6 February 2016
Southampton Green Party questions whether the City's residents can be happy with
the continual cuts to services and staff cuts due to consistently poor financial settlements from National Government. The truth is that since 2008 when a local Tory administration announced proposals of £8m cuts and savings and boasted the lowest council tax rise in the history of the unitary authority, Southampton has had year in year out further cuts.
National Picture for local government financing.
The final budget proposals for 2016 - 2017 include extracting £4m from council reserves. Southampton's financial situation is more than alarming and the proposed cull of almost two hundred jobs will have an effect on many local families having to experience a redundancy.
Last year was grim enough, however the money was found and £2.2m were put into reserves. This was not enough to protect all our services and at least the City continued without having to call a referendum by increasing council tax above the permitted 2% threshold. There is now a precept allowing for an aditional 2% increase solely for social care. The referendum threshold is now in effect be up to 4%.
All across the country councils are being stretched and don’t have enough money to provide basic services and even in his home constituency local council leaders are telling the Prime Minister they cannot meet his targets because they don’t have the money. Last year the Chancellor and Prime Minister have come up with an innovative solution to this problem, selling off unused council owned buildings and land. Like other great Tory sell-offs; Royal Mail, the lucrative parts of Building Societies and banks bought with taxpayers money and all of them undersold so as to incentivise market trading- it is a one time solution.
Kieren Brown local Green Party candidate for Portswood, May 2016 has declared,
“This City budget still falls short of the savings the council needs to make in order to balance the many areas of local council spending absolutely vital for the people of Southampton, such as social care and children services. Further cuts to council budgets puts these at serious risk, thankfully the council has implemented measures to protect social services but no such protections have been given to children’s services where substantial savings are proposed. Until the council is prepared to implement a 10:1 pay ratio they should disregard thoughts of policies such as changing disabled on street parking bays into pay and display, and put people first.”
Kieren also remarked on the new regulations governing local councils,
“The old Woolston School now up for housing development is a good example of making plans for the future, but now capital raised from assets can be used to fund services we may see some rather desperate attempts to put council land, buildings and artwork in the shop window as a revenue raising exercise.”
Follow us on Facebook
Sign up for updates