Bromley Council approves more than 150 budget cuts totalling £33m

BROMLEY Council has approved a list of more than 150 budget cuts totalling £33m in front of a packed public gallery at the Civic Centre tonight.

Councillors voted to approve the draft budget for the next year and additional savings for 2012/13, with just three councillors, who are Labour members, voting against the proposals.

This follows the council discovering its funding from central government will be reduced by at least £33m over the next two years.

Councillor Stephen Carr, leader of the Conservative council, told the chamber the cuts had been made necessary by the “ineptitude” of the previous Labour central government.

He said: “We tonight and certainly over the next year or two are going to have to make some very difficult and unpalatable decisions to correct the blunders of 13 years of Labour.”

Protesters and the borough’s Labour group had called on the council to use some of its £51.9m reserves to save services facing the axe.

However, Cllr Carr told the chamber: “We will not be spending money out of the council’s reserves to support ongoing revenue funding.”

He added: “It would be totally irresponsible to do anything else. The country is in the position it is in today because of the economics of the mad house, or should I say the economics of Labour.

“This administration will not take that sort of approach with this borough’s wellbeing.”

Councillors also voted to freeze council tax.

The savings include:

- Stopping the in-house homecare provision – saving £400,000 in 2011-2012 and £600,000 in 2012-13.

- Reducing the funding to sheltered housing – saving £500,000 in 2011-2012 and £800,000 in 2012-2013.

- Ending grants to poor families for school uniforms and shoes – to save £100,000 in the 2011-2012 and £200,000 in 2012-2013.

- Axing school crossing patrols – saving £0 in 2011-2012 and £233,000 in 2012-13.

- Slashing the number of councillors from 60 to 40 – change cannot be brought in until election in 2014 so no savings for years 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.

- Having just three children and family centres across the borough rather than the 23 originally planned – saving £600,000 in 2011-2012 and £2.8m in 2012-13.

- Closing either Penge or Anerley library – saving £90,000 in 2012-2013.

- Closing park toilets, reducing grants to sports clubs, reducing allotment rents, stopping park events and campaigns and reducing support to Park Friends – saving £10,000 in 2011-2012 and £53,000 in 2012-2013.

- Introducing car parking charges at countryside sites – saving £30,000 in 2011-2012 and £50,000 in 2012-2013.

- Cllr Carr says there will also be staff redundancies at the council.

Extra funding

The budget does include an additional £900,000 to support adults with learning difficulties and £600,000 for adults with physical disabilities.

An extra £1.7m has also been set out for transporting children with special education needs and protecting children at risk.

Criticism

During the meeting, the leader of the Bromley Labour group, Councillor John Getgood, said the cuts were too severe.

He told the chamber: “We accept cuts have to be made but not with this severity.”

Cllr Getgood said the council should use money from its reserves to save services.

He said: “We’re not proposing a complete run down of reserves but a considered use, during the four year cycle, of up to £12m or £13m.”

Cllr Getgood also said the council should increase council tax by one per cent to raise £1.3m to avoid cuts.

He proposed the council turn down 13 of the planned savings, including the reduction in funding for pupil clothing and footwear, and the axing of school crossing patrols.

Member of the public Adele Titford also addressed the councillors during the meeting to voice her opposition to ending funding for crossing patrols.

The 48-year-old mum aimed a question at Councillor Colin Smith, the portfolio holder for the environment, who has said the council is not scrapping the patrols but looking at alternative ways of providing them, such as through volunteers.

Mrs Titford, of Hayesford Park in Bromley, asked: “How many volunteers will the council have to recruit, train and insure before the £233,000 you want to save is reached?

“And do you still plan to axe the lollipop people even if any net saving is far less than the £233,000 you’re aiming to save?”

Cllr Smith said the council had made no firm decisions on the alternatives yet and that “there are no certainties at this stage”.

Comments (18)

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8:40am Tue 1 Mar 11

jca111 says...

Start by cutting the chief executive of Bromley Council , Doug Patterson £185,000 salary. Oh, no, he said he will not do that because he is 'lowly-paid'.

How out of touch this man must be!
Start by cutting the chief executive of Bromley Council , Doug Patterson £185,000 salary. Oh, no, he said he will not do that because he is 'lowly-paid'. How out of touch this man must be! jca111
  • Score: 0

9:49am Tue 1 Mar 11

Ice & Snow says...

Can't blame Bromley Council OR any other council across the map ... the coalition Government is determined to cut costs to bring the national debt down ... yep i got that bit ... then i read in my newspaper that the "Overseas development budget" is being "Increased" ... Err why is that?
If we have to make cuts in this country with local communities taking a hit ... why is the overseas budget being "increased" to some countries?
Its not right that some community groups have had 100% grants and support ... slashed ... yet we are allowing the coalition to chuck money abroad while our own services are cut?
Disgusting!
Can't blame Bromley Council OR any other council across the map ... the coalition Government is determined to cut costs to bring the national debt down ... yep i got that bit ... then i read in my newspaper that the "Overseas development budget" is being "Increased" ... Err why is that? If we have to make cuts in this country with local communities taking a hit ... why is the overseas budget being "increased" to some countries? Its not right that some community groups have had 100% grants and support ... slashed ... yet we are allowing the coalition to chuck money abroad while our own services are cut? Disgusting! Ice & Snow
  • Score: 0

9:58am Tue 1 Mar 11

Galv Norris says...

Ice & Snow wrote:
Can't blame Bromley Council OR any other council across the map ... the coalition Government is determined to cut costs to bring the national debt down ... yep i got that bit ... then i read in my newspaper that the "Overseas development budget" is being "Increased" ... Err why is that? If we have to make cuts in this country with local communities taking a hit ... why is the overseas budget being "increased" to some countries? Its not right that some community groups have had 100% grants and support ... slashed ... yet we are allowing the coalition to chuck money abroad while our own services are cut? Disgusting!
SAw it on the BBC breakfast show this morning,the Minister for overseas development said we in britain have a duty to help the rest of the world!!!

disagree!!!
we the uk public do NOT Want this
Never voting Conservative again.
[quote][p][bold]Ice & Snow[/bold] wrote: Can't blame Bromley Council OR any other council across the map ... the coalition Government is determined to cut costs to bring the national debt down ... yep i got that bit ... then i read in my newspaper that the "Overseas development budget" is being "Increased" ... Err why is that? If we have to make cuts in this country with local communities taking a hit ... why is the overseas budget being "increased" to some countries? Its not right that some community groups have had 100% grants and support ... slashed ... yet we are allowing the coalition to chuck money abroad while our own services are cut? Disgusting![/p][/quote]SAw it on the BBC breakfast show this morning,the Minister for overseas development said we in britain have a duty to help the rest of the world!!! disagree!!! we the uk public do NOT Want this Never voting Conservative again. Galv Norris
  • Score: 0

10:06am Tue 1 Mar 11

snoop dogg says...

Ice & Snow wrote:
Can't blame Bromley Council OR any other council across the map ... the coalition Government is determined to cut costs to bring the national debt down ... yep i got that bit ... then i read in my newspaper that the "Overseas development budget" is being "Increased" ... Err why is that? If we have to make cuts in this country with local communities taking a hit ... why is the overseas budget being "increased" to some countries? Its not right that some community groups have had 100% grants and support ... slashed ... yet we are allowing the coalition to chuck money abroad while our own services are cut? Disgusting!
The Little Englanders are out and about today alright...

Yes, of course there is some pain to follow, but it's nothing like what this country had to go through in the 1930's and 40's when the men and women of those countries whose aid budget you now seek to cut came to our rescue and fought for Britain against Hitler and the Axis.

The UK has benefitted massively from its position in the world, and any investment overseas is repaid many times over.

So lets get a sense of perspective here.
[quote][p][bold]Ice & Snow[/bold] wrote: Can't blame Bromley Council OR any other council across the map ... the coalition Government is determined to cut costs to bring the national debt down ... yep i got that bit ... then i read in my newspaper that the "Overseas development budget" is being "Increased" ... Err why is that? If we have to make cuts in this country with local communities taking a hit ... why is the overseas budget being "increased" to some countries? Its not right that some community groups have had 100% grants and support ... slashed ... yet we are allowing the coalition to chuck money abroad while our own services are cut? Disgusting![/p][/quote]The Little Englanders are out and about today alright... Yes, of course there is some pain to follow, but it's nothing like what this country had to go through in the 1930's and 40's when the men and women of those countries whose aid budget you now seek to cut came to our rescue and fought for Britain against Hitler and the Axis. The UK has benefitted massively from its position in the world, and any investment overseas is repaid many times over. So lets get a sense of perspective here. snoop dogg
  • Score: 0

10:30am Tue 1 Mar 11

MB says...

snoop dogg wrote:
Ice & Snow wrote: Can't blame Bromley Council OR any other council across the map ... the coalition Government is determined to cut costs to bring the national debt down ... yep i got that bit ... then i read in my newspaper that the "Overseas development budget" is being "Increased" ... Err why is that? If we have to make cuts in this country with local communities taking a hit ... why is the overseas budget being "increased" to some countries? Its not right that some community groups have had 100% grants and support ... slashed ... yet we are allowing the coalition to chuck money abroad while our own services are cut? Disgusting!
The Little Englanders are out and about today alright... Yes, of course there is some pain to follow, but it's nothing like what this country had to go through in the 1930's and 40's when the men and women of those countries whose aid budget you now seek to cut came to our rescue and fought for Britain against Hitler and the Axis. The UK has benefitted massively from its position in the world, and any investment overseas is repaid many times over. So lets get a sense of perspective here.
There is also a very selfish motivation for foreign aid which everybody should understand: if we and other rich nations don't do this there will be many more refugees and immigrants to our countries if people do not have access to food or healthcare in their own countries. Once they come here with their expended family the cost of supporting them increases thousandfold, or even more in the case of HIV positive immigrants.

All in all, it's money very well spent, but the government should be a bit clearer about the true and full purpose of foreign aid.
[quote][p][bold]snoop dogg[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Ice & Snow[/bold] wrote: Can't blame Bromley Council OR any other council across the map ... the coalition Government is determined to cut costs to bring the national debt down ... yep i got that bit ... then i read in my newspaper that the "Overseas development budget" is being "Increased" ... Err why is that? If we have to make cuts in this country with local communities taking a hit ... why is the overseas budget being "increased" to some countries? Its not right that some community groups have had 100% grants and support ... slashed ... yet we are allowing the coalition to chuck money abroad while our own services are cut? Disgusting![/p][/quote]The Little Englanders are out and about today alright... Yes, of course there is some pain to follow, but it's nothing like what this country had to go through in the 1930's and 40's when the men and women of those countries whose aid budget you now seek to cut came to our rescue and fought for Britain against Hitler and the Axis. The UK has benefitted massively from its position in the world, and any investment overseas is repaid many times over. So lets get a sense of perspective here.[/p][/quote]There is also a very selfish motivation for foreign aid which everybody should understand: if we and other rich nations don't do this there will be many more refugees and immigrants to our countries if people do not have access to food or healthcare in their own countries. Once they come here with their expended family the cost of supporting them increases thousandfold, or even more in the case of HIV positive immigrants. All in all, it's money very well spent, but the government should be a bit clearer about the true and full purpose of foreign aid. MB
  • Score: 0

11:39am Tue 1 Mar 11

Rattler One Seven says...

Well done Bromley Council for not giving in to the clowns who wanted to spend all of the borough's savings. These savings will be needed to invest in the future, and I'd rather suffer a little pain now to ensure the continued prosperity and liquidity of this borough. Anyway, this is a fine opportunity to trim the fat off a bloated public sector.
Well done Bromley Council for not giving in to the clowns who wanted to spend all of the borough's savings. These savings will be needed to invest in the future, and I'd rather suffer a little pain now to ensure the continued prosperity and liquidity of this borough. Anyway, this is a fine opportunity to trim the fat off a bloated public sector. Rattler One Seven
  • Score: 0

12:13pm Tue 1 Mar 11

Familyguy321 says...

I'm not a fan of sending Money overseas either but it is definitely not out of the kindness of their own hearts, there will be some sort of deal in the back office done, trade deals, drilling, mining, arms deals.

iffy for sure but we'll get the money back in some sort if roundabout way. not that any of us will see it.

until then folks have just got to realise that the country hasn't got any more money. It NEVER did and hasn't for decades all labour did was let people borrow more, and soon it will be all be forgotten about when we can start to get more things on the never never again.

why are intrest rates low. because they know that once they go up those 500k mortgages will all start missing payments.

It is wrong people/ suffer from these cuts. but are they really.. Really needed in the first place

park toilets, libraries. All helpful and I've used them but at a push we could struggle through.

as for lollipop ladies/persons there has to be someone at a school that help out, for free
I'm not a fan of sending Money overseas either but it is definitely not out of the kindness of their own hearts, there will be some sort of deal in the back office done, trade deals, drilling, mining, arms deals. iffy for sure but we'll get the money back in some sort if roundabout way. not that any of us will see it. until then folks have just got to realise that the country hasn't got any more money. It NEVER did and hasn't for decades all labour did was let people borrow more, and soon it will be all be forgotten about when we can start to get more things on the never never again. why are intrest rates low. because they know that once they go up those 500k mortgages will all start missing payments. It is wrong people/ suffer from these cuts. but are they really.. Really needed in the first place park toilets, libraries. All helpful and I've used them but at a push we could struggle through. as for lollipop ladies/persons there has to be someone at a school that help out, for free Familyguy321
  • Score: 0

2:15pm Tue 1 Mar 11

DJH says...

If you take away road safety it could cost lives. But this country has always held money in a higher regard than life. Look at our judicial system, an armed robber will get more years than a murderer. Do not cut services that are vital. So cut the childrens centres, cut the free school meals and clothing, and cut a library if in a close proximity to another.
If you take away road safety it could cost lives. But this country has always held money in a higher regard than life. Look at our judicial system, an armed robber will get more years than a murderer. Do not cut services that are vital. So cut the childrens centres, cut the free school meals and clothing, and cut a library if in a close proximity to another. DJH
  • Score: 0

5:09pm Tue 1 Mar 11

Clare L F says...

What is the point of having £51.9m in reserve if not for supporting and sustaining vital services in the face of cuts? In what situation would Stephen Carr consider using this?
What is the point of having £51.9m in reserve if not for supporting and sustaining vital services in the face of cuts? In what situation would Stephen Carr consider using this? Clare L F
  • Score: 0

8:13pm Tue 1 Mar 11

Cllr. Neil Reddin says...

Clare L F wrote:
What is the point of having £51.9m in reserve if not for supporting and sustaining vital services in the face of cuts? In what situation would Stephen Carr consider using this?
The reserves are "supporting and sustaining vital services" already; the £2.7m+ interest that we earn on those reserves is £2.7m+ that we won't have to find in more cuts.

The reductions in government grant are cuts in our annual (i.e. recurring) funding - yet the reserves are a single finite pot that can only be spent once. To use those reserves on day-to-day spending would increase the level of savings that will eventually have to be made, as we would also then have to plug the gap left by the loss of interest earnings.
[quote][p][bold]Clare L F[/bold] wrote: What is the point of having £51.9m in reserve if not for supporting and sustaining vital services in the face of cuts? In what situation would Stephen Carr consider using this?[/p][/quote]The reserves are "supporting and sustaining vital services" already; the £2.7m+ interest that we earn on those reserves is £2.7m+ that we won't have to find in more cuts. The reductions in government grant are cuts in our annual (i.e. recurring) funding - yet the reserves are a single finite pot that can only be spent once. To use those reserves on day-to-day spending would increase the level of savings that will eventually have to be made, as we would also then have to plug the gap left by the loss of interest earnings. Cllr. Neil Reddin
  • Score: 0

8:06am Wed 2 Mar 11

Excalibur says...

No matter how many times you spell it out in basic terms Councillor Reddin, the Liberal whingers, Labour whingers and the whinging malcontent who has never got over being rejected by the electorate back in 2006 will never agree with you or understand. They are irresponsible fools who think nothing of wasting the tax payers money and leaving the country destitute. Thankfully the Labour and Liberal Councillors are outnumbered so badly as to be bordering on an irrelevance and the malcontent is looked upon as a sad git who needs to get a life!
No matter how many times you spell it out in basic terms Councillor Reddin, the Liberal whingers, Labour whingers and the whinging malcontent who has never got over being rejected by the electorate back in 2006 will never agree with you or understand. They are irresponsible fools who think nothing of wasting the tax payers money and leaving the country destitute. Thankfully the Labour and Liberal Councillors are outnumbered so badly as to be bordering on an irrelevance and the malcontent is looked upon as a sad git who needs to get a life! Excalibur
  • Score: 0

9:15am Wed 2 Mar 11

UK Pensioner says...

PLease do not say that sending tax payers hard earned money on foreign aid is anything to do with the war that is not right.There should be a halt to all foreign aid for 5 years that money could go to keeping local amenities open get out of afghanistan and save billions of pounds.UK Pensioners should get free broadband doubling of there OAP Pension free TV license 50% of TElephone bills along with assistance for gas and electric not a one of cold weather payment its about time we put pensioners first in this country instead of paying out billions on wars and foreign aid.Thank you.
PLease do not say that sending tax payers hard earned money on foreign aid is anything to do with the war that is not right.There should be a halt to all foreign aid for 5 years that money could go to keeping local amenities open get out of afghanistan and save billions of pounds.UK Pensioners should get free broadband doubling of there OAP Pension free TV license 50% of TElephone bills along with assistance for gas and electric not a one of cold weather payment its about time we put pensioners first in this country instead of paying out billions on wars and foreign aid.Thank you. UK Pensioner
  • Score: 0

9:29am Wed 2 Mar 11

Excalibur says...

And that has exactly what to do with Bromley Council's savings?
And that has exactly what to do with Bromley Council's savings? Excalibur
  • Score: 0

10:00am Wed 2 Mar 11

Sand asa Pand says...

We need to get our own house in order in this country, ie when local communities are being put under immense pressure and told that all there is to look forward to is a declining standards in their areas due to the government having to find extra cash to balance the books,its a bitter pill to swallow when the government then trumpet how much extra money they have for overseas development! come on dave & nick stop it will ya?!? or we'll go elsewhere at election times!
We need to get our own house in order in this country, ie when local communities are being put under immense pressure and told that all there is to look forward to is a declining standards in their areas due to the government having to find extra cash to balance the books,its a bitter pill to swallow when the government then trumpet how much extra money they have for overseas development! come on dave & nick stop it will ya?!? or we'll go elsewhere at election times! Sand asa Pand
  • Score: 0

10:33am Wed 2 Mar 11

kali_karmooma says...

UK Pensioner wrote:
PLease do not say that sending tax payers hard earned money on foreign aid is anything to do with the war that is not right.There should be a halt to all foreign aid for 5 years that money could go to keeping local amenities open get out of afghanistan and save billions of pounds.UK Pensioners should get free broadband doubling of there OAP Pension free TV license 50% of TElephone bills along with assistance for gas and electric not a one of cold weather payment its about time we put pensioners first in this country instead of paying out billions on wars and foreign aid.Thank you.
Well said old timer!
[quote][p][bold]UK Pensioner[/bold] wrote: PLease do not say that sending tax payers hard earned money on foreign aid is anything to do with the war that is not right.There should be a halt to all foreign aid for 5 years that money could go to keeping local amenities open get out of afghanistan and save billions of pounds.UK Pensioners should get free broadband doubling of there OAP Pension free TV license 50% of TElephone bills along with assistance for gas and electric not a one of cold weather payment its about time we put pensioners first in this country instead of paying out billions on wars and foreign aid.Thank you.[/p][/quote]Well said old timer! kali_karmooma
  • Score: 0

3:31pm Wed 2 Mar 11

Oldchap says...

Perhaps someone from the council (Colin Smith is usually a sensible contributor) could tell us how much they pay crossing men/ladies? I believe in some areas these will be replaced by lights - but is there really a saving (pay to these people vs cost of installing & running)
Perhaps someone from the council (Colin Smith is usually a sensible contributor) could tell us how much they pay crossing men/ladies? I believe in some areas these will be replaced by lights - but is there really a saving (pay to these people vs cost of installing & running) Oldchap
  • Score: 0

9:34pm Mon 7 Mar 11

typecastboy says...

I didn't think the cuts were that bad to be honest. It could of been a lot worse. What I do find disgusting though is that the boss of the council earns tens of thousands of pounds more than the prime minister. How can that ever be justified?
I didn't think the cuts were that bad to be honest. It could of been a lot worse. What I do find disgusting though is that the boss of the council earns tens of thousands of pounds more than the prime minister. How can that ever be justified? typecastboy
  • Score: 0

9:32pm Tue 8 Mar 11

Bromleyresident says...

Whilst I understand that the council has had it's revenue support grant cut by the Government and needs to make savings, some of the cuts listed above seem strange to me. Why cut all those services in parks, in particular toilets?? It saves part (but not all) of £10k/£53k in the next two years? Lollipop ladies? Have the councillors/officers tried crossing Beckenham Lane to get to Valley Primary school at 9am - it's only just safe WITH a lollipop lady!

A lot of the cuts also seem to be aimed at poorer people/parts of the borough.

Has the chief officiers pay and bonuses been frozen? Has there been a good look at waste in the council?
Whilst I understand that the council has had it's revenue support grant cut by the Government and needs to make savings, some of the cuts listed above seem strange to me. Why cut all those services in parks, in particular toilets?? It saves part (but not all) of £10k/£53k in the next two years? Lollipop ladies? Have the councillors/officers tried crossing Beckenham Lane to get to Valley Primary school at 9am - it's only just safe WITH a lollipop lady! A lot of the cuts also seem to be aimed at poorer people/parts of the borough. Has the chief officiers pay and bonuses been frozen? Has there been a good look at waste in the council? Bromleyresident
  • Score: 0

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