Will the Town Hall be sacrificed to protect the fragile ego of Cllr. Richard Jackson?
Thomas and I have started getting together the next series of articles on the scandal at Broxtowe Council, largely facilitated by finding a stash of data that further show how the current ideologically-triggered dysfunction at the council is costing. And tomorrow, the impact of these stratospheric costs will hit home. It’s budget time.
At full council tomorrow the budget will be presented and voted on by our elected members. As our previous series of articles have shown, they don’t want you to know what’s going on, so information on what is in the budget are sparse when it comes to the public domain. Thankfully, exasperated staff have let us have a peek, and gave their opinions.
“Cuts, cuts, cuts” we are told by an officer “The council will simply collapse within eighteen months if they are implemented”.
8 years of austerity, which has seen councils drained of so much cash they simply collapse (see Northampton), are one factor. There simply is nothing left to cut, without mortally wounding services. What distinguishes Broxtowe is that it’s not just central cuts that are pushing the authority to the brink. This is a self-inflicted wound: the immense costs to protect the fragile ego of the council leader, Cllr. Richard Jackson. Insulating him from his own incompetence is costing the council hundreds of thousands of YOUR council tax.
The budget tomorrow will also be symbolic in that the fate of Broxtowe Borough Council totem of local democracy- Beeston Town Hall – will be decided. As fees to lawyers – over £100,000 in December alone- and to specialist employment agencies rocket, the council are faced with dipping into capital reserves; and assets need to be sold.
Council officers, who are always highly reluctant to risk their jobs by expressing a political opinion on policy, are doing so out of sheer desperation. Not just for their own careers, but for many others, and more importantly, every service they provide. “We have told them that the budget plans are unsustainable, and will cost more than they save, which will ultimately lead to collapse” the officer tells us “it’s almost like they planned to purposefully kill off the council”.
And maybe that is the plan all along. As we have reported before, Councillor Jackson tried to abolish the very same council he leads by voting FOR its abolition through his role as an elected member of Nottinghamshire County Council. That attempt failed, so perhaps he’s trying to destroy it in other ways, with services transferred to the County which would see his power – and possibly his salary – increase greatly. And if the assets the council currently own, such as the Town Hall, have to be sold off, then all the better.
It doesn’t have to be like this.
On Sunday, we will tell you how YOU can be proactive and stop this disgraceful scandal. But for now, you can make your way down to the Town Hall tomorrow night and watch the budget. You aren’t allowed to say anything from the public gallery, but you can, by just being there, show them that they are being watched. Be at the Town Hall at 6.45pm tomorrow.
We will catch up with you with more revelations on Sunday. We will continue to keep the pressure up and the story live. This is ours which they try and take away.
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