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> Council savings proposed for 2014-2016
Phil
post Nov 5 2013, 12:46 PM
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West Berkshire Council have released details of savings proposals for 2014 to 2016, including a video from Gordon Lundie, Leader of the Council, and are looking for your feedback please. You can find more information at: http://www.westberks.gov.uk/savingsproposals

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motormad
post Nov 5 2013, 02:16 PM
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Their little spending pie was interesting

I couldn't help thinking about all the money they spend on sh*t like , for example , the probably thousands on a certain Allotment members shed.

I think they need to have a serious review of what they are spending their money in, who they are paying, and what they are getting.
Asking the question "Is this value for money"

Most of the time in the Public Sector the answer is no......
Schools paying £800 a pop for Laptopts you can buy for £350 from the PC World sale, for example

Particularly of interest to me are the roads.

http://www.westberks.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=28533


Where it states:

(i) Some lower priority sign repairs and road marking refurbishment will not be carried out

(ii) Fewer crash barriers and guard railing repairs will be carried out meaning that only priority areas such as outside schools and on higher speed roads may be undertaken. The frequency of gully emptying in some areas will be reduced with priority given to those areas prone to flooding

(iii) Fewer roads will be gritted during the winter months

(iv) There will be a reduction in some road repairs

(v) We will review the way we instruct our contractor to deal with unscheduled highway works

(vi) Seasonal summer grass maintenance will be reduced which may result in some areas being overgrown and looking untidy especially in rural areas


___

So more potholes... cheers


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Grammar: the difference between knowing your poop and knowing you're poop.
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blackdog
post Nov 5 2013, 04:35 PM
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I've had a look at some of them:

Totally getting rid of the Duke of Edinburgh's Scheme - I didn't know they were spending money on it and certainly don't understand why?

Closing Tourist Information office and all tourism related stuff - I guess that will be a popular one.

Reducing library hours - one or two small libraries seem to be taking a much bigger hit than others. I'm a regular user of Newbury library - it wouldn't be a disaster to close it one day a week so I'm not so sure why its hours are not changing?

Means testing and charging for old folks care - bound to be contentious, but without any details how on earth can we make a judgement on the fairness of it?

Road safety - withdrawing support for various campaigns. I guess we might find out how effective local campaigns were.

Closing public conveniences - it seems that loos in villages are to go unless the parish councils find alternative funding. But Newbury's loos are protected. Not sure I agree with this one - surely there are plenty of alternatives in Newbury that don't exist in the villages. I'd close the Pembroke Road conveniences ahead of, for instance, Pangbourne.

Public transport - do they really run a bus from Beech Hill to Newbury? Is there anyone on it?

The ones that worry me are the ones that aren't there: Administrative costs, councillor expenses/jollies, free parking for council employees - I wonder how much a £3 a day charge would raise?
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motormad
post Nov 5 2013, 05:27 PM
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wonder how much a £3 a day charge would raise?


£3 a day?

Then again I'd be pissed if I got told I hda to pay to park at my place of work.
Luckily as I don't work in the Public Sector I don't have to find out laugh.gif


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Grammar: the difference between knowing your poop and knowing you're poop.
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Exhausted
post Nov 5 2013, 05:29 PM
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QUOTE (motormad @ Nov 5 2013, 02:16 PM) *
I couldn't help thinking about all the money they spend on sh*t like , for example , the probably thousands on a certain Allotment members shed.


Allotments are the province of the Town Council, not WBC as I'm sure Simon will confirm.
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Exhausted
post Nov 5 2013, 05:33 PM
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QUOTE (motormad @ Nov 5 2013, 05:27 PM) *
Then again I'd be pissed if I got told I hda to pay to park at my place of work.
Luckily as I don't work in the Public Sector I don't have to find out laugh.gif


Interesting point there that a few people got a bit hot under the collar about WBC employees getting free parking in the KC. There was a government initiative some while ago that work place car parking was a benefit in kind and therefore taxable.
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Andy Capp
post Nov 5 2013, 05:52 PM
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QUOTE (Exhausted @ Nov 5 2013, 05:33 PM) *
Interesting point there that a few people got a bit hot under the collar about WBC employees getting free parking in the KC. There was a government initiative some while ago that work place car parking was a benefit in kind and therefore taxable.

If an employer owns the space, I see that as different than an employer paying for you to park the car you use when going to and from your normal place of work.
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Nothing Much
post Nov 5 2013, 05:55 PM
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"According to Nottingham City Council Register of Payments to
Elected Members, councillor Jane Urquhart received £29,532.84 in 2010/2011." for parking charges.

The above snippet is from an article about Nottingham workplace parking introduced a short time ago.

The article was actually about the parking problems of residents displaced by employees not using and paying for workplace parking. So another niggle for charge payers.
Stuffed by allowance receivers. £29,000 would fill a few potholes for motormad smile.gif
And stuffed by employees poaching their space. sad.gif
The article was in the Telegraph in August this year. The cost to park would have been £1.00 per day
or for those with only six fingers £300+ per year.(Or Anum, if you are a resident ohmy.gif )
ce
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MontyPython
post Nov 5 2013, 06:02 PM
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and lets hope the senior and middle management, who have such poor commercial sense, bear the brunt of the redundancies!
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Simon Kirby
post Nov 5 2013, 07:23 PM
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QUOTE (Exhausted @ Nov 5 2013, 05:29 PM) *
Allotments are the province of the Town Council, not WBC as I'm sure Simon will confirm.

Indeed. WBC might possibly run allotments in some of the other parish areas, but i don't think so.

The Town Council are having their own spending review which I posted about the other day.

I thought the Gordon Lundie video was good. I'd be unhappy to see the library service hit but it's clear that something needs to go.


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Right an injustice - give Simon Kirby his allotment back!
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Sherlock
post Nov 5 2013, 07:51 PM
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They're sounding out public views on a volunteer run library service. Clearly the death knell for libraries as a whole - they'll attempt to run libraries with volunteers, find out that it's virtually impossible to provide anything like the current service for any sustained period and then cut it back to the bone. Triple G&T's all round at the Conservative Association!
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spartacus
post Nov 5 2013, 08:00 PM
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QUOTE
£165,000 cut from a total budget of £942,000 on roads maintenance.
That's going to hurt... Could be a bumpy road ahead for this proposal... wink.gif


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spartacus
post Nov 5 2013, 08:01 PM
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QUOTE
£71,000 cut from a total budget of £968,000 on reducing grass cutting maintenance

Is that figure right? Can we really be currently spending nearly £1m on grass cutting? That's more than the road maintenance budget (Cue lots of people saying "Well I NEVER see them cutting the grass in my street.... Have to do it myself")

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spartacus
post Nov 5 2013, 08:07 PM
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QUOTE
The Council currently provides around £1.5m each year in supporting local bus services and community transport groups and is seeking to reduce this by £375,000 over the next 2 years.

Perhaps some joined up thinking is required with a reduction of the numbers of empty VF buses driving around town.

QUOTE
We are proposing to extend the normal weekday parking charges in Newbury to include Sundays which we estimate will raise additional income of around £10,000.

Full rate charges for parking on Sunday.... That'll be popular "You're KILLING the town!!" they all cry...

QUOTE
The Council currently contributes £378,000 to the Corn Exchange and £42,000 to the Watermill Theatre each year. The Council proposes to reduce the funding to the Corn Exchange by £170,000 and to the Watermill Theatre by £10,000 over the next two years.

Again, why have they got away with us payng so much to them so far? More cutting required...

QUOTE
The Council currently funds 8 crossing patrols which cost the Council £16,000 per year. This is a service which the Council doesn’t have to fund. Schools can choose to fund their own patrol, so we propose to stop this funding.
Small beer as far as the figure is concerned but what impact will it have on road safety...



QUOTE
The current budget for Tourism is £60,000. It is proposed to withdraw all of this funding which will lead to the closure of the Tourist Information Centre in Newbury and withdraw technical support for the Visit Newbury website
no biggy..... Why have we been paying so much in the first place...


QUOTE
The Council’s current Road Safety budget is £232,000 and it is proposed to reduce this by £96,000 over the next two years. The Council intends to reduce spend on road safety campaigns, to withdraw from the Safer Roads Partnership and end our contribution for funding of a Road Safety Constable.

That's quite some snip.. Are our roads going to be 'unsafer' as a result? What price a life? The Safer Roads Partnership runs the speed cameras so presumably they will be left idle while motormad goes mad with his motor?


QUOTE
The total budget which supports the Council’s Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Programme is £72,000. It is proposed to withdraw all of this funding.
Sad but an understandable cut..
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spartacus
post Nov 5 2013, 08:15 PM
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QUOTE (Sherlock @ Nov 5 2013, 07:51 PM) *
They're sounding out public views on a volunteer run library service. Clearly the death knell for libraries as a whole

I have to say that I've disagreed with libraries being some sort of cheaper subsidised Blockbuster, renting out DVDs and having an impressive stock of music CDs for people to rent for a nominal fee and burn to their hard drives.... That side of the library should have been a cost cutter ages ago. And as for books, whilst many may gnash their teeth over the loss of a library in this day and age more and more of us are Kindle users or electronic media users when it comes to book reading, so perhaps they've had their day.......
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Simon Kirby
post Nov 5 2013, 08:32 PM
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QUOTE (Sherlock @ Nov 5 2013, 07:51 PM) *
They're sounding out public views on a volunteer run library service. Clearly the death knell for libraries as a whole - they'll attempt to run libraries with volunteers, find out that it's virtually impossible to provide anything like the current service for any sustained period and then cut it back to the bone. Triple G&T's all round at the Conservative Association!

Well, savings need to be made, and the library service is relatively low down on the list of essential priorities. It's a valuable resource for people without internet access, but there are internet cafes. It's also a valuable resource for people who read of course, but e-books could change that.

I don't like the idea of running services with volunteers as a way of saving money - my idea of the Big Society is a small state that enables people to do stuff for themselves, but the object is to create an active engaged society and not to save public money per se. That said I could see a community library being an outside possibility, but I think it would take some visionary leadership to build something that people wanted to get involved in because it's a bit out-there.

Volunteering to cut the road verges is a definite possibility, and seeing how much money is spent on it I think that's something to think seriously about. It's something I'd gladly volunteer to do, so I'm guessing others would enjoy it too. To be honest I've often wondered about estates I've seen with unkempt public spaces and wondered why no one would think of just taking their mower over and taking pride in the place where they live. But then I've seen how oppressive public authorities like our town council can be in defence of their grounds maintenance empire - they're after grabbing every tax-spending pretext they can, so it's simply not in their interests to empower communities to take care of themselves. This really is the challenge of the Big Society - convincing public authorities to let go and let people take ownership, and now we've got used to sitting on our hands being spoon-fed by the nanny state it will take a bit of re-learning if we're to look after ourselves again.


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Right an injustice - give Simon Kirby his allotment back!
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Berkshirelad
post Nov 5 2013, 08:33 PM
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QUOTE (blackdog @ Nov 5 2013, 04:35 PM) *
Means testing and charging for old folks care - bound to be contentious, but without any details how on earth can we make a judgement on the fairness of it?



It is means tested and charged for currently.
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spartacus
post Nov 5 2013, 08:43 PM
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To offset all these cuts what can WBC do to generate a cash flow inwards? Introduce On-street Pay & Display? wink.gif Up the charge for resident permit parking from £25 to £30 for the first permit and £50 for the second permit?
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spartacus
post Nov 5 2013, 08:54 PM
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QUOTE
The Council currently provides around £1.5m each year in supporting local bus services and community transport groups and is seeking to reduce this by £375,000 over the next 2 years.

For a start they could look at the amount of money that is just spent on taxis to get children to school. So many of the families that qualify for this service have too often been allowed to get away with pretty much demanding an exclusive chauffeur driven motor for their ungrateful and disruptive brat.

Public Transport team try to arrange a shared taxi for two children in the same village going to the same school. Too easy. The parent of one of them will phone up and claim that the children hate each other and will fight, or one of them bullies the other at school so they can't possibly share. So two taxis get booked.

Other scenario is where taxi turns up to take teenage brat to school but said brat is still in bed and refuses to get up. Taxi driver is sent away and told by the school transport team to go back in an hour and see if child is out of bed. Two trips, two lots of cost.
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spartacus
post Nov 5 2013, 09:02 PM
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QUOTE (motormad @ Nov 5 2013, 05:27 PM) *
wonder how much a £3 a day charge would raise?

£3 a day?

I guess the point is how many of the employees would still park there if they had to pay. Everyone who currently parks there wouldn't just continue to park there. I'd guess there'd be a significant drop in numbers and we'd get more people parking in nearby roads and walking the last part into town. Plenty of free parking around own if you know where to look and are able-bodied
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