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MORE MASSIVE CUTS AT SALFORD COUNCIL
 

Star date: 5th September 2011

A Salford Star Exclusive

ALMOST £95MILLION OF CUTS FOR SALFORD!

Over the next three years Salford Council is intending to make a further £40million of cuts - on top of £40million cuts already made this year, and £14.8million identified for the next two years.

That's a total of almost £95million in cuts which is £3.5million more than Salford Council picked up from every resident in Council Tax last year.

Full story here…


Reduced bin emptying and Gateway opening hours? The closure of a homeless hostel? Cuts to Adult Social Services and Connexions slashed? No Proms, Ice Rink or monthly Life magazine?

These are just the tip of the cuts iceberg, according to a new Salford City Council report that shows another £40million to be wiped off public service budgetson top of £40million cuts already imposed this year, and £14.8million identified for the next two years.

A Report by Salford Council's Strategic Director of Customer and Support Services and the City Treasurer, due to be presented to the Council's Budget Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday states…

"In order to achieve a balanced budget, 233 separate savings proposals were approved by the Council at its meeting on 2nd March, 2011. This programme of proposals totals £39.915m in 2011/12, rising to £46.735m in 2012/13 and £54.784m in 2013/14…"

The Report then adds "It should also be noted that the Council will also need to save a further £40m over the coming three financial years…"

This adds up to a total of £94.8million in cuts, which is £3.5million more than Salford Council actually collected in Council Tax last year.

The huge sum means that it will be virtually impossible to meet the savings by `efficiencies' and is bound to mean huge cuts to jobs and services in the city.

If that isn't bad enough, the Report notes that Salford Council is struggling to meet its current cuts budget. Figures for the end of July this year show that "The shortfall is now £1.208m less than the target which should have been achieved at this stage…"

In every month since April this year, the Council has failed to reach its target of savings, and the Report shows that, even of the original cuts figure of £54.784million by 2013-14, over £22million is classified as high or medium risk of being achieved.

While the Council gives detailed proposals of how these `savings' will eventually be achieved, the Report says nothing about the extra £40million that is to be slashed.

The Salford Star asked if anyone from Salford Council would be interviewed, or even give us a quote about what could be a doomsday scenario for the city, but as yet the Council hasn't responded.

UPDATE 5pm 5th Sept

Salford Council still hasn't responded but Alex Halligan, Secretary of Salford TUC said:

"It's shocking as only on Thursday I was in a Labour Group meeting and there was no mention of these additional cuts; all John Merry said was that there would be another £1.5 million shaved from all departments this year. It's a total disgrace.

"I believe that Salford Council's ineptitude will force trade union hands and some sort of action is likely in the coming months" he added "Since the ConDem goverment entered office, Salford Council has failed to act as our local opposition and is currently enacting some of the most reckless policies of any council in the country. The new wave of cuts and evictiction of Salix and City West tenants are the icing of the cake."

UPDATE 12th September

Salford Council has finally responded to confirm the level of cuts...

Councillor Bill Hinds, Lead Member for Finance at Salford City Council, said:

“Although we have already made huge savings this year, we will need to continue to make further savings for the next two years in response to the government's planned reductions in grant funding for local government. This is an extremely difficult situation for us and we are having to work very hard to make the savings needed of us while still maintaining as many council services as we can.”

Photo by itookyourpicture.com (Anti-cuts demo, Civic Centre Demo Sept 2010)

 

 

 

TonyD wrote
at 09:00:33 on 17 September 2011
Sack the majority of the council tax 'managers' and inspectors to save money. I have spent over a year trying to get an exemption due to the house having major building work. I had meetings with them, telephone calls with them, wrote letters to them, sent over a hundred photos. They refused to believe me, but refused to send an inspector to check (saying they would not be able to tell if a house was liveable!!). At the same time we are harrassed by the 'empty property team' as the house is a mess! We - FINALLY - get the exemption. We then get a demand. They ignore my reply and send another demand. They ignore my reply and send a court summons. We go to court and go through a farce - a district judge refusing to put forward our evidence whilst the council provide no proof and lie in court! Rather than dismissing the case, the judge lets the council withdraw so they can re-submit when they do have their lies ready. The council have now lied again saying they sent a letter, lied about recieving some of my letters. and still it goes on. HOW MUCH MONEY HAVE THEY WASTED? HOW MUCH HAS IT COST US.
 
Salford Resident wrote
at 15:00:19 on 09 September 2011
The scale of these cuts can only be met by major cuts to staff and services. This will be tremendously detrimental to everyone who lives in the city. We need a serious fight now to force the government into backing down or getting out. This means mass protests and industrial action. A major wave of strikes against the corrupt MPs and their big-business friends is the only way to stop the Tories. If we could stop the Tories like this, which ever government followed would be terrified of making further cuts. Perhaps they might tax the fat cats and bankers instead. Either way, the Tories are fighting a class war. They want nothing less than the end of the welfare state and public services. It's a crying shame that Labour councillors around the country are doing their dirty work for them. Now is the time to decide which side you are on. Either we stand and fight, or we meakly let them roll over us.
 
Julie Hendy wrote
at 14:59:58 on 09 September 2011
Re elected mayor . Merry blusters on about cost of £200,000 for democracy . Get rid of a few obscene- salaried bullshitters . Problem solved , and plenty left to squander . But a true peoples representative should be untainted by the Crazy gang , and will stop the rot .
 
salford pimpernelle wrote
at 07:21:49 on 08 September 2011
If you want democracy and want to stop the above, within the next 6 months there is to be an election for a lord mayor of Salford, a person who is elected by all the people of Salford, (unlike John Merry only voted in by his own constituents, who can sell the family silver to all his cronnie friends) with a bit look an elected mayor will order a public & police investigation into the above and also into area's like Salford red stadium with public monies and loans to multimillion pound companies also with public monies, John Merry at this moment is sitting in his office crapping himself, he don’t want a elected mayor for this reason. Read below, from a news paper article on the mayor of Doncaster, these are some of the thing an elected mayor can do. Why can't Dave and Ed learn a few lessons from Britain's most gloriously un-PC supermayor Outspoken: Peter Davies doesn't believe in 'diversity' By his own admission, Peter Davies would make a dreadful Foreign Secretary. Aside from the fact that he has never been in a plane and has been abroad only once (a four-day break to Paris in 1988), diplomacy is not his forte. This is, after all, a man who proudly proclaims his contempt for 'diversity'. So the week after next it is going to be interesting when Mr Davies welcomes a delegation of German VIPs on an all-expenses-paid visit to his home town - and tells them not to bother coming back. 'I have only two words of German: "Auf" and "Wiedersehen", ' he says. 'But those are the only words I need.' And no one is going to stop this proud Yorkshireman. To the shock and dismay of many local councillors and MPs, most of Westminster and the entire Government, the assiduously straight-talking Mr Davies has just become one of the most powerful politicians in Britain. To make things worse, he did so while a member of one of its tiniest parties, the English Democrats. And to cap it all, his first act was to slash his own pay by 60 per cent. Less than three months ago, by a narrow margin, this retired schoolmaster was unexpectedly elected executive mayor of the once impregnable - and famously corrupt - Labour citadel of Doncaster. Imagine a Socialist Worker mayor in Surrey and you get the picture. Executive mayors were a Blairite wheeze to rejuvenate clapped-out, inner-city town halls by creating all-powerful civic superstars (preferably cronies of Tony). Only a handful of cities voted for the idea, though. The best-known is the Mayor of London, though his powers are by far the weakest. The capital was deemed too important for a single mayoral ego so that post, occupied by Boris Johnson, is largely promotional, with appointing, ribbon- cutting and Olympic finger buffets thrown in. In the provinces, though, the 11 other executive mayors reign like medieval princes. 'Boris? He's a eunuch,' scoffs Mr Davies, who chooses and supervises a cabinet that controls education, transport, social services and pretty much everything else across his domain. And with a quarter of a million people, Doncaster is by far the biggest of these fiefdoms. Not a fan: Davies called Boris Johnson a 'eunuch' but can sound like David Cameron when he talks about the importance of That is why Mr Davies matters. He has made a punchy start which, if replicated nationwide, would lead to public sector bedlam. The question is who should be most worried about his success: Labour or the Tories? Because his message threatens both. Within a week of his election, Mr Davies had slashed his own salary from £73,000 to £30,000, scrapped the mayoral limousine and abolished the council's free newspaper. He has written to the Electoral Commission asking them to scrap two-thirds of Doncaster's 63 council seats in order to save the town £800,000 a year. 'If Pittsburgh can manage with nine councillors, why do we need 63?' he asks. 'They each get a basic salary of £12,590 and we have only eight council meetings a year anyway.' Deeply sceptical of 'green claptrap', he must be the only mayor in Britain who wants more traffic in his town. He says it will boost business and has just announced plans for more parking spaces and an end to bus-only routes. 'Like it or not, we live in the age of the car,' he says. He wants to cut all 'non-jobs' in his 13,500 workforce - such as platinum-pensioned 'community cohesion officers' - and aims to shrivel future pay deals for council executives. Much as he likes his chief executive, Paul Hart, he says his £175,000 salary is 'a joke' and that any successor can expect half. 'Don't believe that stuff about "having to pay the best to get the best". It's arrant nonsense - look what it did to the City,' he says. And he is in the process of 'de-twinning' Doncaster from its five twin towns around the world. Twinning, he says, is all about free holidays for councillors and their staff. On taking office, he was amazed to discover that the council had agreed to pay a £2,800 hotel bill during next month's St Leger race meeting at the local racecourse. The money is for entertaining councillors from Herten, Doncaster's (soon-to-be-ex) twin town in Germany. It was too late to cancel the reservations, but Mr Davies will ensure the exercise is not repeated. 'Racing happens to be my passion, but I don't expect the taxpayer to fund it,' he says. While these preliminary cuts may be local government heresy, what has really marked out Mr Davies for liberal opprobrium is his gratuitously provocative assault on what he calls 'the culture of political correctness'. He has scrapped all future funding for Doncaster's annual Gay Pride event. 'I'm not a homophobe, but I don't see why council taxpayers should pay to celebrate anyone's sexuality,' he says. He has scrapped funding for council translation services on the grounds that people should be encouraged to learn English. And he has scrapped the word 'diversity' from his list of cabinet portfolios. 'Going on about diversity causes racial tension, it doesn't improve it,' he says. 'The Government has just admitted that gipsies should be given special treatment and that only makes people angry. I want every citizen of Doncaster to be equal.' Mr Davies is certainly setting himself up for demonisation - by Labour, Tory and Liberal alike. And the twice-married father-of-three hasn't even hit the 100-day mark. His critics are quiet for now, but I dare say Labour HQ has recruited a team of smear merchants to trawl through his past and his bins. He certainly speaks his mind, which is always a godsend for enemy spin doctors. Here's Davies on climate change: 'I'm not green and I'm not conned by global warming.' On women in the workplace: 'Why do we expect pregnant women to work?' On council affiliations: 'I don't want to join things; I want to unjoin them.' Conservative: Philip Davies, Tory son of Peter After expressing his support for an English History Day, he received a chummy email from a woman claiming to be a former pupil trying to lure him into saying something racist about Black History Month. 'She turned out to be a fake and I'm no racist,' says Mr Davies. Besides, it was hardly the ideal way of contacting the mayor. He does not use a computer - all his emails are printed out by his staff. Mr Davies likes to call himself a maverick, but isn't he just a headline-grabbing populist? Having been elected because he is a non-politician and 'a breath of fresh air' (a recurring phrase among his supporters), won't he end up going native and claiming for mayoral duck houses? Or does he represent the start of a sea change in local, even national, politics? If a man well to the Right of the Tory leadership can capture a socialist pit town on Arthur Scargill's doorstep, anything is possible. Having come to Doncaster, I find a bluff, but canny operator sitting in a spectacularly drab Sixties office block that once housed the Coal Board. Mr Davies has attempted to cheer up his viewless office with three racing prints (his own), but without success. Much as his opponents will try, he is not easy to pigeonhole. He wants to slash costs, but he is not some asset-stripping suit from a big business background. He is a retired state employee who spent 30 years teaching religious studies. He hates the cult of 'diversity', but says he took his pupils to mosques, synagogues and temples to help them understand other faiths. A non-practising Anglican, he says he is attracted by certain tenets of Buddhism and believes the Taliban could teach us a thing or two about family values. 'Who says we have the moral right to tell Afghan society how to live?' he says. 'Our troops should not be there.' Blimey. I can almost sense a touch of the George Galloways - until we turn to crime. He is a keen devotee of the birch and noose. The Doncaster-born son of a socialist butcher, Mr Davies was a Labour activist until 1973, when the rhetoric at a May Day rally drove him to the Conservatives. He supported that party for more than 20 years, until John Major signed up to the Maastricht Treaty, whereupon Mr Davies joined the UK Independence Party (UKIP). He says he soon tired of UKIP's infighting and 'hypocrisy', so moved to the lesser-known English Democrats because he was 'fed up with England being taken for a ride'. Mr Davies says he loves Scotland - he takes his annual holiday in Perth to visit 'the most beautiful racecourse in Britain' - but he believes the time has come to shrink Westminster and create an English parliament. He knows his limits, however, and quickly points out that mayors of Doncaster, however powerful, have nothing to do with devolution. Similarly, having stood on an anti-yob ticket, he admits there is only so much that councils can do to fight crime. 'But we can, at least, try to help the police with new bylaws,' he says. 'Everyone tells me I can't do this or that, but why can't I try?' According to Mr Davies, Doncaster is home to 80 per cent of the travellers in South Yorkshire and so the town is obliged to build 51 sites for them. 'There's nothing we can do about that because it's a government decree, but that shouldn't stop us from seeing whether there are people on those gipsy sites who aren't paying council tax or are working while on benefit.' He is scathing about the Conservatives, despite the fact that his son, Philip, is Tory MP for Shipley. 'The party's gone. Half of them belong in the Labour Party. They all fish in the same pond anyway,' he says. However, he stresses that he admires Eurosceptic Tories, including Lord Tebbit, plus a few outspoken Labour MPs, such as Frank Field and Austin Mitchell. On some points, he sounds just like David Cameron. 'No proper frontline workers have anything to fear from me. Social workers, care assistants and teachers do a vital job,' he says. 'But the bureaucrats had better look out.' Admiration: Peter Davies likes Euro-sceptic MPs such as Conservative Norman Tebbit and Labour Frank Field Ah, the bureaucrats. Always the easiest target, but always the hardest to shift. I ask him whom he has in mind. He turns to a pile of swankily printed documents on his desk and grabs one. It is the size of a telephone directory and has Spatial Strategy written on the front. 'Look at this rubbish. That must have involved 20 staff and the language is meaningless. It belongs in the bin, but I'm keeping it for posterity.' It's all very well trying to junk useless waffle and the 'Jobzilla' culture behind it, but what does Mr Davies actually know about local government? Another early policy decision was to 'unjoin' Doncaster from the two main talking shops for councils, the Local Government Association and the Local Government Information Unit. Mr Davies says this will save £80,000 a year. But where will he get advice on how to reform his £586million-a-year authority? I test him on his knowledge of public sector-speak and chuck a few Jobzilla phrases at him - 'beaconicity', 'driving the transformation agenda' - and he just waves his hands. 'I've told every department to dump all that language and find savings of 10 to 15 per cent right away. I want to cut the council tax by 3 per cent this year.' Davies is bringing in reinforcements - the Taxpayers Alliance, Campaign Against Political Correctness and a team of external accountants, who have been invited to look through Doncaster's books. It can't be much fun being an under-employed council jobsworth in this town now. I ask what he would do if he discovered one of his trading standards officers persecuting a street trader for selling in pounds and ounces. 'Put it this way, it would be a case of: "Goodnight, sweet Prince," ' he says with a grin. He certainly has his work cut out, but he is already making waves. A random street survey suggests he has the support of around a third of the town, while a further third are in the 'wait and see' camp and the remaining third have no idea what I am talking about. No one, though, is anti-Davies. Ironically, it is Labour who created Peter Davies. This town used to be as red as a Doncaster Rovers scarf, but successive Labour regimes became so complacent, tribal and greedy that several bung-hungry councillors ended up doing time after the ' Donnygate' fraud trials of the Nineties. It wasn't just the council that was bent. The former owner of Doncaster Rovers went to jail in 1999 for trying to burn down his own football stadium. Finally, a shocking series of child abuse cases prompted Labour's last mayor to announce he would not seek re-election this summer. So is it any wonder that the people of Doncaster have given up on traditional politics? Politicians - and council bosses - of all persuasions will be hoping Mr Davies is written off as an extremist joke figure or defeated by the gargantuan forces of town hall inertia ranged against him. If not, a town best known for its political scandals could become famous for turning the tide against the modern political class. And that's the last thing Ed Milliband or David Cameron wants right now.
 
Harry Toon wrote
at 15:42:05 on 06 September 2011
INEPTITUDE . THE PERFECT DESCRIPTION FOR THE WAY THE SWINETOWN CRETINS HAVE RUN THIS DEAD CITY INTO THE GUTTER .WOULD NOT TRUST THIS LOT TO FASTEN A SHOELACE .
 
Just a another thought wrote
at 15:41:32 on 06 September 2011
Well "just a thought", when MErry gets off twitter and comes on here, he will spout the usual shite about "we will get a return on our investment throught the increased revenue that will come in through council tax from the people these schemes attract"------Stop giving these companies grants and you can cut our council tax. Eg 225,0000 people in Salford, maybe 100,000 homes paying council tax? If you dont give these firms £1,000,000 then you save each household £10. £20,000,000 for the orchestra is twenty times that, so each houshold would save £200. GEt rid of spicer,walker and scarlet and you save each houshold £4 a year. Thats how it works Mr "some beans" Merry
 
salford pimpernelle wrote
at 06:45:03 on 06 September 2011
kick merry out, vote for an elected lord mayor
 
Just a thought.... wrote
at 06:43:45 on 06 September 2011
Isn't it time the chief exec and her chums in the business department started rattling cages with those bodies the councils have given money to hand over fist? I'm no financial genius, but surely you don't invest in a company without any hope of a return on your investments? A scenario where the council takes all the risks (thru capital grants / Direct funding) and developer takes all the profit is doomed to collapse eventually. What do the people of salford get out of these schemes?
 
Good idea boss! wrote
at 16:25:50 on 05 September 2011
How about sticking the orchestra on ebay? Spending all that money on the orchestra is looking a really a really good financial move now isn,t it? I bet the prick/pricks who came up with the idea still work for the council. Oh yes---pink ice rinks as well losing money every year. Loaning money to builders????! Paying Spicer,Walker and Scarlet £450,000 a year between them. It all make sound financial sense now doesn't it Mr Merry?
 
D Clemo wrote
at 11:27:41 on 05 September 2011
THE MOST INEPT AND USELESS COUNCIL IN THIS DUMP BRITAIN . SACK SPICER AND MERRY . MAKE THE REST OF THE GOONS FUND ALL THEIR STUPID SCHEMES FROM THEIR OWN POCKETS . GET RID OF ALL THE NON - JOBS THIS CRAP COUNCIL IS STUFFED WITH , CUTTING WAGES COSTS BY 70%..STOP BUNGING OUR MONEY AT RICH BIZNEZ CHUMS . PROBLEM SOLVED .
 
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