Initial thoughts on last night’s New Deal meeting / Cutting to the bone: guest post.

Picture copyright Lewis Stainer. Not to be used without prior permisson from the copyright holder.

Picture copyright Lewis Stainer. Not to be used without prior permission from the copyright holder.

An incredible turn-out last night: 140 of you turned out on a freezing  Saturday evening to pack into John Clifford and put forward great ideas, discuss initiatives and pose questions to experts. I will be writing up a full report tomorrow: I have six pages of scrawled notes to work through, and some emails to send out to fact check other bits and bobs. However, I was delighted that the request to keep things forward-looking, positive and nonpartisan were generally adhered to, and resulted in a debate that busted many myths, threw up great ideas and hopefully got Beestonians wishes and fears heard by people who can make influence change.

While  I get a piece together, a couple of things to feed your head on: my article in the Nottingham Post on why it’s good to get angry; and a submission from a local council employee, who, for good reason, wishes to remain anonymous. If you’re baffled by how councils work, or who does what, give it a read. If you’ wonder why you only hear about local councils slashing services, give it a read, and perhaps get angry. I’ll be running regular articles from the author over the next few months.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT MATTERS
(an occasional guest blog from a council insider)
When Matt suggested that I write an occasional blog on local government matters what convinced me to do so was that in my opinion it really does matter. “What?” I hear you say “Isn’t emptying my bins about all that the Council does for me?”. You may be surprised to learn what our two Councils actually do for the people of Beeston:
– Broxtowe Borough Council is responsible for a range of services covering environment, housing, leisure & culture, planning & building control and Council Tax & Benefits. They also do collect our bins! For further information see http://www.broxtowe.gov.uk/.
– Nottinghamshire County Council is responsible for wide-ranging services across the County including adult education, bus route subsidies & concessionary travel passes, care provision for adults and children,country parks, economic development, emergency planning, highways (including winter gritting), libraries, public health, registration (births, marriages & deaths), school admissions & transport, Trading Standards, waste & recycling and youth services. For further information see http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/.
So having hopefully convinced you that local government really does matter in relation to the delivery of a wide range of services that we all take for granted but which provide the basic infrastructure for our daily lives, you may be surprised to learn that cuts by the Coalition government since 2010 amount to a planned reduction in local government funding of about 43%. This is generally far more than funding reductions in central government despite the fact that Local Government is already widely regarded as being one of the most efficient areas of the public sector.
Broxtowe Borough Council somehow managed to avoid service reductions and compulsory redundancies in 2013/14 (see http://www.broxtowe.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=26957&p=0) but it remains to be seen whether they can manage the same for 2014/15.
Nottinghamshire County Council previously announced budget savings of about £132 million for the three year period 2011/12 to 2013/14. Despite this further budget savings of £154 million (about 25% of current budget) are now being planned for 2014/15 to 2016/17 in order to address a funding shortfall brought about by reductions in government funding, capping of Council Tax and ongoing increases in demand for care provision for both adults and children. Proposals for meeting this challenge, which include increasing Council Tax by at least 1.99% and wide-ranging cuts to services are currently being consulted upon – see  http://www.nottinghamshire.gov.uk/thecouncil/democracy/have-your-say/consultations/budget-challenge-2014-15/?source=hometab. You may want to have your say before the 17th January deadline and/or sign up to the fair deal for Nottinghamshire campaign.
In future blogs I hope to explore the impact of such huge budget reductions on our services and what this could mean for the future of local government. Any comments, thoughts or suggestions welcome.
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4 thoughts on “Initial thoughts on last night’s New Deal meeting / Cutting to the bone: guest post.

  1. Kate Foale, County Councillor for Beeston South and Attenborough says:

    A great evening on Saturday with so many positive and creative suggestions, so typical of Beeston and Broxtowe residents. Thanks a lot Matt and Nick for hosting it. I’m sure it will move us on towards a more prosperous town.

    Good to see such a well informed and measured blog about Council funding and services too. Thank you whoever you are! And please everyone, do give us some honest feedback, we really are listening.

    Kate

    Cllr.kate.foale@nottscc.gov.uk

  2. pamela arksey says:

    Thank you for organising such a successful evening of opportunities to listen and be heard.   left before the end so did not leave a donation towards the costs, please let me know if there is anywhere in Beeston where I can drop my coin tomorrow.

  3. Dane says:

    Have to wonder how much Impact the cuts so far have had versus efficiency savings.
    The whole country jokes about ‘council jobs’ if they see people standing around.
    Personally although cuts obviously aren’t good I feel the public sector needs to become part of the real world when it comes to working for a living. Working in a job where everything is timed to less than a second some of the things I see are staggering.

    • Mike says:

      Absolute rubbish. It’s been very conspicuous around Beeston lately that the workers “standing around” work for the private sector companies supposedly building the tramline. Council employees, such as those cutting grass, are seen working.
      The private sector is hugely wasteful and inefficient. Witness the numerous Govenment IT systems the private sector has failed to deliver, or the banking sector crash (which is still being funded). Anyone thinking that private sector management is a “silver bullet” or that the private sector is more efficient than the public sector is mistaken, particularly today. Capitalism today is rentier, capturing public revenue streams. Any cost reduction is through reduced terms & conditions for employees, which simply passes a need for funding back to Government through benefit payments.

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