Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Tories cant be trusted with Local Government, Last year the ConDems at County Hall struck a deal with Eric Pickles the Tory minister in charge of Local Government, to freeze Council Tax for two years, then he reneged on the deals struck with Councils and has increased the cuts for Northumberland by an additional £28M, its a disgrace of the first order."

Northumberland Labour Group expect the kind of quotes given by the ConDem administration at County Hall, here we have the Liberal Leader quoted as saying were "minimising the impact on front line services" and his finance bod Andrew Tebbutt explaining how he's removing £8M from the Fire Service, Transport, Waste, Highways, Public Health and Public Protection all front line services.
Northumberland County Council took 'Pickles' bribe last year which froze Council Tax for two years. This year Eric Pickles MP's department DCLG saddled Northumberland with an additional cuts package moving up from £74M to £102M thats on top of the £105M removed from Northumberlands budgets through the Local Government Review program.
Labour Group Leader Grant Davey said"Its a pity that the ConDems haven't grasped the concept of Local Government Front Line Services if Liberals Andrew Tebbutt and Jeff Reid don't think our Binmen, Firemen and women, drivers, health inspectors and food safety officers work on our front line then they need to tell Northumberlands people what they define as the Front Line. This budget cycle also shows that the Tories cant be trusted with Local Government, Last year the ConDems at County Hall struck a deal with Eric Pickles the Tory minister in charge of Local Government, to freeze Council Tax for two years, then he reneged on the deals struck with Councils and has increased the cuts for Northumberland by an additional £28M, its a disgrace of the first order."

Northumberland County Council cuts agreed by Executive
 by Paul Tully, The Journal
29 January 2013
PLANS for £23.6m of savings were given the nod by Northumberland County Council’s executive yesterday .
The executive agreed cuts worked out by finance chiefs under central Government impositions which will go before the full council in the draft budget next month.
With cuts proposed in many areas, the Northumberland authority has identified £23.6m of savings among spending of £467m in the 2013-14 budget.
That is likely to be followed by cuts totalling £35.3m in 2014-15 and £26.9m in 2015-16, although the medium-term financial plan could be reviewed to reflect the council’s priorities after the May 2013 local elections.
Steven Mason, Northumberland Council corporate director of finance, said: “There are major changes to the financial framework in which the council operates as a direct consequence of Government policy which create significant financial risks and uncertainty.
“The medium-term plan has recognised this and established a contingency reserve to manage such risks as the implications are fully understood during 2013-14. 2014-15 will be an extremely challenging year due to the revaluation of the pension scheme, and the spending reductions being proposed by the Government. The scale of the financial challenge is likely to continue beyond 2014-15 as the Government seeks to rebalance the economy and reduce public sector expenditure.”
Mr Mason said the overall 2012-16 budget reduction figure has reached £102.6m and warned the position may change again as the figures are based on the provisional grant announcement.

Council leader Jeff Reid has pledged that front line council services will be protected in the face of the latest budget cuts. Council tax will also be frozen for a third consecutive year.
He said: “We have looked very carefully at how we can reduce expenditure, increase income and make efficiency savings while minimising the impact on front line services, residents and council staff.”
A report to the Northumberland executive added: “The proposed allocation continues the previous approach of the Government which moves resource from the more deprived areas of the country - e.g. North East, North West and Yorkshire.
“The provisional settlement announced by the Government significantly worsened the financial outlook for the council, adding considerably to future cost reduction targets.
“It is particularly disappointing that the work undertaken regarding the additional costs faced by both rural and largely rural councils has been completely negated within the funding formula by the application of dampening arrangements.”
Budget proposals are now open for consultation until February 10 but the bulk of 2013-14 budget savings will come from central corporate services, adult services and housing, which face a £16m cut.
A further £8m has been earmarked from children’s services, fire and rescue, highways, waste, transport and public health and protection.
Coun Andrew Tebbutt, executive member for corporate services, said: “Despite the very poor financial settlement Northumberland has received from central Government, we are doing our best to protect services and jobs.”

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Councillor Scott Dickinson at the bus stop next to the shops in Hadston.

Northumberland Gazette
Published on Sunday 27 January 2013 06:00
The axing of a vital bus service will leave communities isolated and vulnerable residents cut off, angry councillors have said.

The criticism follows news that the 20/X20 will no longer serve Hadston Square and Amble Links Estate, which Arriva says is due to ‘low usage’.
It comes as part of planned changes for the company’s bus network in north Northumberland, and the alterations are due to come into effect next month.
But it has been slammed by Coun Scott Dickinson and Coun Robert Arckless, who believe it will have a severe impact.
Coun Scott Dickinson, who is the chairman of East Chevington Parish Council, said: “I am saddened, disappointed and dismayed at the final decision to remove the number 20 service coming into Hadston, which connects residents to Ashington, Amble, Widdrington and areas along the route.
“The decision has been made without consultation and will now cut off residents, such as the elderly, who can’t walk the distance to the only collection stop in our area.
“Our area for some of the most vulnerable, elderly and disabled users has now been cut off preventing them for getting around, impacting on work and social activities.
“There has been a systematic decimation of services that will have a detrimental impact on the community.
“I have never been contacted so much by residents and they feel they have yet again been unfairly treated.”
He claimed that neither Arriva nor Northumberland County Council had consulted on the issue – which he described as ‘deeply concerning’ – and called for a rethink of the changes.
Coun Robert Arckless, ward member for Amble, said he had been in touch with both the county council and Arrvia about the cut.
He added: “I am absolutely furious about what Arriva is doing.
“They are cutting adrift a sizeable number of their own perspective passengers, leaving the Links Estate totally isolated.
“I don’t think Arriva has the first idea what a huge difference it will make to the quality of life of some of the most vulnerable people who are going to be cut adrift.
“It is appalling. It is a well-used service and people at the Links Estate badly depend on it. I am really worried about this.”