Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Budget challenges

As Southend Council starts to consult with members and the public to identify significant budget savings for the coming year I was given food for thought by an e mail from a local resident who asked "..since you have now scrapped free swimming for the over 60s what are you going to do to ensure that those who can't afford to swim will exercise as otherwise there will be blood on your hands." Obviously I explained that the subsidy had been cut across the country by the Government and that in the present climate we could not fund it from the Council's resources, but it also got me thinking about what the public expects from the public sector. We live in a great place with good parks, long beaches and other green areas all around us. Is it unreasonable to suggest that there are plenty of places to walk or cycle which are great ways of getting or keeping fit and other than the cost of a pair of shoes or a bike are free.Surely the trick is to help people to help themselves and not expect everything to be delivered on a plate by the Government or local council. We can then concentrate on those who can't help themselves. On the same theme a resident complaining about the frequency of litter collection in his road seemed dumbstruck when I suggested that perhaps the real problem was how to educate or persuade people to not drop litter which would then avoid us all meeting the massive cost of getting a contractor to pick it up! Perhaps this is what they mean by the Big Society.

1 comment:

  1. I am a local resident not involved in party politics at any level, but keen to see my local tax is wisely spent.

    I have just been reviewing the council budget for 2010 – 2011, found on their website. “Budget_Book_2010-2011_for_upload.pdf”

    Page 81 shows that capital spending for the Civic Centre was projected at £2M last year and was revised down to £1.4M

    The budget for 2010/11 2011/12 and 2012/13 has not been kept in line with these. Rather it has been increased MORE THAN THREEFOLD. £5,000,000 for each of those years rising to £8M in years after that. What on earth is planned?

    Is this really the time to be spending £5,000,000 per year on refurbishments?