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SALFORD COUNCIL APPROVES £150,000 CHIEF OFFICER AS £24MILLION CUTS PROPOSED
 

Star date: 15th January 2014

ANTI-FRACKERS AND TRADE UNIONS JOIN TO CONDEMN SALFORD COUNCIL

Around 150 people laid siege to Salford Civic Centre today as Mayor Ian Stewart got a meeting of the full council to rubber stamp approval for the appointment of a new £150,000 Fat Cat `Head of Paid Services', while announcing cuts of £24.5million and the loss of 300 jobs.

Councillors going into the meeting ran a gauntlet of trade unionists and anti-frackers shouting `Shame on you…Shame on you'…

Full details here…


Salford Anti-Fat Cat Demo Salford Anti-Fat Cat Demo Salford Anti-Fat Cat Demo
Salford Anti-Fat Cat Demo Salford Anti-Fat Cat Demo Salford Anti-Fat Cat Demo
Salford Anti-Fat Cat Demo Salford Anti-Fat Cat Demo Salford Anti-Fat Cat Demo
Salford Anti-Fat Cat Demo Salford Anti-Fat Cat Demo Salford Anti-Fat Cat Demo
Salford Anti-Fat Cat Demo Salford Anti-Fat Cat Demo Salford Anti-Fat Cat Demo
Salford Anti-Fat Cat Demo Salford Anti-Fat Cat Demo Salford Anti-Fat Cat Demo
Salford Anti-Fat Cat Demo
click image to enlarge

Outside Salford Civic Centre this morning, the Salford Star tried hard to question councillors and Assistant Mayors about whether they would be voting to approve the appointment of a Fat Cat £150,000 Head of Paid Services, and, if so, how they could justify it in the midst of £24.5million cuts and 300 jobs being axed

Virtually all them declined to comment. Former Council Leader, John Merry was saying nothing; Councillor John Warmisham replied `There's nothing to say'; Assistant Mayor Stephen Coen said `I'm declining to partake in an answer just now'; Assistant Mayor Peter Connor legged it, as did Deputy Mayor David Lancaster.

Lisa Stone, Assistant Mayor for Communication, was also strangely coy, saying she would vote for the recommendation but refused to justify why a £150,000 Fat Cat was being taken on in the midst of horrendous cuts… `But you're the Communications Mayor' we implored `Surely you'd like to communicate your reasons for the Fat Cat appointment?' Silence.

Meanwhile, Councillor Joe Murphy did respond to the question… "We need the best we can get to extract out of this Coalition Government the best we can to protect our services and protect our workers".

All around Councillor Murphy, however, Salford Council staff didn't quite see it like that as members of UNISON and Unite, carrying placards reading `No More Council Fat Cats' shouted `Shame on you…Shame on you…'

Dave Gorton, UNISON member in the leaving care project, told the Star that he couldn't comment on the Fat Cat appointment because "I might swear". He did, however, spell out how the cuts will affect the vulnerable young people he works with…

"When they leave care they have workers who support them in a transition to moving into their own place but the Council is proposing to cut every single one of those jobs" he explained "We struggle as it is to try and keep care leavers in employment and in accommodation, so we know that this cost cutting is going to cause major problems and we're going to see more and more young people failing because the service is not there to support them through a very, very difficult period in their lives."

So whose fault is it – the Tory led Government or the Mayor of Salford?

"It's the Tories but also the Mayor as well" he said "Are we supposed to just sit back and say `It's the Tories?' No. The Mayor is the one who is making that decision and we have to direct it at the Mayor, who has to understand that the vulnerable people in Salford are the ones who are getting targeted all the time."

His sentiments were underlined by welfare advice worker, Steve Quinn, who told the crowd of trade unionists, anti-frackers and community activists that union members in his department had asked to be consulted on industrial action…

"We have lots of vulnerable people who need assistance, advice is something citizens need and the proposals being made will devastate those services, particularly in areas like supported housing" he said "Our jobs are important but these are crucial services for Salford. If the Council isn't willing to defend them, we will."

Indeed, Salford City UNISON branch secretary, Steve North, told the demonstrators that "If we are threatened with compulsory redundancies and attacks on our terms and conditions we will be looking to take strike action because, while people may say `Well a day or two days strike action will have a detrimental affect on services' that will be nothing compared to getting rid of those services completely, which is what this Council is proposing to do in many areas."

Dave Thornley, the parent of a disabled child, spoke from the heart about how the £150,000 being spent on the Fat Cat would keep the short term respite facility at The Grange open for four months, rather than closing it and pushing 14 year old children in with adults at Granville…

"If this Council were to put mainstream children in with adults, World War Three would break out" he said "All this Council wants to do is make cuts and make more cuts. I have a 15 year old disabled child who this council doesn't seem to want to support any more."

Ameen Hadi, from Salford City UNISON, compared Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart to David Cameron
 
"None of us is going to benefit from Peel Holdings or the BBC in Salford" he said "Unfortunately Ian Stewart is playing the same game as David Cameron is playing – he's chasing the rich and powerful and not worrying what happens to the poor, the vulnerable in society. We have a duty as a union and a community to say `Enough is enough'.

"We will organise, we will fight back and make sure that actually our voice is heard" he added "If Ian Stewart isn't willing to fight against the Government or multi national corporations we are willing to do so. In the meantime we're here to today to tell them they should not employ a chief exec on £150,000."

Inside the full Council meeting, the Labour councillors and Assistant Mayors, to a background sound from the public gallery of catcalls, hisses and `shame on you', duly voted to appoint a new Fat Cat Head of Paid Services on a salary up to £150,000, with, ironically, the Tory councillors voting against.

And, for `good measure', the Council also voted to increase payments that the very poorest people in Salford have to make towards their Council Tax from 8.5% to 12.5%.

It all left the anti-fracking contingent from the Barton Moss Community Protection Camp absolutely baffled, asking the Salford Star reporter whether the Mayor was actually Labour or Conservative.

The Barton Moss contingent had come down to the Civic Centre to show solidarity with the anti-Fat Cat demonstration and also to raise awareness of their own campaign against the IGas exploratory drilling site.

"We're here to raise awareness against the dangers of fracking and at the same time to support other groups who are fighting back" said Boris, who had slept in a tent on the Civic Centre lawn the previous night "It was brilliant, lots of local residents came and supported me with coffee and food, it was amazing. We'll be back."

...And so will the Council staff, who have called an even bigger demonstration when Salford Council next meets to approve its budget on 26th February.

Andy wrote
at 11:33:03 on 19 January 2014
More proof that local government is nothing but an excuse for career bullshitters to stuff their pockets with taxpayer's money . P.S. Bill - which clowncillor are you ?
 
bill wrote
at 10:23:54 on 19 January 2014
Im disgusted at the comments re salford council. A lot of our bloody lazy shit ass residents could do with wising up to what life is about. the white people of Salford who moan like this deserve to be shot. Fingers crossed eh
 
Do they Care wrote
at 14:04:01 on 18 January 2014
Living proof. Good on you and well said
 
Andy wrote
at 16:14:13 on 17 January 2014
How dare Salford Clowncillors squander another £150,000 of OUR MONEY on another replacement bullshitter . Salford Clowncil are beneath contempt
 
Michael Felse wrote
at 16:13:09 on 17 January 2014
I trust our Mayor Ian has put Salford forward for the £4million MayorsChanllenge fund (see link below). The closing date end of January 2014. Salford could well use £4million. http://mayorschallenge.bloomberg.org/index.cfm?objectid=E689D722-06DF-6D24-56726E44740068B5
 
Living proof wrote
at 07:20:19 on 17 January 2014
I am living proof that these service are not only necessary but save lives, I'm ashamed to say that I was a drain on public resources for a long time, I have been in and out of jail for over 20 years, committing petty crime to feed my addiction. To cut a long story short for over twenty years I committed a crime, been arrested, gone to jail, been released from jail, gone through the homeless process, placed in hostels, been admitted to mental hospitals, come out and started the whole journey again, more times than I can remember. The last time I was released I was given a worker from one of the services that is being cut. I was helped to find a flat, get furniture for my flat, helped to apply for benefits, taught me to budget, registered me with a doctor and referred me to a drug and alcohol team. I am proud to say that for the last three years since I have had my flat, I have stayed out of trouble and having a safe secure home has meant I've been able to addressing my addictions, when before I used to get "out of it" to escape from the hell my life was) For the first time in twenty years I have a home I wouldn't do anything to risk loosing, I haven't needed to be admitted to hospital because I have a doctor that I can go to when I feel things are getting out of control. I know without the support of this service, I'd still be trapped in that same cycle or worse dead!
 
P#ssed off council tax payer! wrote
at 07:20:08 on 17 January 2014
So the mayor Ian Stewart has gone back on his word to "protect the most vulnerable residents of this city" by cutting services who provide this vital support. Yet at the same time can find £150, 000 to pay a new council manager to "get them through the next three years of massive cuts"! If this new manager is so desperately needed then it's obvious the mayor and his dozen assistant mayors are "not up to the job" so they should resign or better still, get sacked. The money saved by doing this would probably pay for vital services to continue for years. Someone voted this idiot in, let's vote to get him out!
 
alan davies wrote
at 08:16:49 on 16 January 2014
I voted for the despicable mayor,boy did he sell us down the river..
 
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