Day by day the full reality of the ConDem Coalition Government’s cuts are sinking in. On Monday night the Salford Star quoted Government figures stating that the cuts would be £33.5million, with an 8.5% reduction in the next financial year.
Then, thanks to a reader, we re-did the maths and it works out at a £37million cut over the next two financial years. Now Salford Council itself is quoting a cut of 15% next year, “not the 8.5% quoted on Monday” and a figure “expected to exceed £40million in the first financial year”.
The press release explains… “The reality is that a number of grants allocated to some of the most vulnerable residents in the city will also be lost, resulting in a larger overall reduction.”
John Merry, Leader of Salford City Council says “These budget cuts will affect everyone in the public sector. We have been working for some time to identify where we can make savings and deliver a balanced budget for the next financial year.
“As a democratically elected city council we have a huge responsibility towards our communities and it is inevitable that severe budget cuts will impact on some of the services we provide” he adds “Our priority now is to ensure key services are maintained and people continue to get the help and support they need. We also want to protect the staff we have working for the council. We will do all we can to protect people’s jobs and the impact upon them and their families.
“We are facing difficult times” he concludes “but I stand by my commitment to this city and will deliver the best possible services to people in Salford with the remaining budget available.”
Already, a letter has gone out from Salford Community Leisure stating it is “intending to save 30% of current expenditure…We are forced to introduce a range of cuts and charges to many of our services”.
The letter talks about not replacing staff, introducing pay and display charges at Salford Art Gallery and Ordsall Hall and “the introduction of various forms of cost cutting and income generation” at “our Local History Library, education and learning service, exhibitions, outreach, communities and arts services”.
However, next March, Salford Council will pay the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra £3million as part of the £20million sponsorship deal that lured the BBC to MediaCityUK. It will also be splashing £150,000 on opera at The Lowry (see here).
Meanwhile, a Salford Council report on the affects of the cuts in September forecast interest rate rises of up to 6% within the coming few years, which will hike up payments that it has to make on so-called `unsupported borrowing’ – loans taken out by the Council that it has to pay back from its own budget.
The Council report in September revealed that “Over the 3 years to 2010/11 some £100m of unsupported borrowing will have been used to support the capital programme that needs to be funded from the revenue budget, and has therefore reached the cap set for that period.
“The forecast for interest rates to begin to rise later this year and into 2011 and 2012 will make the cost of this borrowing more expensive in revenue terms” it added. Part of that `prudential’ or `unsupported’ borrowing is a loan facility for £22million towards the stadium for Salford Reds rugby club. This is a joint venture with Peel Holdings, one of the richest companies in the north west. But the loan burden is to be borne by public money.
“I stand by my commitment to this city and will deliver the best possible services to people in Salford with the remaining budget available” says John Merry. But people may well be asking where some of that remaining budget is going…
Salford Council will finalise its 2011-12 budget by February 16th 2011
I think what Steve forgets to add is the fact New Labour do not want to listen unless forced to do so. Cllr Merry was critical on my performance as Cllr Owens Budget spokesman, but when i offered suggestions to save money it was shouted down,Staff car parking fees that could have been claimed back through a system called salary sacrifice,it would not surprise me to see new Labour bring it in now forced to.
No, i supopose it’s better than being Mr Owens LapDog
Vincent Devine a Local Labour Councillor passed away yesterday.A very quite pleasant man ,who would always take time out to chat, Can i offer my thought to his family at this sad time.
MEMO: HM Treasury Christmas Tree
To: CX Office
Some facts below about the Christmas Tree.
- We normally get our Christmas Tree from Exchequer Partnerships, our building supplier; as part of our PFI deal.
- The catalogue had a choice of “Hollyday”, “Indulgence”, “Enchantment”, “Icicle”, or “Decadence” trees, or bespoke tailor made trees, from £130-875.
- The tree we last year would have cost £875, for a 13 foot tree, which arrives dressed.
- We spoke to EP about whether we couldn’t buy a tree from B&Q for £40 instead of spending £900.
- They were concerned about:
Who would go and choose the tree from B&Q? How would we get the tree into the building from B&Q? Who would dispose of the tree after Christmas, and how would we do this? Wouldn’t we need a van? And a place to dump it? Who would water the tree if needed? Who would provide the stand for the tree? Who would get the decorations? How would we decorate the tree – EP are not obliged to lend us a ladder. Who would turn the lights on and off each evening?
EP are not contracted to do any of these things for an off contract tree.
- They also pointed out that they might have to do various health and safety tests on the tree and its decorations, which they would need to charge us for.
- Health and Safety tests might have been done:
If we were using a ladder to decorate the tree To test the safety of the lights and any trailing cables
The ConDem’s myth that we are all in this together has now been firmly shattered to pieces. They are targetting councils in the poorest parts of the country with the highest spending cuts, while looking after the more affluent boroughs. While Surrey, Hampshire and Richmond on Thames are in the twenty least affected councils, three Greater Manchester authorities are in the 20 most affected – Manchester, Rochdale…and Salford.
Salford Council has announced today that in order to comply with these budget cuts from Government, it will need to save between £40 and £47 million worth of savings in the next tax year alone. The first £19 million is due to be approved in February.
If implemented these cuts will devastate services in Salford. We need to mobilise all forces possible to make sure that this doesn’t happen.
At our activists meeting on Monday night we elected an Organising Committee that will take Salford Against the Cuts forward. We elected officers and began the preparations for a lobby of the next Full Council Meeting on Wednesday 19th January. Following that lobby we will hold another public meeting that all of Salford will be invited to attend. The dates and details of these will be finalised within the next week.
The Organising Committee will next meet on Thursday 6th January. That meeting will be devoted to a tactical discussion of the escalating steps we need to take to build the biggest possible movement against cuts in Salford and how we can ensure that Salford Council is made very clear that the people of this city expect it to fight for the services we need rather than bend to the will of a Government that wants it to vote to destroy them.
Trade Unions are holding their own discussions about how they can defend their members jobs and terms and conditions. Community groups and service user groups are discussing how they can fight back. Representatives from both now sit on our Organising Committee and we will now work to coordinate industrial, political and community action to ensure the strongest fightback possible.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year and will be in touch soon.
Secretary, Salford Against the Cuts