Lib Dems Proposed Budget Detail With 1.5% Council Tax Rise

The Lib Dem proposals in detail.

This is a rich year for budgets on the Isle of Wight.

Lib Dems Proposed Budget Detail With 1.5% Council Tax RiseNot only have we heard of the proposed cuts from the ruling Conservative party, a proposed alternative budget from the alliance between Labour and the Independence, but now a proposed amendment from the Liberal Democrats.

The summary of the proposals take the shape of what they describe as “the five strands to the recovery plan” and are as follows (in their words) …

  • Moving the sustainability agenda on from gimmicks and fine words to real action
  • Identified, quantified and deliverable efficiency savings
  • Focusing on delivery, not propaganda
  • Financial prudence
  • Protecting our services from permanent damage

The details


£

Conservative Draft budget 132,464,000   Notes
  Liberal Democrat amendment:      
ECOLOGY      
Abolish resident’s parking permit -1,000,000   4a
Error in peak period concessionary fares savings 267,000   4b
Cost of retaining peak period subsidy 13,000   4c
Performance related pay for cabinet members -13,000   4d
Non-school energy conservation (10%:5%) -190,000   4e
EFFICIENCY      
Remove ENO layer of management -450,000   4f
Return senior management structure to 2005 levels -750,000   4g
Internal communication/performance by service managers -295,000   4h
DEEDS NOT WORDS      
Abolish propaganda budget -350,000   4i
FINANCIAL PRUDENCE      
Restrict prudential borrowing to self financing schemes -350,000   4j
Additional savings in full year   2,235,000 4k
PROTECTING SERVICES      
Learning disability day centres 250,000   )
Carers advocacy 13,000   )
Saturday respite service 11,000   )
Haylands Farm 21,000   )     4l
Riverside Centre 86,000   )
Osel 112,000   )
Homelessness and temporary accommodation 30,000   )
Supporting people/client numbers 1,850,000   4m
Trade Union support 50,000   4n
NET EXPENDITURE 131,769,000    
Formula Grant 61,396,600    
Council Tax demand 70,372,400    
Collection Fund deficit 87,000    
Tax base 55,167    
BAND D TAX 1,277    
INCREASE 0   4o

Summary of proposals
The Lib Dems propose a council tax increase of only 1.5%, reduce revenue expenditure be reduced by £695,000 to £131,769,000 (detailed in their section 4) and reduce capital expenditure by £14,293,000, as set out in their section 4j below.

Lib Dem Financial analysis and rationale

2010/11 Full year
4a) Abolish resident car parking permit 1,000,000 1,500,000
The resident car parking permit has been extremely popular with the minority of Islanders who have one. It was considered by the last non-Tory council but rejected for a number of reasons:

·       It would entail an annual subsidy of £20-£40 from each taxpayer, motorist or not

·       It would clog up the Island’s car parks, to the detriment of high street commerce and to the benefit of out of town shopping

·       It goes completely against Government policy on traffic management and any attempt to reduce unnecessary car use.

The Administration’s  costings for it’s proposed price hikes are unrealistic, and the likelihood of consumer resistance being as little as 5% following a price increase, for example, of 300% for the over 60’s is unrealistic. In reality, the permit is being withdrawn by stealth.

The costings here allow for retention of the commuter’s permit at the Administration’s proposed price, with the option of monthly payment by direct debit at no additional cost.





2010/11 Full year
4b) Error in peak period concessionary fares savings 267,000 267,000
The draft budget costings ignore the possibility and likely outcome of an appeal by the bus company, which would negate most of the planned savings. This item corrects that error.





2010/11 Full year
4c) Retain existing 24/7 concessionary fare scheme 13,000 13,000
This is a minimal cost for avoiding several thousand additional car journeys at peak congestion periods, and at the same time helping the less well off over-60s to get to work.




  2010/11 Full year
4d) Performance related pay for cabinet members -13,000 -13,000
One of the 2005 Conservative manifesto commitments was performance linked allowances for Cabinet members. This seems an appropriate time to introduce it, as the reduction would very usefully fund the retention of 24/7 concessionary fares (see 4c above)




  2010/11 Full year
4e) Energy Conservation (non-schools) -190,000 -285,000
When asked some time ago to quantify investment in energy conservation, and resultant savings, the nominally responsible Cabinet member was unable to give a response either at the time, or subsequently. With the UK’s international obligations to cut CO2, and an increase in energy prices, this seems an ideal point at which to introduce a modest 10% reduction in energy wastage, with a further 5% per annum thereafter.




  2010/11 Full year
4f) Remove layer of management – Environment & Neighbourhood Officers -450,000 -600,000
The role of ENOs introduces an extra layer of bureaucracy between the Council and its taxpayers. Properly trained and dedicated elected members and effective channels of communication between citizen and service are a cheaper and more effective solution.




  2010/11 Full year
4g) Return Senior Management structure to 2005 levels -750,000 -1,120,000
After allowing for national pay awards over the last 5 years and excluding staff involved in PFI and schools, where exceptional circumstances apply, the cost of the current senior management structure is at the very least £1,120,000 more per annum than it was in 2005. It is difficult to see how this is justified on a performance basis, and the District Auditor’s view that strategic direction is lacking is a telling one. Phasing in of the savings allows plenty of time for implementation, based on a similar project in 2002.

Although by definition none of these senior management posts are “front line”, the saving in central departments, where costs have risen in four years by 75%, will be greater than in service departments where the rise is (only) 48%.




  2010/11 Full year
4h) Internal communication/performance transferred to service managers -295,000 -295,000
In most organisations internal communication is, for very good reason, a prime responsibility of the management structure. The presence of a central function with responsibility for this does not seem to be working very well, or at all. Similarly, most aspects of performance management are a fundamental part of the manager’s role, which is not enhanced by a duplicating bureaucratic bolt-on.




  2010/11 Full year
4i) Abolish propaganda budget -350,000 -350,000
Instead of telling a sceptical world how wonderful the Administration is, this item redirects those resources to front line service delivery, which the local community should find even more impressive.




  2010/11 Full year
4j) Prudential borrowing – self financing schemes only 350,000 1,470,000
This is a term misleadingly applied to any borrowing undertaken in the absence of Government support in the form of grant aid. In reality, because repayments fall wholly on the local taxpayer, it is only “prudential” if the authority concerned can afford it (which is clearly not the case here) or it generates a positive rate of return. This item removes £14,293,000 of capital spending which would otherwise represent  a direct burden on the local taxpayer equivalent to an additional 2% on Council Tax.




  2010/11 Full year
4k) Financial Recovery 2,235,000
Many of the proposals here have a larger effect in 2011-12 and beyond, which if not frittered away should give significant help in minimising both Council tax rises and service cuts for the foreseeable future.




  2010/11 Full year
4l) Protecting services – adult services 523,000 523,000
These are fairly self explanatory reversals of proposed cuts, some of which will destroy important local facilities which have been built up over many years and currently lever in massive voluntary effort. We do not believe the explanations and assurances provided.

·       Learning disability centres (£250k)

·       Carers advocacy (£13k)

·       Saturday respite service (£11k)

·       Haylands Farm (£21k)

·       Riverside Centre (86k)

·       Osel (£112k)

·       Homelessness and temporary accommodation (£30k)




  2010/11 Full year
4m) Supporting People/Client Numbers 1,850,000 1,850,000
The current financial mess unfortunately does not allow a complete reversal of these appalling reductions in support for the vulnerable and elderly. This contingency is provided at a level of 50% of the proposed reduction, to be ring fenced and only released with agreement of full Council, in mitigation of the worst effects.




  2010/11 Full year
4n) Trade Union support 50,000 50,000
Without a clear understanding of the positive role that Trade Unions can and do play in periods of major organisational upheaval, there is little chance of success.




  2010/11 Full year
Council Tax 0  
Many of the Island’s residents are on fixed or index linked benefits and pensions which, unlike the state pension, will not rise this year.  Given the generous Formula Grant, low levels of inflation, and the proposals in this amendment, the Council should be aiming to be in the lower range of tax rises nationally.

Tuesday, 16th February, 2010 7:02am

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16 Comments on "Lib Dems Proposed Budget Detail With 1.5% Council Tax Rise"

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Cllr Geoff Lumley (Labour)

At last. After 4 years of offering nothing coherent at annual budget meetings the Liberals have got off their backsides. And most welcome it is too; though my eyebrows have raised at some of what it contains…….

Student
Geoff raises his eyebrows at some of their proposals!!! Likewise no doubt, as senior staff aren’t going to volunteer to take a 15% pay cut as you suggest, and the parking permit is completely against every policy of your national government, and is responsible for about half of the enormous black hole! If you really mean what you say about working with others then for all our… Read more »
Muso-activator

Especially the 2nd half of your post…Nicely said.

Logun
I have to agree with Student here. There is some very obvious common ground within both your alternative budgets. Please use this common ground to find something that you can all agree on. 10 Independent, 5 Liberal and 1 Labour verses 24 Conservatives. Assuming there are enough of Conservatives with integrity to do the right thing rather than toe the line it’s still going to be a… Read more »
Mrs A

Speaking as someone who lived in London,Mayors are just another layer of bureaucracy, another fat cat to fund. This only increases the burden on the tax payer.

John
Student, You are so far off the mark its untrue. Part of the ‘hole’ has been caused by the pensioners bus pass!! (£6m under funded by the LABOUR Government over the last 2 years)The parking permit rise is to help pug that gap!! The permit actually raised parking revenue! ‘The so called welfare ‘cuts’ aren’t cuts at all but a chage in the way the LABOUR Government… Read more »
Student
£6million my backside. The Council is underspending against its own budget this year on free travel, and thay have another £800k odd allocated to them by the government for next year. When they tell us how much it costs, they con us by ‘forgetting’ the £1m a year cost they already had for half fares. Don’t believe their propoganda. The residents’ parking scheme at £50 cost over… Read more »
islebeseeingyou
Student you are wrong. Those in the know will tell you just how much the bus pass issue has cost the people of the IWC by underfunding by the Labour Government. One question I would ask is how Southern Vectis account for this travel. As someone under 60 who travelled on a bus the driver gave me a free ticket, when I tried to pay I was… Read more »
Student

Here are Southampton’s for you…

For general purpose Central Area Off Street car parks

5 days per week 12 months £2080
6 months £1040
3 months £520
1 month £170

6/7 days per week 12 months £2700
6 months £1350
3 months £675
1 month £230

amphion

Logan we all agree with your point that enough conservatives with integrity couls make a diffence however non of them will have the guts to go against the leadership so dont hold your breath

N0.5

This lot where put in power by dis-satisfaction with the Lid Dem shower, which was just as bad as this lot.

The Lib-Dems haven’t moved on, they want to put the same crap councillors back into the council.

We need new councillors not the same old rubbish

Chris

I’d rather have the bad Lib Dems than the utterly incompetent and dishonest tory’s.

No.5

I’d rather have neither, both are incompetent

islebeseeingyou

I wouldn’t, do you honestly think Jill Wareham and Bob Blezzard could represent us, I don’t.

Daniel Clarke

Not bad budget proposal for the lib dems, especially council tax pledge and cutting senior staff at county ahll

jackie

I didn’t see Music Service mentioned or Westminster House. Still prefer Geoffs and the Independents budget. These are two vital services that need to be funded.