Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum
Sign in to follow this  
uncle_monty

Ft: Coming To A Borough Near You

Recommended Posts

Massive austerity measures for years to come are already "baked in" to the economy.

Bullish sentiment (and with it HPI) may continue until our darling leaders (no pun) / opposition fully grasp the nettle and explicitly spell out the implications in pounds, shillings and pence. Scary :(

Councils plan to axe services as budgets are slashed by millions

By Bob Sherwood

Published: September 11 2009 03:00 | Last updated: September 11 2009 03:00

Local councils are urgently reviewing their operations in a drive to slash millions off their budgets, a Financial Times study has found.

Authorities face making unpopular decisions by cutting services as they -grapple with big drops in income and expected cuts for years to come in government grants. Many councillors will hold crunch meetings in the next few weeks to confront the reality of shrinking budgets.

Despite the gloomy outlook, most councils have yet to identify - or to specify - where the axe will fall.

The recession has led to a reduction in local authorities' income in areas such as planning applications and building control fees, land charges, industrial property rents, investment income, parking charges and leisure centre takings.

Lindsay Whittle, Plaid Cymru leader of Caerphilly county borough council (anticipating a £25m budget shortfall), said: "Today's financial climate is only the tip of the iceberg. The projection until 2015 sees the financial constraints placed on the council squeezing budgets even tighter."

Some councils are pinning their hopes on efficiency savings, such as cutting staff and putting services out to competitive tender. Others admit that some discretionary services will be cut entirely, reduced in frequency or scale, or will become more expensive to users. Many councils provide services such as sheltered housing, community meals, leisure centres, parks and community halls, which they are not statutorily obliged to offer.

Councillors at Conservative-run Runnymede borough council in Surrey, for example, will meet this month to look at "options for a cut in service and service delivery".

Peter Sims, interim chief executive, said a report to the council's corporate management committee would "consider efficiencies, additional income and possibly options for different service levels".

Tory-led Wokingham borough council in Berkshire said it was seeking to identify priorities for the future. "This may mean that there will be services we only provide at a minimum level, and services will definitely be provided differently."

Suffolk Coastal district council is also "updating its priorities". Ray Herring, Conservative leader, said: "We are urgently looking again at whether all of our services need to be carried out in the same way or whether some are less important than others."

Many councils are seeking to pass services to other providers, such as volunteer and charity groups. Tory-run Tunbridge Wells borough council in Kent - facing an income drop of £1.2m, or 9 per cent, from fees and charges in the recession - is examining the prospects of increased joint working with other authorities on back-office services.

Its finance and governance office added: "We will look at work that could potentially be undertaken by voluntary or community organisations along with work that could be taken by an arms-length company. . . Clearly it will no longer be possible to deliver all services to an excellent standard, as at present, and we will also look to stop some services altogether."

Havant borough council in Hampshire is another Tory-run authority hoping that partnerships will help reduce costs. Nigel Smith, its head of resources, said: "The council is vigorously pursuing partnerships with the private and public sector to reduce the cost of services through increased scale and sharing of expertise and to make best use of available resources."

Some larger authorities are working on complete revamps of their operating procedures. Westminster city council, one of the leading Conservative authorities, is due to implement a "major restructure" next month, slimming down management and pooling support staff. This will lead to 270 fewer full-time jobs and £30m in savings over three years. But the council has pledged no changes to frontline services.

Melvyn Caplan, city cabinet member for finance, said: "Our old ways of working simply aren't sustainable or affordable."

Bristol city council also needs to make £30m savings over three years and is setting up an advisory panel to help identify changes. But it acknowledges that cuts may have to be made.

Barbara Janke, the Liberal Democrat leader, said: "The current financial projections present a massive challenge to the city council and the people of Bristol. It is really important that we recognise how tough it is going to be over the years ahead and that this could mean little new growth or investment in local services, some significant reductions in certain areas, and even potentially higher council tax bills unless we can reduce spending wherever possible."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Massive austerity measures for years to come are already "baked in" to the economy.

Bullish sentiment (and with it HPI) may continue until our darling leaders (no pun) / opposition fully grasp the nettle and explicitly spell out the implications in pounds, shillings and pence. Scary :(

Comment on the radio waves yesterday was along the lines of "Councils to be run like Budget Airlines", ie. Pay less for basics and extra for a menu of service choices. Councils started the pay-per-poo toilet charge idea after all!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To put £25M into context you could employ 1250 people for that amount of money.

Just goes to show that when the government wastes billions of pounds how reckless this is.

You could employ 1.25 million people for 25billion

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Comment on the radio waves yesterday was along the lines of "Councils to be run like Budget Airlines", ie. Pay less for basics and extra for a menu of service choices. Councils started the pay-per-poo toilet charge idea after all!

it won't just be bears frequenting the woods soon then

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Comment on the radio waves yesterday was along the lines of "Councils to be run like Budget Airlines", ie. Pay less for basics and extra for a menu of service choices. Councils started the pay-per-poo toilet charge idea after all!

Your mention of Budget Airline economics should not be taken lightly. Especially after barrow boy Alan Sugar has been elevated to the Lords.

Stand by for Stelios and O'Leary to take over at the BOE, and Treasury.

Only thing I can't figure out, is who gets which job.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • The Prime Minister stated that there were three Brexit options available to the UK:   285 members have voted

    1. 1. Which of the Prime Minister's options would you choose?


      • Leave with the negotiated deal
      • Remain
      • Leave with no deal

    Please sign in or register to vote in this poll. View topic


×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.