Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A taster of what is to come

At the Resources Committee of Wellingborough Borough Council tomorrow evening we have a taster of what is to come by way of cuts to services and capital projects. I say “taster” because the full implications of cuts to Wellingborough Council’s funding from government is yet to be fully known and may not fully kick-in until the 2011-12 financial year. So these cuts are merely the start.

Firstly there is a paper on what is euphemistically called “alternative service delivery”. What this is code for is the elimination of Wellingborough Council’s independence in employing its own staff – but rather to either (1) share staff with other local authorities (but do not expect staff number to remain the same and improved services – but rather the services in two authorities will have be carried out with significantly reduced staff and a decline in service) or (2) - and this is the most likely option for many services – privatisation. This will result in reduced staff, staff having to work harder, with lower pay and worse terms and conditions (such as pension rights). During the 1980s many services were privatised resulting in litter bins remaining full, dustbins not collected with many authorities having to bring them back “in-house” in order to ensure there was a service at all when companies went bust or they breached the terms of the contracts.

Secondly, there is a report called the “Capital Programme Update”. This anticipates making cuts to the council’s capital programme of £350,000 per annumover the next four years. The cuts that are now proposed include:

•No allotment improvements (cut of £4,600)

• Improvements to public spaces cancelled (cut of £4,500)

• Improvements/maintenance to swimming pool and leisure centre cancelled (cut of £149,000)

• Cancellation of improvements to buildings to conform with the Disability Discrimination Act (cut of (£75,000)

• Improvements to Glen Bank cancelled (cut of £10,800)

• Improvements to parks and open spaces cancelled (cut of £1000)

• Carbon Footprint programme cancelled (cut of £135,000)

• Highway litter bins not purchased(cut of £48,000)

• Contribution towards Wrenn School tennis facility halted (cut of £80,000)

• Support for community centres reduced (cut of £79,000)

In addition to all the above, the following cuts will also be made

• A cut of £110,000 in Renovation Grants (to nil) from 2011

• A cut of £25,000 towards heritage and shop front improvements

• A cut of £200,000 this year, and £800,000 in future years, to improve the town centre

Thirdly, following the ConDem government's cancellation of funding for the free swimming programme for children and the over-60s, Wellingborough Council will now cease this provision from July.

There is also a confidential report on the Castle Theatre, but I cannot say anything about this because, well, it’s confidential. What I think I can say thought is that it is likely that previous council decisions to waste of thousands of pound to put the Castle contract out to tender is likely to go on, and on, and on…. Watch this space.

Remember… this is just the beginning!


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