Council cuts "could close whole departments"

Thurrock Gazette: Councillor John Kent said there could be "no sacred cows." Councillor John Kent said there could be "no sacred cows."

WHOLE departments may have to be shut down by the council as it attempts to find £38m worth of savings over the next few years, a councillor has said.

Although the council had an underspend of £579,000 in the last financial year and has increased its reserves to £8m from just £2.1m in 2010, Councillor Lynn Worrall told a meeting of the council’s ruling cabinet that further cuts in government funding could “close whole departments” after £50m savings had already been made over the last four years.

Councillors were meeting to discuss how to make the most savings with the least impact on residents but leader John Kent said, while the council was in a better position than many, they would have to make some tough decisions against their political inclinations.

He said: “There can be no sacred cows – we’ve to look at every service the council provides and look at how we can provide it differently, more efficiently and whether it’s a service we can no longer provide.”

However, he added: “It’s in our interests to make these tough decisions because, if we don’t, the power to do so will be taken away from us with decisions being made by people who are not necessarily sensitive to the needs of our most vulnerable residents.”

Among the measures discussed were changing waste collection and disposal arrangements, reducing the voluntary sector grant, making savings in contracts with organisations working with learning disabilities and mental health problems, reducing bus subsidies and hiking parking revenue.

However, despite Mr Kent’s insistence on there being “no sacred cows,” Councillor Phil Smith assured the meeting residents’ parking schemes would not be affected and Andrew Smith said there would be no cuts to the Tilbury Ferry subsidy.

Comments (8)

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4:03pm Thu 3 Jul 14

woodsider says...

in addition to looking for cuts I hope the council is looking at ways of generating income from the private sector.
in addition to looking for cuts I hope the council is looking at ways of generating income from the private sector. woodsider
  • Score: 1

10:11pm Thu 3 Jul 14

TOBI13 says...

What about wage cuts at the top. Far to many managers overpaid and a cheif executive who earns more than the PM?.
Employ more staff at the bottom of the ladder and may i suggest pay them a bit more taken from the overpaid at the top, then there may be efficiency.
Tear up the decent homes scheme and deal with the housing problems from the ground up and that includes DAMP.
Employ qualified housing inspectors, audit the work being done on council homes.
Just for starters.
What about wage cuts at the top. Far to many managers overpaid and a cheif executive who earns more than the PM?. Employ more staff at the bottom of the ladder and may i suggest pay them a bit more taken from the overpaid at the top, then there may be efficiency. Tear up the decent homes scheme and deal with the housing problems from the ground up and that includes DAMP. Employ qualified housing inspectors, audit the work being done on council homes. Just for starters. TOBI13
  • Score: 13

8:19am Fri 4 Jul 14

lady1968 says...

Bring services back to the Council ie get rid of SERCO. The council was much more efficient when it ran all of its services and didn't contract anything out, mind you what can you say when SERCO are employing a local Councillor.
Bring services back to the Council ie get rid of SERCO. The council was much more efficient when it ran all of its services and didn't contract anything out, mind you what can you say when SERCO are employing a local Councillor. lady1968
  • Score: 8

11:52pm Fri 4 Jul 14

Sugarman says...

So all funding for voluntary organisations are being stopped ie people recording books for the blind, transport for the disabled, MS sufferers, elderly. Bus subsidies stopped. Etc. but the trusts are continuing, ie benefits and housing for immigrants? Cutting back on care in the home so that means the elderly will be out into care homes much earlier. Bin emptying won't be weekly, charges for garden refuse? Redundancies at the council except where they need it, at the top. Bet none of their expense accounts are being targeted.
So all funding for voluntary organisations are being stopped ie people recording books for the blind, transport for the disabled, MS sufferers, elderly. Bus subsidies stopped. Etc. but the trusts are continuing, ie benefits and housing for immigrants? Cutting back on care in the home so that means the elderly will be out into care homes much earlier. Bin emptying won't be weekly, charges for garden refuse? Redundancies at the council except where they need it, at the top. Bet none of their expense accounts are being targeted. Sugarman
  • Score: 1

8:14am Sat 5 Jul 14

Dave_ says...

When you look at the 38 senior management salaries as listed regardless of some being shared, it is still a hefty bill. But it only lists those on more than £58200. Why we need 38 on salaries more than this is beyond me. I would be more interested to see the list for over £40000. I’d bet if you have 38 “senior” managers, there is a plethora of middle management desk sitters.
I think before making cuts to services, salaries and staffing levels in senior and middle management need to be looked at. There is never a second thought if it comes to cutting those at the coalface. Where I work, not the public sector, there have been several rationalisations with critical looks at duplication in senior and middle management positions and posts being lost or downgraded.
What needs to be remembered is that councils provide a series of services from a finite pot of money. These services need people doing them in the public eye, not panelled boardrooms.
While they’re at it lets lose full time councillor posts and only get a set level of expenses. Do we need employed political leaders, when we have employed, salaried senior managers doing the same thing?
I also wonder how many of these managers live in the borough? It should be a condition of their employment.
When you look at the 38 senior management salaries as listed regardless of some being shared, it is still a hefty bill. But it only lists those on more than £58200. Why we need 38 on salaries more than this is beyond me. I would be more interested to see the list for over £40000. I’d bet if you have 38 “senior” managers, there is a plethora of middle management desk sitters. I think before making cuts to services, salaries and staffing levels in senior and middle management need to be looked at. There is never a second thought if it comes to cutting those at the coalface. Where I work, not the public sector, there have been several rationalisations with critical looks at duplication in senior and middle management positions and posts being lost or downgraded. What needs to be remembered is that councils provide a series of services from a finite pot of money. These services need people doing them in the public eye, not panelled boardrooms. While they’re at it lets lose full time councillor posts and only get a set level of expenses. Do we need employed political leaders, when we have employed, salaried senior managers doing the same thing? I also wonder how many of these managers live in the borough? It should be a condition of their employment. Dave_
  • Score: 4

3:18pm Sat 5 Jul 14

Sugarman says...

Does Terry Hipsey claim travelling expenses from Norfolk? Four hour round trip and an overnight stay in a hotel probably. I have no doubt there's more cuts to come but hey they haven't put the council tax up!!! That's their justification.
Does Terry Hipsey claim travelling expenses from Norfolk? Four hour round trip and an overnight stay in a hotel probably. I have no doubt there's more cuts to come but hey they haven't put the council tax up!!! That's their justification. Sugarman
  • Score: 4

10:40pm Sat 5 Jul 14

TOBI13 says...

What about if Cllrs were paid on their performance?
What about if Cllrs were paid on their performance? TOBI13
  • Score: 1

2:56pm Sun 6 Jul 14

poortaxpayer says...

Sugarman wrote:
Does Terry Hipsey claim travelling expenses from Norfolk? Four hour round trip and an overnight stay in a hotel probably. I have no doubt there's more cuts to come but hey they haven't put the council tax up!!! That's their justification.
Why do residents allow this situation to continue? This has gone on for over 4 years now unchallenged. I feel sorry for the residents of Stanford-le-Hope West who only have one real Councillor and a Labour parasite sponging off the backs of Thurrock residents by collecting his generous Councillor allowances and expenses. How can someone be expected to represent residents in Stanford-le-Hope while living nearly 100 miles away just outside Downham Market in Norfolk?
[quote][p][bold]Sugarman[/bold] wrote: Does Terry Hipsey claim travelling expenses from Norfolk? Four hour round trip and an overnight stay in a hotel probably. I have no doubt there's more cuts to come but hey they haven't put the council tax up!!! That's their justification.[/p][/quote]Why do residents allow this situation to continue? This has gone on for over 4 years now unchallenged. I feel sorry for the residents of Stanford-le-Hope West who only have one real Councillor and a Labour parasite sponging off the backs of Thurrock residents by collecting his generous Councillor allowances and expenses. How can someone be expected to represent residents in Stanford-le-Hope while living nearly 100 miles away just outside Downham Market in Norfolk? poortaxpayer
  • Score: 7
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