do it? The Brockley MAX provides a week of festivities for a fraction of the public investment in People's Day. Would subsidising local groups to stage similar events across the borough provide more bang for our bucks?

Anonymous said...

Does every area have a Moira?

Brockley Nick said...

Maybe a few more Moira types around - it's a big borough... But if not, why not pay the Brockley MAX team (a local enterprise) to organise a MAX in other parts of the borough?

Anonymous said...

Excellent, considered, sensible intelligent, idea Nick, so nobody at the Council will take it on board.

Tressilliana said...

'..should it be part of Lewisham Council's core remit to teach local young people civics? In my view, it shouldn't. That's the education system's job. '

Ummm... Lewisham Council is the education system locally.

Brockley Nick said...

You know what I mean - delivered within schools themselves, without the need for expenditure from central Council budgets.

If we're looking for possible cuts, that seems like a reasonable suggestion.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, it's the view that events like these are a waste of money and should not form part of a local authorities remit that gets by particular goat. Things like these, along with smartening up high streets, tackling litter and public art etc. have a place even in the teeth of a recession - perhaps more so?

A bit of imagination is perhaps needed, local authororties may kill them by commitee, but let's not discount them - I know you don't by the way.

Brockley Nick said...

Believe me, I don't think public services should be stripped to the bone.

But if the Council has to find £60m cuts, then perhaps this is one area to consider. Not that it would save a great deal of money.

Anonymous said...

The constant brainless drone of of accusations of council incompetence is tedious in the extreme. Easy, it's like the accusations that ALL bankers are greedy and ALL politicians are on the make. A middle brow opinion.

Anonymous said...

Nope, these are an easy target for the mail/express axis - not you but theyre out there!


It's the expensive things like social care/education etc that will have to absorb the millions. I don't have kids, my parents have passed away, I'm not claiming any benefits but I pity those who will depend on any of the above. Imagine how low the moral must be if your a social worker or care home worker at the moment?

Anonymous said...

In my posts today I don't think I've mindlessly droned on about council incompetence but let's not forget that the money they are managing is public money and they should be accountable to the public for every £1 they spend and as the public we should have a say in how it's spent.

The other anon said...

Yep, you do. It's called 'voting' for a person from your ward to represent you. They also publish accounts and there is the foi act if you want to delve deeper. It's that or a personal phone call from purchasing to get your ok before signing a cheque, can't see that working to be honest.

Anonymous said...

Very helpful, thank you the other anon. I did vote for a person to represent me, but unfortunately not many others voted the same as me. The council can limit what they release under the FOI Act and the accounts are published after they've spent the money not before. Not easy to claim it back. My original post was asking whether in this ecomonic climate the Council can justify spending X amounts of money that they haven't got to spare on one particular day. A reasonable question I think to ask, pity about the sarky comments in reply

Anonymous said...

Great idea to sell off the parks. (anon 13.20)Sell them to developers for more one bedroom flats, then there will be nowhere to have Peoples Day anyway! Problem solved.

Anonymous said...

Very helpful, thank you the other anon. I did vote for a person to represent me, but unfortunately not many others voted the same as me. The council can limit what they release under the FOI Act and the accounts are published after they've spent the money not before. Not easy to claim it back. My original post was asking whether in this ecomonic climate the Council can justify spending X amounts of money that they haven't got to spare on one particular day. A reasonable question I think to ask, pity about the sarky comments in reply


completely agree.

Nick, have YOU ever thought about standing? You would be excellent and would command some level of personal vote via the site. Btw, from things you've written, I don't think I am of your political hue but I still want to see able, principled people involved in local life and holding local power.

Anonymous said...

Reading the report it would seem the additional cuts required this year 2010/2011 due to the present government is £3.295m.

The Council needs to make £3.295m of ‘in year’ savings from Government Grants in 2010/11 as its contribution to the £1.165bn
savings required from Local Government.


Which is roughly the amount the Mayor announces every year.

Therefore the £60m cuts over 3 years from 2011/2012 are a result of the previous government?

Anonymous said...

If I've read the report correctly the Council proposes in 2010/11 to spend £271.54m.

Funding for schools will come from a central government grant estimated at £187.542m.

The Council Tax will provide £91m to spend locally, leaving £180.54m to come from central government.

A 1% increase of Council Tax would produce £900K.

If a council had to raise the bulk of its spending locally wouldn't it focus their minds on the finances more and stop governments interferring in local matters?

Tamsin said...

But would make even more of a division between rich and poor areas - the costs of care and assistance for the disadvantaged and disabled are astronomical, and set by need rather than availability of funds.

Can anyone helpfully explain how the central government contributions to this are worked out?

Agreed, though, that the frilly bits of local government - People's Day (a good thing to my mind and this year at least a lot of it had to be self-funding with external sponsorhip, the groups not being paid to perform and the craft stalls and information stands being, for the most part, charged to take part), the Young Mayor scheme (not, I think, value for money), and Lewisham Life (useful, but not so freqent or so glossy)should be paid for by locally raised funds.

Anonymous said...

Something that sounds a bit like the Young Mayor scheme but which is just at the proposal stage is this Council for Positive Ageing idea - little flyers being handed out at the Ward Assemblies table in the Friendly Gardens "Senior Moments" event on Friday.

"Candidates" - so it sounds like another election idea with all those costs involved before you even get the people in place - to represent a local area and "help contribute to local decision making that impacts on the quality of life for older people in the borough". If the council want to consult, surely there are direct links to those living in the Council's own sheltered housing schemes (all twenty schemes over the whole borough) and other active bodies like the Grove Park Users Group - on libraries and adult education - and the Pensioners Forum - borough-wide and general. Why invest massively expensive officer time and workers to duplicate what is already being done?

Anonymous said...

If a larger porportion of local spending is raised locally, national taxes could be lowered or scrapped.

The problem at the moment is Council Tax is too low meaning a slight overspend can have a big impact on the council tax, as can funding for the police or GLA.

People talk of LOCAL Hospitals, Schools, Housing but local Council Tax currently provides only £91m of the £470m the council distributes.

Some years ago Council Tax raised £70m, the council paid £30m to reduce debt, while also paying £35m in interest payments.

Those debts have been replaced by PFI's etc which are off the books.

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