Walsall council under Labour rule have today announced the final budget to be presented to the full council at the end of February. Before going into full detail on this I should state Labour do not have a majority on the council. Thus if all opposition councillors voted against then the budget would fall under the Mayor’s casting vote.
After consultation with 7000 residents,the highest number ever for the council, then £1.5M of cuts have been prevented.
These are cuts to grants to community associations, cuts to green space maintenance, Art gallery opening times.
However the following has been decided that many affect us in Pheasey –
– All the proposed Libraries to be closed will go ahead, including Pheasey, though more time given for alternatives to be pursued.
– 12 Children Centre closures are still under further consultation, some will close but not clear which ones yet.
– Normal waste collections to go fortnightly
– No Brown collection charges
Obviously the first two have seen a campaign against the proposals but these have failed, I will update when the full consultation is published.
I am deeply saddened to see the cuts announced go ahead. For my position Local Govt under this govt has been stripped bare so that only real essential services survive. If the Tories get into power in May then the cuts they propose will in my view see the end of the vast majority of Walsall Council services.
My own view on the cuts is that NONE of them are needed in any area at all. This goes against my own Party Line that cuts are still needed but gentler in tone. Every country in history has run for the vast majority of time a deficit and as long as this stays around 3% of GDP then no need to cut. If growth continues in a normal fashion this 3% limit will be hit in the next parliament.
Local govt for me should be at the forefront of service delivery to the public and the current budget that Walsall and others have been given can only lead to the collapse of local govt.
Remember this when others claim this and that can be saved, it is only short term if all parties sign up to ‘balanced budgets, without raising taxes.
The public have a simple choice, if they want lower taxes then you have less services or pay for me, there is no other money tree I am afraid. Any politician that tells you differently is lying.
UPDATE 28/01 – The budget document is HERE with justification for each closure.
On the Children’s centre some facility will be kept open it seems but no real hope for the Library as it stands. In the document it states ideas came in from Streetly but none from Pheasey (I suggested having fees). Is anyone aware of any alternative plan other than ‘do not close’ that was put forward ?