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Ealing and Northfield

The rubber hits the road

Tomorrow the rubber hits the road. At national and local levels the unwinding of Labour’s huge spending splurge starts to bite. It will be painful. No-one is enjoying it.

As someone who has felt that government spending has grown too fast throughout most of the last ten years I am relieved that the coalition has faced up to the deficit, the rate of increase of our debt. It was unsustainable.

As a Conservative I cannot escape some share of the responsibility for what happens locally. But, if our government grant and local spending are only pegged back to levels seen as recently as 2007 or 2008 it will not be the end of the world.

Our council, the administration, the Labour group, the people in charge now, need to take responsibility for the out-turn. Although they have seen a 28% cut in their main grant this is only some 5% of the overall revenue expenditure of the council which was £1,031 million in 2009/10.

Labour has chosen to make sure the cuts hurt. This is a political decision. The graph below shows how Labour consciously decided to target some high profile services to drive home their point.

I have shown how Labour does not have the foresight, the skills or the will to think through and confront issues such as organisational change, senior management costs, staff terms and conditions and shared services.

On the capital side of the budget where Labour has some room for manoeuvre, albeit limited by schools spending, it has made the wrong choice every time. £5.5 million for a car park whilst road spending is reduced and libraries and day centres are closed and the parks are left to lie fallow. The biggest area of spending after schools is the £16.3 million that the council will spend on itself.

In making this budget Labour has demonstrated that its priorities are wrong. The council itself, its senior managers and its staff are put before residents.

2 replies on “The rubber hits the road”

Hi Phil,

Your graph is very interesting. I am not sure it is entiely fair though. I notice you miss of many other priorities such as childrens centres (100% protected), or indeed the amount of money saved in total terms (the amount saved by heads of service is more than double that of park rangers for instance).

Do you think it is entirely representative?

Kind Regards

Neil

Neil,

You should be aware that the Sure Start budget comes directly from government and was protected by the Coalition government in cash terms. The ring fence was removed though so some councils have decided they have more pressing priorities. It is called localism I think. In Ealing the Labour group decided to spend the Sure Start money that was protected on children’s centres. Fair enough. But Ealing Labour’s claim of virtue is weak to say the least. They can no more say they saved Ealing’s childrens’ centres than the Tories can, or the LibDems for that matter. So we all did! Hooray! Sometimes we can work together.

On service heads you are 40% right, but so wrong. The total cost of our 77 service heads is £6.8 million so if 7 out of 77 have gone this is a saving of £620K. According to the budget papers the ranger cut is worth £433K. So the service head cut is worth 1.4 times the ranger cut. But the ranger cut was a 52% cut of a frontline service and the manager cut was a 9% cut that leaves a daft, siloed structure in place.

My picture does not seek to be representative. It seeks to juxtapose some services that Labour does not want to cut with some that it does. Some of Labour’s cuts are designed to inflict pain.

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