Tuesday, 15 January 2008

lower council tax

Ho Ho Ho. I looked at the Southport Tory website. It must make John Pugh very proud of his own. It has a headline listing their 'campaigns', one is listed as 'Lower Council Tax'
Now there is a way that the Tories could help bring a lower council tax to Southport. My colleague Simon Shaw outlines the matter in a letter to Ms Porter:

COUNCILLOR SIMON SHAW
Birkdale Ward

14 January 2008
Dear Brenda

You and I both attended, as observers, last Wednesday’s Scrutiny and Review Committee meeting which looked at the Chief Executive’s proposals on slimming down the senior management structure. I have to say I was very concerned that the Conservative members voted to support a Labour move which will cost local Council Tax-payers £1 million over the next two years.
You were absent from the December Cabinet meeting. However you will be aware that at that meeting some Cabinet members did not support the sensible and financially-prudent proposals about the future senior management structure of the Council, although they were carried on the casting vote of the Liberal Democrat Chair of the Cabinet.
I have been disappointed, that, to date, the Conservative Group on Sefton Council, in which you hold a position of leadership, has not supported the full slimming down of the bureaucracy as proposed in the report which went to Cabinet in early October. Now this matter is returning to Cabinet this Thursday.
The key issue here was put clearly in a briefing note prepared for last Wednesday’s Scrutiny and Review Committee meeting. Referring to the many (less well paid) jobs recently transferred in the fields of council housing and social care, it said:
“In simple terms if you lose 1000 direct employees and nearly £2.5 income it seemed reasonable to scale down management.”
People often say about local authorities: “too many Chiefs, not enough Indians.” This is sometimes far too simplistic. However I hope you will agree that it is incumbent upon those who do not seize, with open arms, the opportunity to slim down the senior Council bureaucracy to explain why they are willing to waste these enormous sums of Council Tax-payers’ money.
Your absence from the December Cabinet meeting means that you have not previously voted on this issue (setting aside the full Council vote which was subsequently declared to be illegal). Accordingly, the issue of a “U-Turn” would not arise in your case. Putting it bluntly, while I would welcome any influence you can exert on your two Conservative colleagues in the Cabinet in voting for prudent financial management, your vote alone can swing the decision.
We are clearly not talking about trivial sums of money here and I very much hope you are willing to put the interests of those you represent above the party whip. Please think what good could be done with £1 million, or how much a saving of this amount would allow Sefton’s Council Tax to be cut
Yours sincerely
COUNCILLOR SIMON SHAW
CHAIR OF AUDIT & GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE
P.S. The figure of £1 million over two years is arrived at as follows:
Year 1
Annual employment cost of 3 senior post which Labour wish to “save” £300,000
Projected cost of early retirement package of Chief Executive/Recruitment Consultants/increased pay of replacement Chief Executive £350,000
Year 2
Annual employment cost of 3 senior post which Labour wish to “save” £300,000
Contingency £50,000
---------------
TOTAL OVER 2 YEARS £1,000,000