Friday, 21 November 2014

Brent Cabinet finding it hard to find cuts to bridge £54m budget gap

See last paragraph
According to a posting on the Brent Fightback Facebook page Muhammed Butt told Brent Central Labour Party members last night that Brent Council would have to make cuts of £54 million 2015-17 (2 year budget) that is equivalent to 20% of the revenue budget.

Every Cabinet member had been asked to find deep cuts - and they were struggling. The Labour Group will meet to discuss the recommended cuts on Saturday November 29th.

Butt told the meeting that he would ensure that new housing in Park Royal will have 50% affordable housing.  However members were disappointed that his definition of affordable rent was 80% of market rent - far too expensive for most ordinary Brent families.  He was asked to go back to officers and challenge this.

I understand that the issue of Stonebridge Adventure Playground was raised by members unhappy about recent developments over its proposed closure. LINK Muhammed Butt told them that a decision would be made in January.

Other sources suggest that the problem regarding the possible barring of three councillors under the 6 month non-attendance rule may be resolved next week.  LINK  Cllr John Duffy is due to attend Alcohol and Licensing Committee on Monday afternoon and Cllr Zaffar Van Kalwala Audit in the evening. 

Cllr  Ahmad Shahzad  has been unwell so may be exempted on those grounds.

The problem was caused by the sudden movement of the Full Council Meeting from 17th November to December 8th. This was explained as necessary in order to discuss the Brent Plan which is currently being consulted on. Many feel this an indequate excuse as the Council calendar, including consultations, is set up months in advance.

Apparently last night Cllr Janice Long mystified many Labour Party members by asking Muhammed Butt, rather cryptically, if he was planning to set off the Civic Centre fire alarm.


Anonymous said...

Cllr Long must be referring to the fire Butt has lit for himself with his very dubious behaviour.

Anonymous said...

Bloody idiots, practically all the managers they have gotten rid have now been replaced with people on much higher salaries, doesn't look like they get the point of cost cutting!! Is Butt still gunning for his 25% percent pay rise.

Anonymous said...

I think she said SELL off the Civic Centre fire alarm. Should get a couple of quid. These are desperate days ..............

Anonymous said...

It would be a shame if one of the better Cllr John Duffy,is affected by this.
His does not mind getting calls from residents and does a stand up casework and follow through.

Unknown said...

Perhaps Cllr Butt et al might consider spending the resources they have more effectively first.

(Putting the classic examples of waste to one side such as 700K for Marble, the Hologram, buying Iphones / Ipads as well as a whole range of apps for everyone....)

There are many examples of waste that stem from short-term thinking when there are long term solutions. Examples of waste can be found in staffing:

Brent Council spending £15m on temporary staff & £5m on interims & consultant in the last financial year (01/04/13 to 31/03/14)

In individual Departments:
For example IF you register onto the planning website to comment upon a planning application you have to do so with your e-mail address. One might query why subsequent to this that the Council decides to update you RE: planning applications with many letters that are sent through the post.
The costs for envelopes, paper, printing and costs of postage all add up. A further suggestion on printing might be to offer people the opportunity to opt out of the councils other expensive print runs and perhaps if they wish to do so give an email address to receive any information electronically.

Brent Council funneling public money to feed the profits of Private Companys (e.g. Veolia). Furthermore, they did not negoitate the contract adequately (not ringfencing flytip money for example) as then Brent Council had to spend money on the design and release of a cleanerBrent APP so the public becomes responsible as the eyes of the waste management organisation. Other contractual errors also include what happened with the Garden Tax.

A number prime example of money being wasted is the attempt to close Stonebridge Adventure Playground. There are study after study that says projects like this save us more per pound in the long term as closing it will have knock on effects on other areas of health, well-being and crime-rates.
For anyone interested Martin Knapp of the London School of Economics provides a range of examples

Another area where money is being wasted is all this public property that is being sold off for a loss.
When the final figures come out for the Willesden Library Site with regard to the the profit the company made and how much they bought the site for there will quite rightly be outrage. Especially as a 'LABOUR' council did not specify that they had to put in any affordable homes in the designs. Whilst at the same time presiding over an increase in homelessness of 1/3 within a borough that already has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the country. If it couldn't get any more worse... Brent are sending people away up country.

An alternative idea (bearing in mind how much we pay to private landlords in housing benefits) would be for the council to start building their own houses. Therefore all the profit from the Willesden Library site from these homes that have apparently been sold 7 times over to foreign investors (as opposed to local people needing homes) would have been the councils. Its not too far away that we see Islington Council (A Labour council with Green influence clearly ;) ) are building 2900 homes which will save money and generate income in the long term.

Despite some aspects of the Green's running of Brighton Council, they won a lot of funding bids and started to open new libraries (again libraries are good for the long run as literacy increases social mobility and people from poorer socio-economic backgrounds have less access to books / computers internet etc) - whilst it is costing Brent Council lots of money to keep some of our libraries shut.

Its all common sense - Something that is distinctly lacking within the majority of political partys.

Scott Bartle