WALTHAM FOREST: Budget approved - but residents denied entry

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: WALTHAM FOREST: Budget approved - but residents denied entry WALTHAM FOREST: Budget approved - but residents denied entry

THE council's budget was approved at a fiery meeting tonight – but there was anger when dozens of residents were refused entry.

The group of protesters were told they could not listen to the debate at Waltham Forest Town Hall due to “fire regulations” - despite the public gallery only being half full.

In unprecedented scenes, the steps to the town hall were also fenced off by barricades and tape, while dozens of council security staff and three van loads of police patrolled the surrounding area.

However, a demonstration before the meeting passed off entirely peacefully. The number of those who attended, an estimated 100 people, was similar to previous anti-cuts protests of the last few months.

Co-ordinator of the Waltham Forest Anti-Cuts Union Nancy Taaffe was one of those not allowed in.

She said: "Some of us managed to get in but then they said no more than 35 people could enter. I think it's disgraceful.

"At times like this the council should be as transparent as possible. It is very undemocratic not to allow people entry like this. Other councils have made provisions like setting up TV screens for their budget meetings, but not here.

"The Labour councillors have barricaded themselves in the town hall and most of them entered through a back door - along with some of their friends who were allowed to sit in the public gallery."

Those in the upper gallery reported there being 13 empty seats, while the lower gallery also had at least eight spare places.

Many of those who did manage to gain entry to the meeting heckled almost every councillor who spoke, much to the visible irritation of members.

In the end, following a heated debate lasting nearly two hours, Labour councillors voted unanimously to pass its leadership's budget, while Conservative and Liberal Democrat members abstained.

A rival alternative budget by the Lib Dems failed to get support, and was mocked by Labour and Tory councillors.

Most of the cuts in the budget, which outlines savings totalling £29.5 million in the 2011/12 financial year and £16.2 million in 2012/13, have already been approved during the various waves of council reorganisations in the last few months.

But it also includes a freeze on council tax, the closure of Waltham Forest Direct shops, a five per cent cut in councillors' allowances and £750,000 worth of unspecified library cuts, which are dependent on the outcome of an internal review.

During the debate, Labour councillors blamed the Conservative and Lib Dem coalition Government for the level of cuts. Tory and Lib Dem councillors blamed the previous Labour Government.

In a passionate speech, council leader Cllr Chris Robbins said Whitehall cuts would have “terrible consequences” for Waltham Forest but said it would be an “act of cowardice” not to try and manage the borough's reduced resources.

He said the council had no choice but to make savings, or it faced the risk of central Government taking complete control of its finances.

He said: “This is a budget which we believe is a responsible budget which recognises the needs of our community.”

Despite continued sniping at rival parties, there was almost a political love-in when Tory opposition leader Cllr Matt Davis praised the Labour leadership, who in turn applauded sections of his own speech.

Cllr Davis said: “I would like to thank Cllr Robbins and pay tribute to him for not playing party politics with the budget.

"Some councils like Haringey have pursued a bleeding stump strategy using cuts to make political points, but I have to give credit to Chris for not having gone down this route.”

But he claimed that many of the savings had been suggested by his own party in previous years and said he could not support the final budget because it was lacking in detail.

THE BUDGET

The council budget lays out how the authority will spend taxpayers' money over the next financial year. But is also includes cuts of £29.5 million in the 2011/12 financial year and £16.2 million in 2012/13.

However some of the borough's finances will remain unchanged. The budget includes a freeze on council tax and also a freeze on the wages of council staff.

For some there are wage cuts. The chief executive, Martin Esom, will have his £180,000 salary cut by 10 per cent, while councillors will have their allowances reduced by five per cent.

But dozens more will lose their jobs altogether in departments such as children and young people's services. Specialised units such as the road safety and teenage pregnancy teams will also be axed in their current form. However the council says alternative provision will be put in place.

There are also smaller savings. For example, the budget includes a pledge to cut down on the use of council mobile phones such as high-tech blackberries, which, combined with a reduction in colour printing, the authority estimates will save it £150,000.

But there are also tentative proposals, such as a £750,000 reduction in the borough's library budget, cuts to school meals services and changes to the way the council manages allotments. The details of all these proposals have yet to be fully revealed and are under review.

There is also extra spending in some areas, including an additional £500,000 for street cleaning, £500,000 to pay for 16 more police officers and £200,000 towards keeping schools open for youth activities during the summer holidays.

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Comments (19)

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11:40pm Tue 8 Mar 11

mdj says...

These Safety tricks are par for the course when Councillors fear incoming flak. It would take a lot for any of our Councillors to remind us of Jack Cornwell.
This would, as Nancy Taaffe reminds us, have identified for once a useful purpose for the giant TV screen in the Town Square.

But this is worth comment:
'A rival alternative budget by the Lib Dems failed to get support, and was mocked by Labour and Tory councillors'

What do the Tories find worthy of derision when an opposition party does a bit of opposing? Does this love-in presage a Labour-Tory pact? There may as well have been one in this Borough for the last few years, for all the good the opposition have done.
According to the Tory-led government, cuts need not affect front-line services; what better time for a Tory group to produce an alternative budget to prove the point?
These Safety tricks are par for the course when Councillors fear incoming flak. It would take a lot for any of our Councillors to remind us of Jack Cornwell. This would, as Nancy Taaffe reminds us, have identified for once a useful purpose for the giant TV screen in the Town Square. But this is worth comment: 'A rival alternative budget by the Lib Dems failed to get support, and was mocked by Labour and Tory councillors' What do the Tories find worthy of derision when an opposition party does a bit of opposing? Does this love-in presage a Labour-Tory pact? There may as well have been one in this Borough for the last few years, for all the good the opposition have done. According to the Tory-led government, cuts need not affect front-line services; what better time for a Tory group to produce an alternative budget to prove the point? mdj

5:05am Wed 9 Mar 11

wosb says...

These tricks are par for the course when Councilors fear incoming flak. It would take a lot for any of our Councilors to remind us of Jack Cornwell.


James
These tricks are par for the course when Councilors fear incoming flak. It would take a lot for any of our Councilors to remind us of Jack Cornwell. James wosb

8:32am Wed 9 Mar 11

UKIP-local says...

"According to the Tory-led government, cuts need not affect front-line services; what better time for a Tory group to produce an alternative budget to prove the point?"

I think it should have read "Tory led and LibDem supported coalition .... which is so far failing to fix the Labour deficit"

Despite all the pain and anger, the government spending will be more each year than in Labour's disastrous final year. The debt will be more after 5 years of coalition than at the start.

We have to have more meaningful cuts.

Why does no one complain about spending £45 million each day on the EU in cash - a figure which is rising at 3.5% a year.

What do we get in return, job destroying regulations.
"According to the Tory-led government, cuts need not affect front-line services; what better time for a Tory group to produce an alternative budget to prove the point?" I think it should have read "Tory led and LibDem supported coalition .... which is so far failing to fix the Labour deficit" Despite all the pain and anger, the government spending will be more each year than in Labour's disastrous final year. The debt will be more after 5 years of coalition than at the start. We have to have more meaningful cuts. Why does no one complain about spending £45 million each day on the EU in cash - a figure which is rising at 3.5% a year. What do we get in return, job destroying regulations. UKIP-local

9:30am Wed 9 Mar 11

sahw says...

Since when did 21 vacant seats out of a total of some 100 in the public galleries equate to "half the seats" being empty? If that's the extent of your mathematical ability, Nancy, I'm happy that YOU had nothing to do with setting this budget!

But then you wanted ALL the seats for you and your cohorts, didn't you? You didn't want others diluting your "message"! Just you and your ilk causing mayhem would have suited your agenda perfectly.

I wonder if you spent as much energy when it really mattered? For example, when this budget was being considered. Did you lobby Councillors with your views?

Or, last May, did you and your kind do all they could to ensure we didn't have a hung Parliament and end up with this disastrous coalition?

Many of those in the public gallery had done all that, and wanted to see (and hear) the final outcome. The shouting of insults from your supporters did nothing but disrupt proceedings and prolong the meeting.
Since when did 21 vacant seats out of a total of some 100 in the public galleries equate to "half the seats" being empty? If that's the extent of your mathematical ability, Nancy, I'm happy that YOU had nothing to do with setting this budget! But then you wanted ALL the seats for you and your cohorts, didn't you? You didn't want others diluting your "message"! Just you and your ilk causing mayhem would have suited your agenda perfectly. I wonder if you spent as much energy when it really mattered? For example, when this budget was being considered. Did you lobby Councillors with your views? Or, last May, did you and your kind do all they could to ensure we didn't have a hung Parliament and end up with this disastrous coalition? Many of those in the public gallery had done all that, and wanted to see (and hear) the final outcome. The shouting of insults from your supporters did nothing but disrupt proceedings and prolong the meeting. sahw

11:50am Wed 9 Mar 11

Bess says...

sahw wrote:
Since when did 21 vacant seats out of a total of some 100 in the public galleries equate to "half the seats" being empty? If that's the extent of your mathematical ability, Nancy, I'm happy that YOU had nothing to do with setting this budget! But then you wanted ALL the seats for you and your cohorts, didn't you? You didn't want others diluting your "message"! Just you and your ilk causing mayhem would have suited your agenda perfectly. I wonder if you spent as much energy when it really mattered? For example, when this budget was being considered. Did you lobby Councillors with your views? Or, last May, did you and your kind do all they could to ensure we didn't have a hung Parliament and end up with this disastrous coalition? Many of those in the public gallery had done all that, and wanted to see (and hear) the final outcome. The shouting of insults from your supporters did nothing but disrupt proceedings and prolong the meeting.
I also heard the security people saying only 35 people could go in. Therefore, if your claim is true that the capacity of the public gallery is 'some 100' then surely way more than half of it was empty?!

Whatever the precise numbers the fact is people were denied entry to a public meeting even though there was available space for them to sit.
[quote][p][bold]sahw[/bold] wrote: Since when did 21 vacant seats out of a total of some 100 in the public galleries equate to "half the seats" being empty? If that's the extent of your mathematical ability, Nancy, I'm happy that YOU had nothing to do with setting this budget! But then you wanted ALL the seats for you and your cohorts, didn't you? You didn't want others diluting your "message"! Just you and your ilk causing mayhem would have suited your agenda perfectly. I wonder if you spent as much energy when it really mattered? For example, when this budget was being considered. Did you lobby Councillors with your views? Or, last May, did you and your kind do all they could to ensure we didn't have a hung Parliament and end up with this disastrous coalition? Many of those in the public gallery had done all that, and wanted to see (and hear) the final outcome. The shouting of insults from your supporters did nothing but disrupt proceedings and prolong the meeting.[/p][/quote]I also heard the security people saying only 35 people could go in. Therefore, if your claim is true that the capacity of the public gallery is 'some 100' then surely way more than half of it was empty?! Whatever the precise numbers the fact is people were denied entry to a public meeting even though there was available space for them to sit. Bess

12:06pm Wed 9 Mar 11

sahw says...

The figure of "35" referred ONLY to the upper public gallery, in which only a dozen or so seats remained unoccupied.

Most of the seats were occupied by members of the public who, like me, had a serious interest in the proceedings. Many of those were disabled, and one of them required two seats

As I said, I'm sure Nancy would have preferred to have ALL her supporters taking up all the available seats.

Shame that others who have a serious interest in Council business thwarted her ambitions!
The figure of "35" referred ONLY to the upper public gallery, in which only a dozen or so seats remained unoccupied. Most of the seats were occupied by members of the public who, like me, had a serious interest in the proceedings. Many of those were disabled, and one of them required two seats As I said, I'm sure Nancy would have preferred to have ALL her supporters taking up all the available seats. Shame that others who have a serious interest in Council business thwarted her ambitions! sahw

1:23pm Wed 9 Mar 11

Seeing Sense says...

Maybe if MP wannabe Nancy Taaffe actually told people what her proposed solution to the issue was she might have been able to rouse more than 100 supporters and spark a bit more interest.
Maybe if MP wannabe Nancy Taaffe actually told people what her proposed solution to the issue was she might have been able to rouse more than 100 supporters and spark a bit more interest. Seeing Sense

2:02pm Wed 9 Mar 11

sahw says...

The only fault I can find in this budget is the assertion that the Council Tax has been frozen at last year's level.

It clearly hasn't because, when the GLA precept is added, homeowners in band D will pay an additional £309.82 (almost £31 a month for ten months) this year.

I think a lot of homeowners will get a shock when the bill drops on their doormat, and feel VERY let down!
The only fault I can find in this budget is the assertion that the Council Tax has been frozen at last year's level. It clearly hasn't because, when the GLA precept is added, homeowners in band D will pay an additional £309.82 (almost £31 a month for ten months) this year. I think a lot of homeowners will get a shock when the bill drops on their doormat, and feel VERY let down! sahw

2:35pm Wed 9 Mar 11

zcxw says...

sahw wrote:
The only fault I can find in this budget is the assertion that the Council Tax has been frozen at last year's level.

It clearly hasn't because, when the GLA precept is added, homeowners in band D will pay an additional £309.82 (almost £31 a month for ten months) this year.

I think a lot of homeowners will get a shock when the bill drops on their doormat, and feel VERY let down!
No we paid the GLA precept last year (and for quite a few years before that) and it has also been frozen. So we are paying the same in both council tax and GLA precept this year as last.
[quote][p][bold]sahw[/bold] wrote: The only fault I can find in this budget is the assertion that the Council Tax has been frozen at last year's level. It clearly hasn't because, when the GLA precept is added, homeowners in band D will pay an additional £309.82 (almost £31 a month for ten months) this year. I think a lot of homeowners will get a shock when the bill drops on their doormat, and feel VERY let down![/p][/quote]No we paid the GLA precept last year (and for quite a few years before that) and it has also been frozen. So we are paying the same in both council tax and GLA precept this year as last. zcxw

3:24pm Wed 9 Mar 11

tillytrotter says...

hello all including Epping ??? Why can they justify cuts ? I do not understand apart from the COUNCILLORS cuts. I was born and bred in this borough and am now of an age that I want this to be a proud borough. HOWEVER the cuts are for who !!!???? I am of no children BUT I PAY FOR SCHOOLS I AM ONE ON MY OWN WHO PAYS 75% COUNCIL TAX (TWO PAY 100% WHERE THE MATHS WORK OUT FROM THERE GIVE ME A CLUE ?) SO IT WORKS OUT THAT THE GOVERNMENT SET THESE RULES. I had this when LABOUR WHERE IN POWER so PLEASE DO NOT BLAME TORY. MAGGIE THATCHER bought in POLL TAX FAIR. So me little old me could be earning as little as 15k but MR FRED 35K still pays the same is that fair nononononononononon. I live on my own my friend lives with hubby and 1 child pays 100 more a year !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!! they live in a two bedroom house. Cuts should be fair. YES I WANT MY STREETS LOOKED AFTER YES I WANT A CLEAN BOROUGH THEN IF THATS IMPORTANT CUTTING JOBS WITH UNEMPLOYMENT THE WAY IT IS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD PLEASE ROBBINS, AND ALL THE BOROUGH COUNCILLORS PUT THE RESIDENTS FIRST !!!!!!!! ???? YOU ARE NOT DOING THAT......
hello all including Epping ??? Why can they justify cuts ? I do not understand apart from the COUNCILLORS cuts. I was born and bred in this borough and am now of an age that I want this to be a proud borough. HOWEVER the cuts are for who !!!???? I am of no children BUT I PAY FOR SCHOOLS I AM ONE ON MY OWN WHO PAYS 75% COUNCIL TAX (TWO PAY 100% WHERE THE MATHS WORK OUT FROM THERE GIVE ME A CLUE ?) SO IT WORKS OUT THAT THE GOVERNMENT SET THESE RULES. I had this when LABOUR WHERE IN POWER so PLEASE DO NOT BLAME TORY. MAGGIE THATCHER bought in POLL TAX FAIR. So me little old me could be earning as little as 15k but MR FRED 35K still pays the same is that fair nononononononononon. I live on my own my friend lives with hubby and 1 child pays 100 more a year !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!! they live in a two bedroom house. Cuts should be fair. YES I WANT MY STREETS LOOKED AFTER YES I WANT A CLEAN BOROUGH THEN IF THATS IMPORTANT CUTTING JOBS WITH UNEMPLOYMENT THE WAY IT IS FOR CRYING OUT LOUD PLEASE ROBBINS, AND ALL THE BOROUGH COUNCILLORS PUT THE RESIDENTS FIRST !!!!!!!! ???? YOU ARE NOT DOING THAT...... tillytrotter

3:32pm Wed 9 Mar 11

tillytrotter says...

ALL I WANT IS FAIR FOR ALL THAT LIVE IN THIS BOROUGH. NOT A LOT TO ASK FOR EVEN THO IVE NO KIDS OR GRANDKIDS !!!!!! MAKE IT FAIR PLEASE NO MORE HOUSES FOR WHOEVER FAIR....
ALL I WANT IS FAIR FOR ALL THAT LIVE IN THIS BOROUGH. NOT A LOT TO ASK FOR EVEN THO IVE NO KIDS OR GRANDKIDS !!!!!! MAKE IT FAIR PLEASE NO MORE HOUSES FOR WHOEVER FAIR.... tillytrotter

5:59pm Wed 9 Mar 11

sahw says...

zcxw wrote:
sahw wrote:
The only fault I can find in this budget is the assertion that the Council Tax has been frozen at last year's level.

It clearly hasn't because, when the GLA precept is added, homeowners in band D will pay an additional £309.82 (almost £31 a month for ten months) this year.

I think a lot of homeowners will get a shock when the bill drops on their doormat, and feel VERY let down!
No we paid the GLA precept last year (and for quite a few years before that) and it has also been frozen. So we are paying the same in both council tax and GLA precept this year as last.
I have had another look at the figures in last night's Council papers, and you may well be right.

The wording and the tables are a little confusing. I had assumed that the first set of figures represented the ENTIRE Council Tax charge for last year and the the GLA precept was an addition to that.

Oh, well, I guess we will have to wait for the bills to arrive!

I, too, live alone and feel that the 25% "rebate" is unfair.

Since the next larger household would be TWO people, I feel that the rebate should be 50% (at least).
[quote][p][bold]zcxw[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]sahw[/bold] wrote: The only fault I can find in this budget is the assertion that the Council Tax has been frozen at last year's level. It clearly hasn't because, when the GLA precept is added, homeowners in band D will pay an additional £309.82 (almost £31 a month for ten months) this year. I think a lot of homeowners will get a shock when the bill drops on their doormat, and feel VERY let down![/p][/quote]No we paid the GLA precept last year (and for quite a few years before that) and it has also been frozen. So we are paying the same in both council tax and GLA precept this year as last.[/p][/quote]I have had another look at the figures in last night's Council papers, and you may well be right. The wording and the tables are a little confusing. I had assumed that the first set of figures represented the ENTIRE Council Tax charge for last year and the the GLA precept was an addition to that. Oh, well, I guess we will have to wait for the bills to arrive! I, too, live alone and feel that the 25% "rebate" is unfair. Since the next larger household would be TWO people, I feel that the rebate should be 50% (at least). sahw

12:00pm Thu 10 Mar 11

paulablackhorse says...

I was in the public gallery for the budget-setting council meeting and everything Nancy says is correct. We were promised that number of seats in the gallery yet only half that many were allowed in. The rest was told the gallery was full when it was not.
People voted for Labour in the last election in the hope they would protect them from Tory cuts. Yet these councillors have chosen to pass on the Tory cuts, wrecking people's livlihoods and services. And then they don't even have the guts to look those people in the eye. On that night they hid from those whose jobs and services they cut by erecting barricades outside and by refusing access to the public gallery inside. It is our democratic right to protest, to lobby our councillors and to be in the public gallery. The actions of the Labour councillors that night were shameful.
And yes we have lobbied every council and cabinet meeting since the anti-cuts union was formed in July last year. Every time, groups of workers and services users affected by the cuts have challenged the councillors on the town hall steps. We held a demonstration of hundreds on 19 Feb. And yes we fought in the last election. Nancy stood as a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate, putting forward a no-cuts alternative to all the main parties. We said then that Labour would carry out cuts and sadly we have been proved right. The council should not have voted for cuts; they should have set a needs budget, and used reserves and borrowing to give them time while they build a big campaign alongside their workforce and community. The government has already been forced back on things like the forests; they can be forced back on cuts. Working class people should not have to pay this terrible price - the crisis was not of our making! Let the bankers and the rich pay!
I was in the public gallery for the budget-setting council meeting and everything Nancy says is correct. We were promised that number of seats in the gallery yet only half that many were allowed in. The rest was told the gallery was full when it was not. People voted for Labour in the last election in the hope they would protect them from Tory cuts. Yet these councillors have chosen to pass on the Tory cuts, wrecking people's livlihoods and services. And then they don't even have the guts to look those people in the eye. On that night they hid from those whose jobs and services they cut by erecting barricades outside and by refusing access to the public gallery inside. It is our democratic right to protest, to lobby our councillors and to be in the public gallery. The actions of the Labour councillors that night were shameful. And yes we have lobbied every council and cabinet meeting since the anti-cuts union was formed in July last year. Every time, groups of workers and services users affected by the cuts have challenged the councillors on the town hall steps. We held a demonstration of hundreds on 19 Feb. And yes we fought in the last election. Nancy stood as a Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition candidate, putting forward a no-cuts alternative to all the main parties. We said then that Labour would carry out cuts and sadly we have been proved right. The council should not have voted for cuts; they should have set a needs budget, and used reserves and borrowing to give them time while they build a big campaign alongside their workforce and community. The government has already been forced back on things like the forests; they can be forced back on cuts. Working class people should not have to pay this terrible price - the crisis was not of our making! Let the bankers and the rich pay! paulablackhorse

12:03pm Thu 10 Mar 11

carolinem says...

sahw wrote:
Since when did 21 vacant seats out of a total of some 100 in the public galleries equate to "half the seats" being empty? If that's the extent of your mathematical ability, Nancy, I'm happy that YOU had nothing to do with setting this budget!

But then you wanted ALL the seats for you and your cohorts, didn't you? You didn't want others diluting your "message"! Just you and your ilk causing mayhem would have suited your agenda perfectly.

I wonder if you spent as much energy when it really mattered? For example, when this budget was being considered. Did you lobby Councillors with your views?

Or, last May, did you and your kind do all they could to ensure we didn't have a hung Parliament and end up with this disastrous coalition?

Many of those in the public gallery had done all that, and wanted to see (and hear) the final outcome. The shouting of insults from your supporters did nothing but disrupt proceedings and prolong the meeting.
Well Sahw, I for one DID spend a lot of energy for 3 months before the budget, repeatedly lobbying my local councillor with focused questions about what if anything she knew about planned cuts to library services, only to be repeatedly fobbed off and refused information. So good luck to anyone who turned up to hold councillors to account in person, and shame on the council for not letting us in. I would have been there if I could.

If this council genuinely had no choice but to cut vital front line services because of Tory government policies then I don't think it would be being so secretive about it (the comparison is rightly made with Camden). It seems to me a culture of macho 'look what a big tough politician i am, my cuts are bigger than your cuts' developed in this borough even in the 'good times' under New Labour, and continues apace - hence the Tory / Labour love in reported here....ergh .
[quote][p][bold]sahw[/bold] wrote: Since when did 21 vacant seats out of a total of some 100 in the public galleries equate to "half the seats" being empty? If that's the extent of your mathematical ability, Nancy, I'm happy that YOU had nothing to do with setting this budget! But then you wanted ALL the seats for you and your cohorts, didn't you? You didn't want others diluting your "message"! Just you and your ilk causing mayhem would have suited your agenda perfectly. I wonder if you spent as much energy when it really mattered? For example, when this budget was being considered. Did you lobby Councillors with your views? Or, last May, did you and your kind do all they could to ensure we didn't have a hung Parliament and end up with this disastrous coalition? Many of those in the public gallery had done all that, and wanted to see (and hear) the final outcome. The shouting of insults from your supporters did nothing but disrupt proceedings and prolong the meeting.[/p][/quote]Well Sahw, I for one DID spend a lot of energy for 3 months before the budget, repeatedly lobbying my local councillor with focused questions about what if anything she knew about planned cuts to library services, only to be repeatedly fobbed off and refused information. So good luck to anyone who turned up to hold councillors to account in person, and shame on the council for not letting us in. I would have been there if I could. If this council genuinely had no choice but to cut vital front line services because of Tory government policies then I don't think it would be being so secretive about it (the comparison is rightly made with Camden). It seems to me a culture of macho 'look what a big tough politician i am, my cuts are bigger than your cuts' developed in this borough even in the 'good times' under New Labour, and continues apace - hence the Tory / Labour love in reported here....ergh [goes off to get involved in some real politics away from this mainstream party sham]. carolinem

12:17pm Thu 10 Mar 11

mdj says...

Since my last posting I've been informed that the Tory group had sight of the budget before it was revealed in the open chamber. This would explaing their sedated response to its contents, but it's not clear who might be using whom in this private pact: Labour has a huge majority, and needs no assistance- and wants to blame the government for the situation - and the Tories surely agree with the central government line that front-line services need not suffer.
But as for what it means for the rest of us, there are some simple comparisons to be made:
Cut in Councillors' allowances: 5% (after a 25% increase 4 years ago)
Cut in libraries budget: 18%
Since my last posting I've been informed that the Tory group had sight of the budget before it was revealed in the open chamber. This would explaing their sedated response to its contents, but it's not clear who might be using whom in this private pact: Labour has a huge majority, and needs no assistance- and wants to blame the government for the situation - and the Tories surely agree with the central government line that front-line services need not suffer. But as for what it means for the rest of us, there are some simple comparisons to be made: Cut in Councillors' allowances: 5% (after a 25% increase 4 years ago) Cut in libraries budget: 18% mdj

12:48pm Thu 10 Mar 11

SarahSE says...

These cuts are an absolute disgrace - not the people challenging them!
I wasn't able to make the lobby on Tuesday but I have been on others with workers from children's services that face utter decimation in our borough. And I have challenged councillors. When cuts were first discussed I asked Afzal Akram if he would oppose the cuts. His reply summed up Labour's attitude: "Oppose them? I'm proposing them!"
Clyde Loakes called the trade unions "stupid" at a recent cabinet meeting when Unison and the GMB called for an alternative to cuts and demanded a needs budget. He was clearly wrong and out of order - but it also showed that our insistence on an alternative is getting to them. I think this is confirmed by the undemocratic manoeuvres on Tuesday.
Nancy and the Anti-Cuts Union are providing a way to continue the fight: protest, especially on 26 March; strike (as public sectors may have to) to defend hard won pensions, pay, jobs and services; and occupy to protect our resources, such as libraries to stop councillors or any politician stealing them from the next generation.
These cuts are not inevitable. Look at the money swilling around among the failed bankers. They can be stopped. Look at the forests, the music service, the books for schools. But we have to continue and join those out at the town hall on Tuesday. Let’s discuss, let’s debate and let’s fight all cuts!
Come to the next anti-cuts union meeting on 7 April.
Email anticutsunionwf@gmai
l.com
These cuts are an absolute disgrace - not the people challenging them! I wasn't able to make the lobby on Tuesday but I have been on others with workers from children's services that face utter decimation in our borough. And I have challenged councillors. When cuts were first discussed I asked Afzal Akram if he would oppose the cuts. His reply summed up Labour's attitude: "Oppose them? I'm proposing them!" Clyde Loakes called the trade unions "stupid" at a recent cabinet meeting when Unison and the GMB called for an alternative to cuts and demanded a needs budget. He was clearly wrong and out of order - but it also showed that our insistence on an alternative is getting to them. I think this is confirmed by the undemocratic manoeuvres on Tuesday. Nancy and the Anti-Cuts Union are providing a way to continue the fight: protest, especially on 26 March; strike (as public sectors may have to) to defend hard won pensions, pay, jobs and services; and occupy to protect our resources, such as libraries to stop councillors or any politician stealing them from the next generation. These cuts are not inevitable. Look at the money swilling around among the failed bankers. They can be stopped. Look at the forests, the music service, the books for schools. But we have to continue and join those out at the town hall on Tuesday. Let’s discuss, let’s debate and let’s fight all cuts! Come to the next anti-cuts union meeting on 7 April. Email anticutsunionwf@gmai l.com SarahSE

4:19pm Thu 10 Mar 11

LoughtonLord says...

can i ask a question? If u are in the public gallery are u allowed to contribute to the debate?
can i ask a question? If u are in the public gallery are u allowed to contribute to the debate? LoughtonLord

5:04pm Thu 10 Mar 11

zcxw says...

LoughtonLord wrote:
can i ask a question? If u are in the public gallery are u allowed to contribute to the debate?
Members of the public may address the council providing they give notice to the Mayor before noon on the preceding day.
[quote][p][bold]LoughtonLord[/bold] wrote: can i ask a question? If u are in the public gallery are u allowed to contribute to the debate?[/p][/quote]Members of the public may address the council providing they give notice to the Mayor before noon on the preceding day. zcxw

8:23am Fri 11 Mar 11

LoughtonLord says...

so basically those who couldnt get in couldnt say anything anyway. So why moan about not getting in? You really think you would have made a difference? Councillers wont allow their expenses to be cut too much. I hate to sound so negative but society is how it is these days. Ruled by people who care more for themselves than others.
so basically those who couldnt get in couldnt say anything anyway. So why moan about not getting in? You really think you would have made a difference? Councillers wont allow their expenses to be cut too much. I hate to sound so negative but society is how it is these days. Ruled by people who care more for themselves than others. LoughtonLord

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