Friday, 25 January 2013

White-light technology

Northumberland Gazette
Published on Friday 25 January 2013 06:00
The Labour group wants to replace all of the street lights in the county with white-light technology to help save on energy costs.

Group leader Grant Davey said that they want the scheme to be funded by contract rather than PFI (officers have put forward a £25million scheme)to keep all of the maintenance in-house.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Short-term budget “no way to run a council and a shabby way to treat staff”

Short-term budget “no way to run a council and a shabby way to treat staff”
Liberal Democrat-run Northumberland County Council look set to push through a budget covering just 12 weeks instead of a legal budget for the next financial year.  
Where most local authorities across the country are to set legal budget for the year 2013/14, the Lib Dem Cabinet at Northumberland are looking to adopt a short-term budget covering only a few months.  The Council claim this is due to its failure to complete a review of its medium-term financial plan.
This follows last year’s budget chaos when the Council set two budgets in the space of one year.
Councillor Grant Davey, Labour Group Leader at Northumberland County Council said:
“For the second year running, the Lib Dem administration is demonstrating a complete lack of financial competence and leadership. They seem to be offering the people of Northumberland, a ‘vote now, pay later deal’ by refusing to set out their budget until after the local elections in May. At a time when local government finances are stretched to breaking point by central government cuts, we can’t go on having a Council budget planned month by month.
“The Lib Dems refusal to set out a yearly budget is creating huge uncertainty.
“This is no way to run a Council and a shabby way to treat staff.”
- The Northumberland County Council Executive will consider the adoption of a 12 week budget at their meeting on 28th January 2013

Monday, 21 January 2013

Dodgy Budget Puts Workers Lives on Hold

Dodgy Budget Puts Workers Lives on Hold

Northumberland Liberal administered ConDem Coalition released the news today that they have decided to push through a 12 week budget instead of setting a legal budget for 2013/14.

The ConDem Coalition at County Hall have already cut jobs in Northumberland by 2500 in the last five years, 1500 through a redundancy scheme and a thousand through not filling posts and hosting an emergency budget last year four weeks after setting a legal budget. Their handling of policy on the Third Sector, Car Parking, Centralisation, Equality Issues and the Economy of Northumberland has damaged confidence in our high streets, they have also lost the two largest private sector employers under their watch.

The County Council recognises that 2014/15 will be a difficult year for Local Government but Northumberland has chosen to wait and review a budget a year away before setting a budget for the next financial year. They are putting a paper to the Executive on 28th January stating a review of the medium term finacial plan hasn't been achieved by the Administration in the time provided so a short term budget must be set and reviewed after the election on May 2nd.

Northumberland Labour Group Leader, Grant Davey said: "The setting of a 'dodgy budget' for the second year running shows the contempt the Lib Dems and their Tory handmaidens have for the people of Northumberland, the staff they employ who rely on budget setting to see what the future holds for them and the reputation of our top officers, which will suffer by supporting this myopic delivery policy."


Press Release from Northumberland Labour Group
Monday 21 January 2013


Labour slams attempts to hide Council Tax increases 

Plans by Lib Dem controlled Northumberland County Council to transfer the provision of local services to local parish councils are in disarray as the Council admitted they are once again delaying implementation of their policy.

Under the Lib Dem’s “Parish Council Charter”, Northumberland County Council is seeking to transfer services including cemeteries, parks, playing fields and community centres to Parish Councils despite local concerns about Parish Council’s abilities to take on these services.

Now the Council have admitted that they plan to delay implementation for their Parish Council Charter until 1st April 2014. 

Labour has labelled these plans as a “backdoor” way of getting parish councils to take the blame for Council Tax increases. 

Councillor Grant Davey, Leader of Northumberland Labour Group said:

“Forcing local parish councils to take on service provision is just a blatant attempt by the Lib Dems at the County Council to pass the blame for Council Tax increases to others in local Parish Councils. 

“It is outrageous that they try to claim that they are freezing Council Tax whilst hiding away tax hikes under titles such as “Special Expenses” or forcing parishes to increase their precepts. 

“A unitary council was intended to be a way of delivering high quality and more efficient services across the county. Instead under their Leadership, we have a council unwilling to provide the services and trying to shirk their responsibilities. They are trying to pass the buck and the blame on to parish councils who can’t support these services, either financially or organisationally.

“These hidden Council Tax increases are a huge burden on struggling working families and what’s worse is that people in the parish areas know they are paying for things twice over.”

Northumberland Labour Group have taken a serious look at the state of Street Lighting County-Wide and agree with the people we serve that this current situation of failing street lights and removed columns cannot persist

Labour to Replace all Lights With White Light
Northumberland Labour Group have taken a serious look at the state of Street Lighting County-Wide and agree with the people we serve that this current situation of failing street lights and removed columns cannot persist.
It is well documented nationally that failing street lights lead to a rise in crime in urban areas as thieves feel safe from identification in the dark.
Labour raised this issue earlier this year following the mass removal of street lighting columns in the South East of the County to have an invest to save scheme designed to resolve the problems. Officers put forward a £25M non PFI capital scheme to change all lights to white light which will reduce the costs of energy use dramatically.
Northumberland Labour Group Leader Grant Davey said: "Labour has pushed this scheme forward as being a contract rather than a PFI it protects the jobs of our local workforce as the maintenance of the new lighting scheme will remain 'In-House'. This is a win-win for Northumberland, we will retain valuable jobs that contribute towards the economy of our Market Towns and make a massive saving on energy costs that will benefit the Council tax payer."

Berwick Press
Street lights removed on safety grounds

Published on Friday 18 January 2013 11:37
DISAPPEARING lamp posts in Berwick will be replaced - but not until the next financial year in a number of cases.
Residents in Highcliffe, Ascew Crescent and Sunnyside Crescent have all raised concerns in recent weeks after a number of street lights have seemingly disappeared, leaving behind taped-up stumps in their place.
Two columns were removed from Askew Crescent in November. One resident said: “It’s very dark in mornings and evenings going to and from work, a few of us have had to use torches.”
Another street light has also been reduced to a stump outside Sunnyside Crescent, a spot which residents say is particularly dangerous as it is on a school route with parked cars and children playing.
Northumberland County Council say that the lamp posts that have been removed were found to be structurally defective and had been removed for safety reasons.
A spokeswoman for Northumberland County Council said: “In this financial year we have replaced 23 street lighting columns in Berwick, East Ord, Spittal and Tweedmouth.
“As part of the testing and inspection programme, we have recently found a further 24 columns that are structurally defect and have been cut down on safety grounds.
“Some of the columns deemed to be a priority shall be replaced within the financial year and all the others will be replaced from April onwards