Council Cuts announced – Updated with link to budget document

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 ?

4 thoughts on “Council Cuts announced – Updated with link to budget document

  1. what were the ideas for Streetly library,could we over here get together with volunteering and use them.
    How much is saved by shutting the library? would fees cover it?cyber café?,I dunno ,,tragic loss

  2. Streetly was according to the cabinet documents some kind of bookswap idea.

    I did suggest fees as if you get 37K visits a year a £1 fee would raise a substantial amount of cash, £2 even more etc. The thing is I believe in a free service as you say it is tragic any have to close.

    Unlike some I do not concentrate on my area but all the 8 to be closed which are spread amongst Labour and Tory wards and not as the local councillors like to pretend all aimed at Tory areas. I would save them simply, not cut from central govt, I do not believe in cuts at all at this stage.

    Of course Central govt caps any CT rise to 1.99% above that and you need a vote of people to see if they agree to it which is what I thought elections were about ?

    The local councillors and others who want Libraries to stay open have to be honest and explain where else they would cut (they believe in cuts I presume ??) to save these things, my position is clear DJ and I suspect you agree ?

  3. sadly there seems to be a lack of ideas from our( local !! ) politicians and prospective ones too,as J.M.Keynes would say, these policies are a disaster for ordinary people and for growth to take place Any ideas out there?

    • Oh there are a few, read what Krugman says. However the world is tied into a neb-lib consensus despite the proof of austerity failing across the Western World. Now all we have is the blame game.

      We have the sight of the prospective Tory MP, saying save libraries, save children’s centers, save Broadway North, save the bin collections. The thing is when challenged she can never say what she would cut instead. That is political cowardice for me.

      You would say I would defend Sean Coughlan and the current Labour leadership, but the choices were there, they were laid out. Take the library it was open for a community group to run it, how come since November we have not heard anything ? The facts are even if you take away the free rent, volunteer staff then libraries still cost. New books (have to be hardback of course), electricity, heating, new computers etc.have to be paid for and if the money does not come from the council where will it ? (applies to all libraries as none make cash)

      I am clear, there should be no further cuts from central govt, there is no economic need to and it all stems from a political desire and not an economic one. Yes the deficit is high, why ? It is NOT because of spending but the awful tax revenue collapse. Since then we have had personal and company taxes cut. If this is what people want and vote for then please accept the result of this – lower council spending, withdrawal of once free services, closure of services that can not be justified on need (basically councils become distributors of social care money etc.

      If I was still standing as a candidate these are the points I would make. If you believe in lower taxes then vote Conservative but please accept that this means fewer services than before delivered. For me I do not mind paying my taxes to help those less fortunate, to pay for services I may not use (like the library) and I would pay more to help keep these services running.

      How many politicians today are willing to say that ?

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