Friday, 21 November 2008

Memo to Cllr Dowd

Dear Peter

One of the difficult things about setting a sensible budget in Sefton is the '1960's ' old Labour attitude you adopt every time there is a possibility of reducing the bureaucracy.' No job losses' you cry-even if the purpose for the job has disappeared. And so the hard pressed tax payer land up with a bigger bill than necessary. I suppose we should not be surprised. The Labour Party in Sefton has by far the smallest popular vote and is now marooned in Bootle and is not convincing challenging for any seats. Gone are the days when Labour showed signs of breaking out of their enclave. I thought it would be instructive to reflect on how Labour in power acts when faced with a budget crisis. We have evidence of how your beloved Labour Government behave-hundreds and hundreds of NHS staff including nurses have been made redundant and so clearly they don't have the same policy as you. Now we have news from Labour controlled Salford:

11,300 council staff in redundancy shock

Neal Keeling 18/11/2008

ALL 11,300 of Salford council's workforce have been invited to apply for voluntary redundancy as the city struggles with a £15m budget deficit. The council also plans to cut the wages of around 860 staff by up to £4,000.The pay cuts, which range from £50 to £4,000, are the result of a review to ensure the authority is not breaking equal pay rules.But 90 per cent of council staff will have an increase in their wages or they will stay the same.

Salford is the third Greater Manchester council to reveal its pay and grading review to establish new salary scales under legislation designed to provide equality in jobs where women were traditionally underpaid.Council leader John Merry said: "We have made strenuous efforts to minimise the number of people that will lose out. The unions have always accepted that there will be winners and losers."

Norman Owen, leader of Salford's Liberal Democrats, said: "The negotiations over this have been going on for years. It is unfortunate the cuts should happen at the time of a credit crunch."The wage cuts will not be implemented until October, 2009.All workers have received letters inviting them to take voluntary redundancy as part of an efficiency drive recommended by consultants.In March this year, the M.E.N. revealed KMPG experts for audit, tax, and advisory services had been paid £158,000 to advise how the council could save money.


They suggested 279 jobs could be saved over the next three years in a review which identified ways of saving, which ranged from not filling vacant posts to reducing the number of newspapers delivered to the finance department.The council has adopted the plan - called Think Efficiency - and intends to save £20m over the next three years, and £12m a year after that.The reduction in jobs would be through voluntary redundancies and early retirements. The council insists there will be no impact on frontline services.


Coun Bill Hinds, the city's finance spokesman, said: "The council is responsible for spending council taxpayers' money efficiently, so we have taken a look at how things can be improved."We have identified real efficiencies. The intention is to deliver savings of £20m over the next three years and significant savings each year after that. "This is not about making savings to balance the books, it is a strategic review of how we can get better value from economies of scale."

Sadly we fear that you would rather sit on the side lines blustering and protesting against things that you know you would do if you were in power. I guess you also know that many of the things you hate most are done by councils at the behest of your government.
Your predicessor Dave Martin understood very clearly the need to be involved responsibilby in the budget process. He worked hard to protect his electors.