The Independent exposes the real cost of Tory Councils

May 5, 2010 at 8:54 am | Posted in London | Comments Off on The Independent exposes the real cost of Tory Councils
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Great article in The Independent today exposing the real cost of Tory councils.  The actions of Tories in Hammersmith & Fulham has been well-documented but Johann Hari gives a brilliant account of the human cost of ‘progressive Conservatism’.

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Cuts in Oxfordshire

April 26, 2010 at 4:52 pm | Posted in South East | Comments Off on Cuts in Oxfordshire
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Tory-run Oxfordshire Council has announced cuts of £106million over the next 5 years, affecting youth projects and young people.

The cuts include:

  • Four Fire Service Cadet Schemes to be axed
  • Start up funds for youth group projects axed
  • Home to School transport scheme to be cut, increasing fares for pupils
  • Four outdoor education centres which provide lessons for over 40 schools must become self-financing or will be axed
  • Wardens in sheltered accommodation axed
  • 15,000 street lights to be switched off overnight
  • Residents parking permits to rise by 25% and more streets included in the scheme

Councillor Liz Brighouse, Leader of the Labour Group, Oxfordshire County Council

Tory-run Brighton slashes investment in young people

April 26, 2010 at 1:10 pm | Posted in South East | Comments Off on Tory-run Brighton slashes investment in young people
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David Cameron says,

“Before people break the law, we need strong families, we need youth clubs, we need things to divert people away from crime, strong schools.”

Yet Tory-run Brighton and Hove Council has slashed investment in young people in its budget for 2010-11.

The Government is giving Brighton £1.1 million funding to fund its Sure Start programme.  But Brighton Council is taking £600,000 of that money to plug the holes in its budget instead of spending it on giving local children the best possible start in life.

Brighton Connexions provides a one-stop-shop of information and advice on careers, training, health and housing for 13-19 year olds.  This will face a cut of £200,000 in the Tory budget for 2010/11.

Brighton Council are also cutting £126,000 from youth offending services.

Information from Councillor Gill Mitchell, Labour Leader, Brighton and Hove Council

Swindon Tories slash budgets and raise charges

April 25, 2010 at 2:41 pm | Posted in South East | Comments Off on Swindon Tories slash budgets and raise charges
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Philip Hammond, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, says the Tories will,

“Deliver the intelligent cuts that are needed to protect and secure our frontline public services for our children.”

But the Tories running Swindon council have axed:

  • 77,000 from Shopmobility
  • £56,000 from Community Meals
  • £45,000 from Enterprise Works, a local business that employs mentally and physically disabled people and is subsidised by the council
  • £25,000 from teenage pregnancy support
  • 10% of the youth services budget
  • Bus services to outlying villages
  • Street lights at night to save money

They have increased charges by:

  • Up to 68% on the weekly rental charge for residential homes for the elderly
  • 23% for Meals on Wheels

They also proposed cutting £50,000 from the local Dial-A-Ride service.

This is an example of the Tories saying one thing locally and another nationally.

Charges for the disabled in Cheshire West

April 24, 2010 at 2:29 pm | Posted in North West | Comments Off on Charges for the disabled in Cheshire West
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Tory Cheshire West and Chester Council  is introducing a charge for processing applications for the Disabled Facilities Grant, a local council grant to help towards adapting the homes of disabled people to allow continued independent living.

Unfair in Southampton

April 22, 2010 at 10:20 pm | Posted in South East | Comments Off on Unfair in Southampton
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While any council can take up the Labour’s Government’s plan for free
swimming, many Tory Councils have refused, leaving pensioners and young families to pay.

The philosophy was set out by the Tory Leader of Southampton Council, Alec
Samuels:

“We do not in principle favour ‘free this and free that’, such as swimming or transport, school meals or computers or whatever it is.”

Cuts and financial u-turns in Nottinghamshire

April 22, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Posted in Midlands | Comments Off on Cuts and financial u-turns in Nottinghamshire
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Tory-run Nottinghamshire Council cuts has passed £28.7million cuts.  The council was previously forced to reverse £4.6 million of their proposed £33.3million cuts.

Over 30,000 local residents responded to their consultation, of which only 24 supported their cutback proposals.

The cuts will include:

  • £800,000 slashed from residential care homes
  • Meals on wheels – currently cost £2.35 a meal will cost £3.95 by April 2011
  • £150,000 slashed from Welfare Rights
  • Sale of residential care homes –  the sale of the council’s 13 residential care homes has been confirmed
  • Cancellation of concessionary fares for elderly & disabled people and their carers cancelled before 9.30am

This is another example of the Tories saying and doing another when on the Conservative website, they say,

“We need to help those elderly people who are amongst the most vulnerable in our society.”

but are pushing through cuts to the most vulnerable.

Left Foot Forward have also been following this latest example of a Tory council saying one thing and then doing another.

Unison (East Midlands) have been campaigning against the cuts and provided Nottinghamshire County Council with an alternative plan.

Norfolk Tories propose shutting day centres for the elderly

April 22, 2010 at 3:06 pm | Posted in South East | Comments Off on Norfolk Tories propose shutting day centres for the elderly
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The Conservative website says,

“We need to help those elderly people who are amongst the most vulnerable in our society”.

Tory-run Norfolk Council are proposing to close two day centres for older people in the face of  local opposition.  The closure of the Essex and Silver Room centres will reduce the number of day services places by 300. At the current occupancy rate this will displace up to 188 people from their current day centres.

Unacceptable art dealing by Southampton Tories

April 22, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Posted in South East | Comments Off on Unacceptable art dealing by Southampton Tories
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The Tories say they are,

“Committed to fostering an environment in which sport, the arts, and the creative industries can flourish.”

But in Tory-run Southampton, the Council has been found by The Charity Commission to have acted in an unacceptable manner in an attempt to sell off art from the city’s collection.

The Council were looking to sell a sculpture by Rodin and a painting by Munnings from the city’s Chipperfield Bequest.

This is a fund set up by former Southampton city councillor Robert Chipperfield and funds art for public use.  Southampton has the largest public art collection outside of London.

Any sale of art from this collection must be used for the purchase of more art or provide support to the collection. The sale of art is legal but instead of looking to buy more art with the proceeds from an art gallery or at an auction, the Tory administration proposed to “buy” art the City Council already owns in other parts of the overall art collection, but outside the direct ownership of the Chipperfield Bequest.

Once done the money “raised” by the selling of art to itself would allow the Tories to use the proceeds on other things that are not constrained by the Chipperfield Bequests terms and conditions.

Local MP, Alan Whitehead, with long experience in local government finance, has criticised the council’s actions,

“’Self dealing,’ which is the term for this sort of action is very questionable indeed when undertaken by Councils and needs the support of the Attorney General for it to be allowed. It seems very questionable indeed.”

The Charity Commission found that the decisions Tory-run Southampton City Council had taken over the sale of the paintings were,

“Not acceptable due to the conflicts of interest.”

Information provided by Councillor Richard Williams, Leader of the Labour Group, Southampton City Council.

Cuts in Wolverhampton target the elderly and the vulnerable

April 22, 2010 at 7:48 am | Posted in Midlands | Comments Off on Cuts in Wolverhampton target the elderly and the vulnerable
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The Tory/Lib Dem leadership of Wolverhampton Council has passed a budget taking a decision to go for full cost recovery for all but the most basic of public services.  This is hitting families and vulnerable people with charges they can’t afford for services they need.

In September 2009, Wolverhampton Council proposed a new round of £7.6 million spending cuts on top of the £14.3 million they had already proposed in February 2009.

The cuts and hike in charges include:

• Hot meal charges for the elderly to be raised by a whopping 83% in total

• Cremation fees will rise 6%, internment fees by 5% and grave lease fees by 50%.

• Cuts of £300K in the Youth Service and £46k in community play.

• Closure of the Visitor Information Centre in Queens Square.

• Cuts of £200K in grants to Voluntary Sector Neighbourhood and Community Safety.

• Reduction in opening hours of Anchor Lane and Shaw Road Civic Amenity sites.

• Merry Hill and Langley Court Day Centres for the elderly to be closed.

• Blakenhall Resource Centre, a respite centre for older people with mental health needs, to be privatised.

Information provided by Councillor Roger Lawrence, Leader of the Labour Group, Wolverhampton Council

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