Walsall Budget cuts and CAB at threat, Library safe (for now)

Over the past week the scale of the cuts to Walsall’s council budget has become clear. This is just further cuts we have seen over the past 5 years.

The details can be found HERE and you can respond to them.

There are three areas I am most concerned with

  1. The future of the Library. It comes as no shock that Pheasey Library is not of the 7 proposed to be closed. I could be cynical in suggesting Tory councillors protecting their own over other areas but people may say Labour would do the same. Let me make my position CLEAR. I want NO libraries to be closed, yes they can be upgraded, modernised etc but ANY library closure is unwelcomed and no needed. I certainly don’t want our library to be saved over others
  2. The biggest cuts are to elderly care (Reduction in adult social care commissioning budgets for older
    people) which amounts to 25% of the total cuts. This is a false saving, any cuts here will only put further pressure on the NHS as where will these people go if the cuts are like this. This could affect any of parents and grandparents living in Walsall (or anywhere in the country).
  3. We now have confirmed that the waste collection will be reduced to two weekly cycle. Int he last consultation I totally rejected this and said the brown bin collection should be charged as not an essential service (as David Cameron agrees with). However we now have confirmation of this awful measure. I know in the consultation many said they wanted to keep the brown collection free. I totally disagree with this and they were not given the option of a weekly service for waste for say a £35 yearly charge for brown bins. Even more unbelievably the council are suggesting that the size of the normal waste bin stays the same but keep the same size for the green waste, amazing naivety that.
  4. Walsall CAB is under severe threat now (Establish a charitable body to deliver welfare advice and support
    and withdraw grant to the Walsall Citizens Advice Bureau for welfare advice.). This would save around £400,000 a year but the cost to people using this service can not be measured. I have used the CAB (in Birmingham) and for a specific issue they were invaluable in terms of reducing stress and getting an issue resolved.

I am passionate about the CAB and there is a petition HERE for you to sign if you feel the same.  The CAB for decades has helped people from all areas and walks of life and can not be allowed to die.

I am not naive, I understand the cuts are being forced by central government. However as shown int he last few days even David Cameron seems not to understand the scale of the cuts. Mike Bird on many occasions has decried the cuts and yet his own party still does this.

If for example you think the library has been ‘saved’ then with the spending review in a couple of weeks, the reprieve won;t last for long. any council be it red/blue or purple would have to make these cuts and the library will close, only a matter of time.

On a few issues highlighted these are choices Walsall Conservatives have made and are directly responsible for these choices.

8 thoughts on “Walsall Budget cuts and CAB at threat, Library safe (for now)

  1. Ian,

    I’m confused. I completed a recent online survey regarding bin collection but none of the options involved preserving the status quo. So what two week cycle is being suggested? Is the green bin still the recycling and the brown the garden waste? Is the grey bin staying the same size but being collected only every other week? I disagree with you about the garden waste – we only get this between March and early November and those of us who maintain their gardens would not be able to dispose of this material other than by putting in the general waste bin – not everyone has access to a car to take stuff to the tip. I believe that the council uses this for mulch and makes a profit from this – or is this information incorrect? I certainly don’t think I should pay extra for the service! I know my council tax is used to help fund services I don’t personally use across the borough but the bin collection (all three of them) is the only visible sign that the council do anything for me at all!

    • Let’s go through some of this Duncan. The status Wuo was never an option and bin charges for brown bins were ruled out. So the only two options were same bins as now but normal waste collected once every two weeks or swap over brown and grey bins as brown have more capacity.

      The first option is what the cabinet have taken so left with a smaller waste one for two weeks which as a family of three us usually full at the end of a week.

      Yes brown is useful but we coped before without one and people can create their own compost heaps for example.

      We never had an option to keep deliveries as they are but charge for Brown. Brown bin collection by central govt of any party was never classed as a core service. Instead we keep that and get a degraded core service instead.

      • Thanks for explaining the new bin regime. To be fair to residents many have ceased to tend their gardens to the same degree now that we are in autumn and are no longer mowing their lawns and weeding. I haven’t cleared the leaves from my front garden either! Certainly in spring and summer the brown bin is much appreciated.

  2. Also Duncan as a test I walked around my part i of the estate Tuesday morning and despite leaf fall only a quarter of bins out at best yet we will have the bigger bin for that. Madness.

  3. As I said Duncan it is about priorities and losing for the weekly waste collection, to the same size bin as now and save the brown bin is not a sensible use of resources.

    • Well I did point out in the online survey that it depended on household size whether the plans would be acceptable. I don’t know the demographics – although they could be checked with the last ONS census data – whether Walsall has more single person households than families. Also the council did state that it wanted to improve recycling percentages and the smaller bin size was part of the policy. However this will probably lead to more waste being put in the green bin whether it is recyclable or not. What happened to the Pickles money that was available to councils to ensure weekly bin collections? Regarding the brown bin I would suggest anecdotally that Pheasey Park Farm contains greater than average numbers of over 65’s who may value the brown bins over the weekly general waste collection though I fully understand why families would not. Although between November and March the brown bin won’t be collected anyway so will both green and grey bins be collected every two weeks during this period?

    • I didn’t mention it explicitly but the government as a result of EU environmental legislation now or will shortly punish councils for using landfill sites by a financial charge of so much per tonne/ton so the less waste people create the less the council will be charged and the more money will be freed for other purposes.

      • I agree with that charge because we should be recycling as much as possible. That is no problem and you should see how much we recycle. However over a period of two weeks normal rubbish for our family would overspill the current bin. I am green as I can be and yet even then generate so much.

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