Budget proposals released by the council

Details of the council’s budget proposals for 2013/14 are announced

David Pugh

Ahead of the Cabinet meeting on 12th February, this in from the council, in their own words. Ed


Isle of Wight Council budget proposals released today (Friday 1 February) outline how the authority will seek to boost the local economy, at the same as helping Island families meet the rising cost of living.

The budget papers, to be discussed by Cabinet on 12 February, provide details on a number of initiatives under the themes Helping Island Households and Supporting the Local Economy, along with a range of other steps to ensure the Council reduces its own running and management costs.

“The overriding principle for our budget process is to ensure that council’s limited resources are used as effectively as possible to deliver services to our Island community,” said Isle of Wight Council leader councillor David Pugh.

“By operating the council efficiently we can release public funds to support the local economy through a range of initiatives, whilst also helping Island residents who are affected by the rising cost of living.”

Budget proposals include
Under the theme of Helping Island Households, the budget proposals include:

  • freezing council tax for the third year running and the option of spreading payments over 12 months;
  • keeping parking charges at the same level for the fifth year running;
  • using grant funding of almost £450,000 to address fuel poverty and help householders reduce their energy bills;
  • pledging to introduce additional schemes to help Island residents onto the housing ladder;
  • establishing a hardship fund of nearly £350,000 to provide residents with emergency financial assistance.

The council is also proposing an additional £60,000 of local funds to support the innovative community bus scheme over the next financial year.

Proposed initiatives to boost the local economy include:

  • allocating £300,000 to continue with the award-winning pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship schemes, including expanding these opportunities into new employment sectors and for residents with learning and physical disabilities;
  • staging another Careers and Jobs Fair, following a successful inaugural event in November 2012;
  • an ongoing commitment to deliver Superfast Broadband across the Island, with £3m of Council investment, to establish our community as a major growth area for the digital economy;
  • continuing support for the Council’s ambitious plan to establish a Solent Ocean Energy Centre – a testing and demonstration facility for tidal power – off St Catherine’s Point with the potential to create renewable energy and up to 600 jobs in the Solent region.

Extra money for child safeguarding
The budget also proposes that investment in adult social care is increased by £8.7m over the next three years and an additional £475,000 is made available to help improve child safeguarding and improve services for vulnerable children.

This investment is proposed against the backdrop of the council needing to deliver £7 million of savings during the next financial year because of a reduction in government funding and an increased cost in providing local services. Among efficiency measures being proposed are further back office and management savings, including a proposal to delete the post of chief executive in light of the imminent retirement of the current postholder.

Top tier of senior management reduced to three posts
It is recommended that the statutory responsibilities of the Head of Paid Service would be allocated to one of the existing directors alongside their service responsibilities, thereby reducing the top tier of senior management from four to three posts.

The current chief executive Steve Beynon – who had already announced his intention to retire this year – will leave at the end of the current financial year, when the post will be made redundant, in order to give a full-year saving in 2013/14. It is proposed that the Head of Paid Service responsibilities are undertaken on an interim basis by the strategic director for resources until a permanent appointment is finalised in May.

“The council must continue to reduce its running costs”
Councillor Pugh said: “In what remain difficult financial times, the council must continue to reduce its running costs in order to release as much money as possible for its priorities. This means looking throughout the organisation – from top to bottom – for savings.

“Making the post of chief executive redundant not only yields a significant saving but also demonstrates that we can radically reshape the local authority in light of the continuing changes to local government. The leaner we are in terms of our operating expenditure means that more investment can be made available to support the economy and to protect our most vulnerable residents.

“I consider that this proposed budget is both prudent and realistic. It is one that offers real support to the Island’s economy and also to individual families by helping them to meet the cost of living in what are testing times.”


Wightfibre sponsors the Isle of Wight News by OnTheWight

Friday, 1st February, 2013 11:49am

By

ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2atv

Filed under: Budget Cuts, Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Top story

Print Friendly

.



16 Comments

  1. DH's comment is rated +14 Vote +1 Vote -1

    1.Feb.2013 4:21pm

    I have a couple of suggestions.

    Free parking in all Isle of Wight Council Car Parks all day on Sundays to promote towns and shops. Many councils on the North Island don’t charge for parking on Sundays.

    Re-introduce a reasonably priced parking permit for residents.

    A minimal increase on Council Tax of 1% each year. There’s no point in promising no increases if you’re just cutting services.

    Invest your budget of delivering Broadband using local Island companies such as WightFibre rather than lining the pockets of BT.

    Bus passes for those over 65 should be means tested rather than handing them out regardless of circumstances.

    Wightlink to contribute £1 for each car they bring to the Island to be invested in the local economy especially in tourism to tidy up some towns. They charge me £1 each time to use our/their pier at Ryde so this is only fair. :)

    Open tourism centres again. Work with the College or others such as HTP to employ bright young staff who wish to work towards a travel and tourism qualification.

    Reply
    • Jake_Gully's comment is rated +9 Vote +1 Vote -1

      1.Feb.2013 5:32pm

      I’ll vote for DH’s budget proposals.

      I would also like to add 1hrs free high steet parking and reduce business rates for small to medium sized shops. Anything that might halt the decline of our high streets.

      Reply
    • pallance's comment is rated -1 Vote +1 Vote -1

      2.Feb.2013 10:39pm

      Unfortunately DH, I don’t think WightFibre has the resources or staff to replace BT, but all your idea’s are spot on.

      Reply
  2. Don Smith's comment is rated +2 Vote +1 Vote -1

    1.Feb.2013 7:23pm

    But up North they have Socialist councils, which apart
    from free parking on certain days of the week, give free swimming to OAP.

    I swim everyday, and on some lunchtime sessions the number of swimmers can be counted on one hand. It would cost no extra to give free swimming to the OAP.

    This would help to keep the old dears from occupying hospital beds and placing less strain on other NHS services.

    Keep active, keep fit!

    Reply
    • tryme's comment is rated -1 Vote +1 Vote -1

      2.Feb.2013 9:58am

      I didn’t know whether to plus or minus this one Don! (So I did neither). Agreed with the sentiments entirely till the reference to “old dears”. Whether or not you consider yourself to be one, it can come across as a patronising (at best) reference about other people….

      Reply
  3. pallance's comment is rated +10 Vote +1 Vote -1

    2.Feb.2013 10:37pm

    I hope that the Council will publish what the cost of Mr Beynons ‘retirement’ will be to the taxpayer. So he should get no redundancy payment, as he is retiring and the post is not being made redundant until after he has gone. I propose that March 31st becomes an Isle of Wight annual public holiday to celebrate the man that £$”&ed up Education and children’s services. [But i suppose he is also happy ‘no children died’ on his watch] Wasn’t that lucky!

    Reply
    • septua's comment is rated -3 Vote +1 Vote -1

      4.Feb.2013 6:46pm

      It depends on whether he has been made redundant and is going for that reason, in which case he is entitled to a redundancy payment, or was going anyway and following his departure he will not be replaced, which is surely not a redundancy per se and no payment is due.

      Reply
  4. prewitt parrot's comment is rated -1 Vote +1 Vote -1

    3.Feb.2013 6:50pm

    The figures given are dwarfed by the £3m commitment to deliver Superfast Broadband across the Island, to supposedly establish our community as a major growth area for the digital economy.

    Simple question, why spend so much speeding up broadband when what we already have obviously suffices or you wouldn’t be able to read this?

    Reply
    • prewitt parrot's comment is rated +5 Vote +1 Vote -1

      3.Feb.2013 7:14pm

      Mobile phone ownership is so widespread the majority of us wouldn’t even bother having a landline other than for broadband. We pay BT, one way or another, £15 a month to have this wire connected to our houses, plus another whack to the ISP. So why is it that an Island with a population under 150,000 have to pay these profit making companies £3m in order to upgrade their systems to enable them to can continue fleecing us? Why aren’t they paying for this themselves out of their profits if its necessary? And why aren’t the private companies who demand high speed broadband to continue making profits out of us also paying for this themselves?

      Reply
      • tryme's comment is rated +2 Vote +1 Vote -1

        3.Feb.2013 7:39pm

        I hadn’t thought of it that way, pp. In what other field is a product improved in order to make it more attractive, & the whole locality, not just people who want to use it, has to pay for it.

        Reply
      • wightywight's comment is rated +2 Vote +1 Vote -1

        4.Feb.2013 7:21am

        @prewitt parrot:

        The scheme has little to do with the actual BT roll out across the entire country. When I say “entire” …I mean the towns, cities and built up areas.
        BT are paying for the connections in the Major towns on the Island and Exchanges have already been(or are in the process of being) upgraded.
        The scheme for high speed broadband in rural areas is a central government initiative (BDUK) that matches funding for the costs involved. Loosely, it is a scheme to provide this to more than 90% of premises in the UK. Thus, the ‘costs’ of £3M are for the IOW Council to find and the other £3M comes as a central government grant. It is for rural areas almost entirely …therefore NOT places such as Cowes, Newport, Ryde, Sandown, Shanklin, Ventnor etc. which will have the provision whatever the IOW Council did, or didn’t do.
        The Chamber and others, along with the Council got right behind this for reasons I cannot fully understand. There’s a time limit of 2015 on the grant, that’s one thing but it’s not clear exactly who this is going to really benefit. Or, more importantly, how many it is going to benefit!
        The survey the Council carried out was not widely supported whatsoever and was not conclusive that people wanted this. [The original announcement of the £3M spend was December 2011.] Which is curious isn’t it? This amount MUST have been entered into last years budget as well!!
        The reality of this is glaringly obvious. It’s a scheme that will benefit very few people and even fewer businesses. It is somewhat of a luxury and under normal circumstances might be something that would be good to have. In the present economic climate where this Council have cut severely so many services and jobs, where they have cut £3M from front line adult social care to the most elderly vulnerable people …yet can find £3M for this little *luxury* that will benefit few people…one can level once again the complaint that this administration do NOT listen to the population (results of their survey) and continue to make questionably wrong decisions. I was told (private correspondence) by Brown that I had it wrong as the £3M was coming from Capital Investment and not the income account!
        Pedantics..? Obfuscation..? creative accounting…? You pays your money and you takes your choice…. moving Council funds about then paying from different accounts somehow doesn’t cut it for me. Superfast Broadband would be great ( I suppose…) but NOT at the very moment we are having these austerity cuts and closures in the volumes we are. £3M would pay for something far more important than a few people/businesses (?)in rural areas getting fast broadband…..

        WW

        Reply
        • prewitt parrot's comment is rated +4 Vote +1 Vote -1

          4.Feb.2013 7:45am

          Thanks for the information, very interesting, it sounds like the old story of the Tories robbing the poor to benefit the rich.

          Reply
    • septua's comment is rated +2 Vote +1 Vote -1

      4.Feb.2013 7:19pm

      You must be joking! Here in Shanklin I can go and make a cup of tea whilst waiting for ‘On the Wight’ pages to load, and this is the same for any websites with lots of graphics or advertising; I live only a few hundred yards from the telephone exchange, and I dream of the day superfast or even just fast broadband becomes available.

      Reply
  5. prewitt parrot's comment is rated +2 Vote +1 Vote -1

    4.Feb.2013 8:22am

    So with a quarter of the Islands children living in poverty the Council are cutting £3m from the social care budget of the elderly and vulnerable in order to upgrade BT’s profit making infrastructure so that those in rural communities can download HD video faster. I fail to see what other benefits there are from this.
    That amounts to every man, woman and child on the Island paying £20 to fund this ‘benefit’.

    Reply
    • wightywight's comment is rated +1 Vote +1 Vote -1

      4.Feb.2013 10:40am

      The Council cut £3M (from FRONTLINE adult social care) in one year ended December 2011…..
      The ‘official’ line from the Council and from the Chamber is that the Island needs to be able to compete with the mainland on Internet access (amongst other things) to attract business…!
      As I said, the mainly populated areas of the Island are getting this WHATEVER the Council choose because BT are unilaterally (well, let’s not forget they have the central government bankrolling some of it)installing the infrastructure for high(er) speed internet, namely fibre cabling. The point is, the largely main areas of the Island that are not *rural* are getting this come what may. It is nothing to do with the £3M the Council are ‘investing’ from Capital deposits at all.
      It’s not, as you correctly deduce, much to do with providing this facility to a relatively small amount of people – even smaller number of businesses – for not very good reasons ..it’s about making sure that rural areas of the Island can offer fast broadband in the remote possibility it is a factor in companies either starting up in rural areas (is that such a great idea?) or coming to rural areas to start or continue their business (is that such a great idea also?)
      What sort of businesses are going to be operating from a rural location on the Isle of Wight…? and why should they choose firstly a rural location for a business and secondly rural Isle of Wight..? It just doesn’t stack up frankly… as you rightly point out this is the majority paying for a very small minority. My real objection (it’s not against having really fast broadband though one hardly will notice it for the most part) and it’s not even the way it is funded for the minority (we could see how that works for other Council funded projects that are carried out but for which the majority do not access them…)it is simply this: How on earth can we be told the cuts are inevitable, the cuts are savage and far reaching, destroying some of our community services and closing libraries, selling off the family silver and much more…to just write a cheque for £3M for an absolute luxury that is not even clear who it will benefit. The idea is ok…the timing is just plainly wrong. As I said, it’s another example of how inept this administration really is, how incompetent they are when taking these decisions in Council. And, there’s more cuts on the way! What a joke.

      WW

      Reply
    • No.5's comment is rated +1 Vote +1 Vote -1

      4.Feb.2013 7:26pm

      well they wont have the money from the roads budget they didnt spend any year they have been in power to shore up adult social care so that has to go…..next service to be sold off

      Reply

Add comment

Login to your account.
If you do not have an account, reserve your own name and receive exclusive special offers - just sign up for an On The Wight account

.