Lewisham votes for legal action on A&E and rate hikes

Catford blogger Clare reports that Lewisham Council last night gave the go-ahead to take legal action to prevent the downgrade of Lewisham A&E. She also notes:

The vote came at a full council meeting which also discussed the budget for 2013-14 and recommended a 1.5% rise in council tax and accompanying budget cuts to meet the required savings of £21.3 million based on the budget given to the council from central government.

14 comments:

Kate Gould said...

it's a 1.75 pc rise in council tax with more cuts to follow in the next few weeks

S Anthoney said...

The goverment mafia strikes again.

Clare Griffiths said...

Apologies - I thought I heard 1.5! I need to go back and listen to the audio again...

Jim Connell said...

So it's less than the annual rate of inflation which is around 3%.

Clare Griffiths said...

I think it's the maximum rise they were allowed to make without having to ask central government approval.

Vicar's Hill said...

If any Council wants to increase its Council Tax by more than 2% it has to hold a referendum to get approval of the rise. The Government if offering money to Councils to freeze Council tax. 
Lewisham Council as usual is unable to control its budget despite spending money on many schemes which it does not have to provide in Local Government law. 

pfi disaster said...

Didnt help that the council spent more than 300 grand in legal fees to fight the brockley leaseholders over their shoddy PFI works. More than it would have cost to have taken a sensible view and settled at the beginning - especially as they lost more of the cases on the quality of the works. Even more suprising nas they were protecting a private companies profit.Now we see them needing to recoup that loss. Useless bunch.

Mezzer said...

There's a bigger picture to this:

“A major study by public service finance professionals concluded that 41 per cent of town halls in England would increase council tax in 2013-14, compared with 15 per cent last year.

Town halls said one of the reasons that so many councils had turned down the grant was that there was no certainty that it would be offered again after 2015. This would mean that they would have to push through larger increases just to keep pace with inflation.”

Vicar's Hill said...

Very true Mezzer.

This still doesn't change the fact that the majority of people in this area are having to cut down on their expenditure because inflation is cutting into their income, me included. I don't have a sitting target to increase my income.

Lewisham Council probably takes the view that the majority of their vote does not have to bare the full cost of it's Council tax hikes.

You don't have to go back many years to find above inflation rises during the so-called boom years. Where is that money?

Monkeyboy said...

Presumably the money is in the Sure Start, schools, roads, meals on wheels, youth clubs.....you know, services.

Vicar's Hill said...

Doubtful.

Monkeyboy said...

All those things were funded by the council so yes, or did the money rain from heaven?

Vicar's Hill said...

Lewisham has been well reported for not collecting Council Tax over the years, and usually figure in the top five of worse collecting Councils. If they actually collected the amount they were owed then no rise would be necessary. Just another example of inefficiency.

Monkeyboy said...

13th in London, some way behind the worst, Westminster - that beacon of small government efficiency. In any case the figures uncollected do not begin to cover the reduction in central government funding combined with the extra responsibilities foisted on to local by central government.

Inefficiency is "a bad thing" there always seems to be an assumption that it follows a nice tidy public/private distinction. That's nonsense, having spent 18years in the private sector and 5 years in TfL, I see it both sides.

http://www.gmb.org.uk/pdf/council%20tax%20london%20final.pdf

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