Alternative Budget Suggests Senior Council Officer Pay Cuts (UPDATED)

Cuts in senior officer salaries could help save other vital services, say opposition councillors

Alternative Budget Suggests Senior Council Officer Pay CutsA combination of opposition Isle of Wight councillors have released a budget as an alternative to the one proposed by the current ruling Conservative council.

Their suggestions are wide ranging, including what they call “a novel suggestion that high-earning Council managers set a ‘we are all in this together’ austerity example by giving up 15% of all earnings above £90,000 pa – potentially raising more than £150k.”

Proposed alternative reductions
While still proposing a 2.5% increase in Council Tax next year, their plan seeks to save nearly £3m by reducing spending on the following areas (in their words)

  • areas that bring little benefit to Islanders, such as media communications and performance measurement;
  • excessive carbon emissions;
  • wasted energy usage for some street lighting;
  • over ambitious capital programmes that are never delivered;
  • services duplication in the ENO scheme, whilst replacing it with a better-focused community warden scheme;
  • loss-making harbour and leisure operations;
  • over-provision for so-called ‘doubtful debts’;

What would be saved
Those behind the Alternative Budget say the outcome of this is that many of the cuts proposed by the Conservatives, including areas affecting vulnerable people would be saved. They list them as …

  • keeping Westminster House open;
  • putting £1million back into Supporting People, which with the £1.9m still to be properly used for this service rather than other services restores the Cabinet proposed cut entirely;
  • reversing over £0.5million of the cuts to budgets for vulnerable and homeless people;
  • cushioning the Council’s withdrawl from care facilities like Haylands Farm, Osel and the Riverside and Medina Centres;
  • reducing the residents car park permit increase to £50 pa less than the leadership proposes, with pensioners still entitled to a £50 permit;
  • reinstating the youth music service subsidy;
  • recognising that financial support to unions cannot credibly be cut;
  • reinstating a budget for public realm works;
  • and restoring capacity to the Highways service.

Who’s behind it?
It’s a combination of Independent councillors and Labour. Cllr Geoff Lumley (lab) has for five years presented an alternative budget. This year he’s worked with the Independent councillors, lead by Cllr Stephens with the assistance of Cllrs Bacon, Churchman, Welsford, and Whittle.

Both of the main proponents have put out statements …

Cllr Lumley said, “Although I was intending to do this Alternative Budget on my own I am pleased that a number of independent councillors, and particularly Ian Stephens were keen to be involved. Ian has been a real support. Consequently we have a proposal that addresses a very wide range of spending areas. This is a budget alternative that addresses climate change issues more robustly, as well as redirecting bureaucratic expenditure towards services for vulnerable people. That is what many Islanders want and I hope that this alternative will command wide support in the community if not the Council Chamber. I would have liked to do more, but the mess the Council’s finances are in after the last 5 years will take some time to tackle. ”

Councillor Ian Stephens: ‘Hammering services and staffing levels can only be done for so long and I believe that the ‘Alternative Budget’ gives a new focus on the Eco Island, and Carbon Reduction Commitment where real savings can be made.. Whilst holding Isle of Wight Council Tax to 2.5%, we have kept the Housing, Homeless and those in need, to the fore throughout our recommendations. We have endeavoured to keep a good level of support to stakeholders, partners and clients and this will allow services to evolve during periods of change and recession. We have, managed to keep ‘No increase for Pensioners Parking’ that will lessen the impact of recession on the elderly. I feel we, in the Isle of Wight Council, need to address our own shortcomings with regard to not retrieving money owed to us, and running services at a loss”¦..the hard pressed Isle of Wight tax payer deserves better’

Councillor Jonathan Bacon said, “Since the leadership’s original proposals were made public for the first time on 1st February, the concern and distress that many of the proposed cuts has generated has been very clear. Exacerbated by a lack of proper consultation prior to their publication and an apparent disregard for the vulnerable and elderly, the proposals have met almost universal opposition. The alternative budget shows that far more appropriate steps can be taken to deal with the current financial difficulties which avoid removing support and care from those most in need of it. I hope that common sense will prevail and that the budget that is eventually adopted will be one to benefit the Island and Islanders”.

Full details of the proposed budget to follow.

ISLE OF WIGHT COUNCIL
BUDGET MEETING – 24 FEBRUARY 2010
AN ALTERNATIVE BUDGET PROPOSAL
– EXCLUDING DEDICATED SCHOOLS GRANT



£000
Base Budget 131,989


Pension Fund Increases 450
Adjustments in 2009/10 Base 511
Adjusted Base Budget 132,950


Add:
Inflation 1,550
Capital Financing Costs 1,360
Fire Model for Change 300
Highways PFI Preliminary Costs 981
Landfill Tax Increase 320
CRC Energy Efficiency and Renewables 80
Identified Service Pressures per budget proposal 6,533
Other Costs – Net – per budget proposal 320


Deduct:
Savings delivered through Service Savings
and Delivering Better Services – excluding
Fire and Schools – per budget proposal -11,029
Identified savings adjustments per budget proposal -247
Further cost reductions per budget proposal -654


Service Reductions from Current Budget:
Reduce Capital Programme by £10m
– borrowing costs year 1 -400
Review and Reduce Communications Budget -500
Review and Reduce Performance Budget -250
Abandon Environment &
Neighbourhood Officers scheme -404


Additional Savings Identified:
Reduction in salaries above £90k – 15% exemplar -163
Smart’ Reductions in Street Lighting times -250
Leisure Facilities – reduce trading deficit -50
Harbour Facilities – reduce trading deficit -57


Carbon Emissions:
Additional Revenue Costs to Support Reduction
in Carbon Emissions – including affordability
of capital investment 240
Plan to Reduce Carbon Emissions by
up to 10% each year -650


Investment in Service Priorities:
Reduce Public Realm cuts 100
Reduce proposed Cowes Ferry increase 30
Restore various Care facilities funding by 25% 120
Restore Carers Advocacy cuts 13
Reduce Supporting People cuts 1,000
Reduce Client Numbers savings 250
Reduce Learning Disability eligibility cuts 250
Restore cuts to homeless services 64
Restore Music Service subsidy 72
Restore ‘Review of financial support to unions’ 50
Restore RCC cuts 27
Retain Westminster House for vulnerable people 215
Restore ‘Highways service ‘ capacity cuts 60
Remove ‘Internal Home Care review’ cuts 33
New Community Wardens (10) 250


Car Parking Proposals:
Replace proposal to increase permits to £200 900
Standard Parking Permit – increase to £150 pa
(excluding pensioners) -450




Net Expenditure 132,964


Financed By:
Formula Grant 61,397
Reduce Provision in Reserves for ‘Doubtful Debts’ 500
Council Tax Demand (net of CF +/-) 71,067

132,964


Tax base (band D equivalents) 55,167.0
Collection Fund balance -87


Proposed Band D Council Tax 1,289.80
Proposed Tax Increase (%) 2.50

Image: Chris Isherwood under CC BY-SA 2.0

Monday, 15th February, 2010 9:42am

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Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Politics

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45 Comments on "Alternative Budget Suggests Senior Council Officer Pay Cuts (UPDATED)"

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Adam
Looks good so far – will be interested to read full proposal! Any news on the refuse? No one seems to have covered it in the media, but it looks like the kerbside collection will be just that – kerbside. No explanation of what happens to those not allow to put their bags at kerbside due to distance from the kerb, safety concerns due to foot through,… Read more »
L PINKERTON
On the question of refuse collection, my insurers want me to ensure them that any claims against me/them in respect of ‘the dangers to third parties occasioned by your refuse’ are covered by the Council, their contractor or their insurers. As I use the same insurance company as the Council I can forsee a lack of interest. Has anyone else realised that your rubbish is your responsibility… Read more »
Cllr Geoff Lumley (Labour)

All the details are on my blog. Just Google ‘Geoff Lumley’

Adam

Thanks Geoff. Having read through the budget, it looks a lot better than the original! I’d add OneIsland to the axe, but it is supposedly going to break even soon, and review all property to get rid of the non-core buildings too, but all good.

However, the big question is how to get the councillors to consider it!

Cllr Geoff Lumley (Labour)

‘One Island’ is part of the Media & Communications budget at County Hall. We propose halving that budget by £500k.

Adam

Great. Thanks for the clarification.

Maggie Currie
I think there should be a set wage for councillors and whether they sit on different committees or not should not affect this wage. After all, they are doing the job of councillor already and sitting on a committee should not command another wage on top. Councillors are, as we all know, employees of us, the general public, and should represent us as we wish and not… Read more »
Jonathan Bacon

If the Councillors stopped the ‘infighting’ the current majority would do exactly what they wish without regard to any interests other than their own. There are some on the Council who are there to try and protect their communities and the vulnerable (rather than take any particular political stance) and will fight tooth and nail to do so – is that such a bad thing?

Cllr Geoff Lumley (Labour)

Hear, hear – even if I am political that does not stop me representing my community in the manner the majority would want me to. That is presumably why I was re-elected comfortably last June ?

Logun
Okay now we have an alternative, the next step is the biggest. To remind all councillors that they have been elected to be YOUR voice in council, not to toe the conservative party line. Get in touch with your local councillor and make sure they are clear of what you expect from them when it comes to the full council budget vote. Leave them in no doubt… Read more »
jackie

Well done to all concerned and thank you. It just goes to show what can be done without taking from those who can least afford it.
Cllr. Jones Evans, as my local councillor will definitely be getting an email from me. (I can but try!!!)

Anna

Isn’t she one of the Councillors that Charlotte Hofton says never speaks? Perhaps you can persuade her to say something?!

Mr T

An excellent alternative.

Am I the only one wondering why on earth we still have managers earning over 90K employed by the IWCC at all though?????

That’s a fair whack in the private sector, and a HUGE amount of money on an island where the majority exist on around the minimum wage.

John R

Definately with Geoff on this one, but how do we get the others to consider it. They don’t even consult with those it affects let alone the opposition!

Sara

Bravo Geoff, Ian et al – this is a human budget.
They are still advertising for officers at £95K pa. why does this council think we have to pay so much more for officers than other councils

N0.5

As a long term lapsed Labour supporter..can I join Geoffs Labour party, rather than the current government version.

Can we see some similar posts from the official candidate for the Island?

Cllr Geoff Lumley (Labour)
Be assured that Mark Chiverton (and the officers of the IW Labour Party)support this amendment, but he has had one or two other matters on his plate recently. Anyway he leaves Council issues to me, just as Turner does not interfere with Pugh, much ! By the way a rare beast is hoving into view tonight – a Liberal budget proposal….last seen in 2005 and then only… Read more »
N0.5

not really…can’t consider the LibDem budget as credible until their party becomes so….

Stll Geoff…it would be nice to see our prospective Labour candidate adding some posts.

I would guess, like me, most people would think that he was a pretty anonymous character outside of his recent exposure, which if nothing, has provided him with a platform to expouse his credentials for election

Don Smith
Yes! I would welcome more ‘Posts’ being submitted by our party leaders and even our MP. 131 letters regarding the MPs sleaze etceteras, and not one comment from Andrew Turner MP. If there has to to cuts in public service. I think it’s about time there were cuts at the very top. The salaries and perks they receive are bordering on criminal. It appears that there is… Read more »
Mark Chiverton
Well, I don’t think I’ve ever been anonymous in my Unison role with a lot of coverage in the media over many years and I did stand for Labour last time! I’ve worked closely with Geoff Lumley on a wide variety of issues throughout this period.Plainly as a Labour Councillor he has obviously taken the lead in setting out alternative budgets, etc. As local Branch Secretary for… Read more »
Daniel Clarke

I think we all have to get used to some cuts in public spending as a country due to Labour’s incompetent mismanagment of government finances. They’re in no position to lecture anyone about mismanaging of finances as Britain has the largest budget deficit in the developed world.

Robbo

Spare us from the economically illiterate, please ! The deficit is largely due to the bank bailout and sensible handling of the recession. Milton Friedman type economic policies would now just push into deeper recession. We don’t want to revisit the 80s when Reagan and Thatcher were in their pomp

Daniel Clarke

Britain was booming under thatcher and they left a golden legacy to labour and once again they leave Britain in a poor economic state. However I do agree that the tories on the Island council have messed things up big time

Robbo

Booming from the missiles she fired into the communities of working people.

N0.5

Thatcher destroyed the heart of this country and it still hasn’t recovered. She created this Banking Bonus culture and they do their best to maintain it despite it being at odds with the good of the country

Don Smith

Please; can anyone inform me just how
Sir Mark Thatcher became a multi-millionaire?

I can recall him road testing cars in the Sahara Desert and advertising Scotch whisky on Japanese TV.

Yes! His mother did a great deal for the rest of us:-) However, she did far more for herself.

Muso-activator

We’re also in debt because of stupid wars. Thatcher championed the defence industry as we withdrew from countries we once protected under the commonwealth amongst others.
We’ll be forced into a euro army next as a result, you watch.

Daniel Clarke

Thatcher didn’t destroy Britain. It is Gordon Brown’s economic policies who have given Britain the biggest boom and bust in british history!

No.5

what utter Tory propaganda nonsense

BigEars
Back to business as usual I see No 5. Thatcher may have unforgivably decimated the mining communities and is remembered for the introduction of poll tax – which remained with us under a new name, so I guess it was OK after all (!). What she did do was change us from a collapsed empire (national strikes, the three day week, lowest output per worker in the… Read more »
No.5

so its ok to treat workers a cattle as long as you balance the economy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Its amazing what a dictator can do with a country on their knees if you ignore the downside

BigEars
The ‘workers’ have better conditions and better relative pay than before Thatchers ‘great economic realignment’. The country as a whole enjoys a far better standard of living. If you want to talk dictators, how about a Labour leader that takes us into a war because of his ego which the nation, on mass, says it does not want. The man who outed him – David Kelly –… Read more »
Muso-activator

Come on Big Ears what are the Tories actually going to or are able to change that they were not the pre-cursor to anyway? I’m for neither, both governments in our 2 party farce system work for themselves, not the people.

No.5
Whose comparing the two…common game to try to excuse one dictator by drawing on the acts of another..neither is it relevent nor accurate when both are as bad as each other. After all Thatcher took us to war uneccesarily against Argentina simply to guarantee her re-election and nothing else. Not sure whether you missed it..but I’m no supporter of the current Government…I just dread the next bunch,… Read more »
BigEars
I completely agree in that I have very little confidence that a Tory government will be any better than the current one, accept by default, since it would be hard for them to mismanage the country and waste our money and more profligately. The reality is that the old idealogical certainties of party politics are over. All that we can do is keep them at each others… Read more »
No.5

Yes shame isn’t BE, But will the Tories with their blow up Tony Blair be any better.

And don’t forget the Tories took us into two wars..Argentina and the first Gulf War

Daniel Clarke

Bring this year’s election on! Hoping for a Cameron government to sort out Britain’s economic crisis and a return for our fantastic MP, Andrew Turner

Muso-activator
Cameron has no substance…He’s about as solid as Pugh. He’s not a leader and his policies are even shakier than poor labours. There needs to be a revolution in politics and it needs to be more representative of the people that actually get affected by these comfort zone, career orientated gamblers. Lets hope the internet gives a better voice to the silenced, poor majority who lose out… Read more »
Muso-activator
Yes Thatcher did well selling our old warfare surplus to rival countries. You should check the archives at British Aerospace..makes great reading…I guess that did boost the economy. I did like her substance as it goes, at least you knew where you stood. This economical downturn is surely linked to the war…someone do the math. 700billion bail out? How much has the cost of the Iraq &… Read more »
Daniel Clarke

Cameron has far more substance than that stupid, unelected idiot gordon brown!

annonymous

Brown may be unelected, but he has a damn sight more substance than Cameron. Its just he chooses not to show off as much as cameron. I think theres a lot Brown has done behind the scenes that hasnt become public because brown doesnt like blowing his own trumpet. Cameron is an idiot, simple as.

Daniel Clarke

At least Cameron didn’t double the nation’s national debt! Now public spending will be slashed to cut the debt! All Brown’s falt

No.5
Talk about nievity…You can’t blame Brown for a worldwide slump…you can look at his record over a decade …with Cameron, you have no such luck. He is just an un-talented version of Tony Blair for the Tory Masses…as soon as (if) they get elected, he will be on his way out, to be replaced by a dinosaur in a blue tie. Cameron will be a disaster for… Read more »
Don Smith
Cameron and the old timers from the past will soon get the House in order:-) I think I can go back much further than most of you. In a few years time it will be Labour’s turn again – What a way to run a democracy – Get rid of the two party system, sooner the better. We need to recruit the best people for the job… Read more »
Daniel Clarke

No.5 I’ll tell you about Brown’s record shall I:
1. biggest housing boom in developed world
2.Over 111 tax rises under labour
3. Biggest budget deficit in the present and in good years in the developed world
4. Biggest boom and bust in our history
Apart from winston churchill, thatcher was best PM this country has ever seen.
By the way, 5 more years of this awful labour government will be a DISASTER!