WE’RE BACK! (SORT OF)
We have both been ridiculously busy recently with our non-Beestonian careers, so apologies for the lack of new posts here. This hasn’t been for a lack of material; rather, we have so much it can get dizzying. Broxtowe staff continue to leak details of mass dysfunction, and soon we will have time to sit down and put up the worst excesses. Bear with us: the whole process of research, corroboration and write up takes an awful lot of time. We are hugely aware that one loose allegation, one incorrect fact will see us hit with legal letters we would struggle to challenge with limited resources. And if you are from a proper news organisation, consider lending a hand, would you?
If you’d like to help us keep running this site, a donation to our PayPal ensures we can happily turn down other jobs and concentrate on this work: feel free to put a few quid our way here: https://www.paypal.me/BEESTONIA
LGA AGREES WITH BEESTONA: THE COUNCIL IS IN TROUBLE
One development we must put up immediately is that of a recent professional study of Broxtowe’s finances.
When we first made allegations that the council was squandering money at a terrifying rate, we were ignored, with Freedom of Information requests stonewalled. Then, with more insiders willing to disclose information the opposition parties at Broxtowe got on board and raised questions in the chamber, to which the work we have done here was ridiculed and we were labelled fantasists by Tory councillors (more on our complaint to BBC later). Other Tories threatened us with legal action. We were scaremongers, we were liars, we were pushing our own particular agenda. Not once did a single Tory councillor admit there might be a problem.
We reported that huge chunks of cash reserves were being used to pay off employees, hire lawyers and buy in interim staff at eye-watering rates. “We are the party of fiscal responsibility” we were told in response.
Step forward former Leeds City Council finance director, Alan Gay OBE. Mr Gay was tasked by the Local Government Association to use his extensive experience to evaluate the council’s budget for 2018-19.
This is the budget that we said would lead to the council collapsing within 18 months, and the ruling Conservatives claimed was strong, stable, and would rather amazingly help cure cancer. Ambitious!
This is the budget that we noted made no provision for the introduction of Universal Credit in Broxtowe later this year; would lead to further degradation of services and the attendant poor staff morale, and see the Town Hall and other assets sold off to plug the gap; and the ruling Conservatives claimed was visionary, fair and sustainable.
Mr Gay is, therefore, a much better person to ask. So he examined the details and found that no, the budget wasn’t sustainable. Due to the council’s massive spending on legal fees – see Beestonia passim – Broxtowe Borough Council was instead being driven into collapse, joining Northamptonshire and others in Tory councils that have slashed so many cuts into their services they’ve effectively bled to death:
‘Together this has meant a significant reduction in the council’s financial resources, and has therefore required major savings and efficiencies to be implemented in order to compensate.
‘The continued reduction in the council’s income and a further planned council tax freeze means that Broxtowe is now beginning to use reserves at a significant rate and must achieve recurring savings of £1m per annum by 2019/20 in order to remain financially stable.
‘This is a big challenge for a council of this scale and it is hard to imagine how this can be achieved without a real impact on service delivery.’ Alan Gay
The recommendation to raise council tax will most likely not be implemented – Cllr Richard Jackson is too much of an ideologue terrified of the damage that would do to his parliamentary aspirations to even consider a raise. Plus, there are elections next year….
So the council reserves will be drained, services cut and property sold off. This is YOUR council, and it’s being asset-stripped by a guy who will see a significant increase in his other wage packet should Broxtowe be swallowed up by the much better paying Nottinghamshire County Council and its responsibilities delegated in his direction.
TOWN HALL MEETING
Which segues nicely into our latest call to arms:
COMPLAINTS ABOUT COMPLAINTS
We mentioned in a recent post how our attendance in the public gallery at a council meeting led to abuse from three councillors: Mel Crow, Philip Owen and Shane Easom. We duly reported these smears and attempts at intimidation to the council and promptly received a letter back. So far, so good, and we readied ourselves for the findings of the subsequent investigation, which we were told would be dealt with in 20 working days.
That was in early March – remember those heady days of Easterly Beasts, Oscar Ceremonies and it still getting dark early? Those have long passed, but my inbox and front door mat remain free of response.
I rang earlier and as assured I’ll get a response soon. We shall see. Still, I urge you to join me in the public gallery at the next full council meeting on Wednesday 16th May. The ruling party are doing everything they can to shut you out of YOUR council so they can disamantle it with inpunity. Let’s show them that isn’t going to happen with us watching.