20/10/2015 07:27:00......Posted by Sara Bashford
Last night at Full Council I spoke in a debate and thought you may like to see what I said.
The debate motion was:-
“This Council calls upon the government to end the practice of "In year cuts" to the council's budget such as the 4 million pounds taken from the unaccompanied asylum seeking children’s’ budget.”
It is regrettable that budgets are cut in year as it makes planning ahead difficult and creates uncertainty which is never good for staff, service users and residents as a whole, so I support the sentiment of this motion but it has to be said that those in control of the Council have to make their choices based on what is available and decide how best to use it, so regardless of cuts in funding they have to make choices on what should be funded and what not. This is never done once a year and is an ongoing process so changes need to be considered and then acted on.
As I say it is all down to choices and it is interesting to see what choices this administration has made.
They have chosen to spend £1.5 Million on changing the speed of the borough to 20MPH even though the police made it clear at the Scrutiny meeting that looked at this, that they couldn’t enforce it.
They chose to spend over 22K on the “stones of Croydon Project” placing large boulders in varying location which then had their plaques stolen.
They chose to spend £200K on the Fairness commission which the leader has described as interesting.
They chose to spend £100k on a festival.
They chose to hold a bike race around the town centre, so the Leader could have his moment on National TV, rather than use the money to fund safety cycling projects.
They have also chosen to put forward three green belt locations for traveller sites even though this is against national government policy and also encourage back land development.
They have chosen to charge for green garden waste collection, which is essentially an increase in Council Tax for many households.
They have chosen to close the Fairfield Halls for 2 1/5 years, with the loss of around 115 jobs.
They have also chosen to ignore things they said they would do whilst in opposition. You will recall Cllr Godfrey said he would end the library contract and bring it back in house, but hasn’t chosen to do this. Cllr Collins said he would stop the incinerator and has he stopped it no, he says it was too expensive. No more expensive than when he was in opposition so again a another choice.
Also they were going to move all staff out of Bernard Weatherill House and have they chosen to, no and interestingly Cllr Hall has said how fantastic the building is.
So whilst we will hear labour whinging about cuts in budgets and whilst I have some sympathy for the situation they currently find themselves in, we must never forget that what they do and don’t do, it their choice and their choices affect our residents. So whilst the current cuts I know makes life difficult, you are in control of the finances and you have to decide for the residents of the borough how they are spent.
It is all about choices.