WALTHAM FOREST: Council tax freeze to lead to job losses

John Macklin

John Macklin

First published in Waltham Forest by

A COUNCIL tax freeze means Waltham Forest Council will have to raise £10 million by cutting jobs and outsourcing services.

But ruling councillors have promised frontline services will not suffer.

Draft budget proposals include large savings in every council department in order to keep the local levy the same, a move supported by all three of the authority’s political parties.

A total of £1.7m will be cut from adult social care, including £497,000 saved by reducing staff as part of a government drive to personalise services.

Planned cost-cutting in the housing department will result in an unspecified number of job losses.

The management of council buildings and facilities will be outsourced, leading to likely redundancies.

The proposals, which will go before cabinet on Tuesday (12) and will have to be agreed by full council, aim to “ensure value for money”.

Most of the proposed increases in residents’ fees and charges are kept slightly below inflation at 1.5 per cent.

Most annual parking permits for controlled parking zones will increase by 1.5 per cent for the first holder in a household but are frozen for second and third holders.

Owners of heavy-polluting vehicles will face larger increases of between 2.9 and 11 per cent.

Parking fines will increase from £100 (£50 if paid within a fortnight) to £120 (£60 within a fortnight), bringing in an estimated £500,000.

Penalties for littering, flytipping and noise pollution will all increase.

Cllr John Macklin finance cabinet member and Liberal Democrat leader, said: “The savings are all in back office functions, public services will not be affected.”

He added that the proposed savings have yet to all be agreed by his group.

Cllr Matt Davis, Conservative group leader, said the budget is “piecemeal” and lacks vision.

Regarding the cuts to adult social care, Cllr Davis said: “This is the ultimate proof that the so-called ‘personalisation’ agenda is nothing of the sort, it is simply cuts at the expense of vulnerable people.”

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Comments (12)

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2:40pm Fri 8 Jan 10

Heartlysmum says...

That's right let everybody go by public transport, kick the car owner until he is down and out and nothing left to give under duress.

Stop making cars, simples, but hang on a o will the car workers put out of a job be a little annoyed, ho hum they can walk.
That's right let everybody go by public transport, kick the car owner until he is down and out and nothing left to give under duress. Stop making cars, simples, but hang on a o will the car workers put out of a job be a little annoyed, ho hum they can walk. Heartlysmum
  • Score: 0

2:41pm Fri 8 Jan 10

Touchwood says...

What about cutting down on the councillors allowances AND the violin playing thats going on in this adminstration?!
What about cutting down on the councillors allowances AND the violin playing thats going on in this adminstration?! Touchwood
  • Score: 0

2:42pm Fri 8 Jan 10

newyear says...

Saving almost £1m at a stroke by axing the 50 redundant Councillors in the Town Hall would be a good start.
Saving almost £1m at a stroke by axing the 50 redundant Councillors in the Town Hall would be a good start. newyear
  • Score: 0

5:27pm Fri 8 Jan 10

Techno2 says...

The council's bloated and politically biased propaganda department will be no loss.
The council's bloated and politically biased propaganda department will be no loss. Techno2
  • Score: 0

10:32pm Fri 8 Jan 10

Brisbane says...

At a time when inflation is essentially zero (despite what it says in the story), why does a council tax freeze need to result in cost-cutting and revenue raising measures?
If there is a single councillor or council officer who can help explain this, I think it would be very helpful for them to do so. I await your comments with interest.
At a time when inflation is essentially zero (despite what it says in the story), why does a council tax freeze need to result in cost-cutting and revenue raising measures? If there is a single councillor or council officer who can help explain this, I think it would be very helpful for them to do so. I await your comments with interest. Brisbane
  • Score: 0

10:33pm Fri 8 Jan 10

Redfox says...

Considering this council is the least litigious of the lot in London - why bother increasing the fines for litter, flytipping etc, when there's hardly ever a prosecution, never mind a successful one!
Over Christmas & New Year there were over 6 FRESH flytiped truck loads dumped in the un-gated Folly Lane Woodland area alone.
All because the 3 cctv cameras were removed in 2005 and not replaced and the 25 foot iron gate, stolen in 2008, was similarly not put back.
"Value for money", how does the cost of removing all the year's fly-tipped crap in Folly Lane equate with the reinstallation of the cameras and one gate?
Should we not hear of the sacking of the head of council's legal services.
Considering this council is the least litigious of the lot in London - why bother increasing the fines for litter, flytipping etc, when there's hardly ever a prosecution, never mind a successful one! Over Christmas & New Year there were over 6 FRESH flytiped truck loads dumped in the un-gated Folly Lane Woodland area alone. All because the 3 cctv cameras were removed in 2005 and not replaced and the 25 foot iron gate, stolen in 2008, was similarly not put back. "Value for money", how does the cost of removing all the year's fly-tipped crap in Folly Lane equate with the reinstallation of the cameras and one gate? Should we not hear of the sacking of the head of council's legal services. Redfox
  • Score: 0

11:23pm Fri 8 Jan 10

mdj says...

'But ruling councillors have promised frontline services will not suffer...'

If this is true, surely they have to admit that they've been wasting £10m p.a. for years? What other kind of service is there than a 'frontline service'? What are these 'back office functions' that deliver no value to the front line, Mr Macklin? LBWF have discarded as many non-statutory activities as they could in their desperate and ultimately futile bid to bump up their star rating with the Audit Commission, so what's left?

A sign of leadership would be if Cllrs renounce the salary increase they gave themselves when they voted to slash the Wm Morris Gallery budget, and close St James St library.
A voluntary pay cut of 10% for the ten highest-paid officials would be another valuable gesture.
'But ruling councillors have promised frontline services will not suffer...' If this is true, surely they have to admit that they've been wasting £10m p.a. for years? What other kind of service is there than a 'frontline service'? What are these 'back office functions' that deliver no value to the front line, Mr Macklin? LBWF have discarded as many non-statutory activities as they could in their desperate and ultimately futile bid to bump up their star rating with the Audit Commission, so what's left? A sign of leadership would be if Cllrs renounce the salary increase they gave themselves when they voted to slash the Wm Morris Gallery budget, and close St James St library. A voluntary pay cut of 10% for the ten highest-paid officials would be another valuable gesture. mdj
  • Score: 0

12:00pm Sat 9 Jan 10

G. Tingey says...

Given that LBWF are so incompetent that they can't even manage corrupt development deals, a few cuts, especially in Labour "Cabinet" members, would do wonders.
As for "services" - what are they?

All I get is council work damaging my house, and landlords evading demolition and health orders on adjoining properties.

They can't even fix the traffic lights at WC station - which have been operating illegally and dangerously for TWO MONTHS, now....
Who'd notice any cuts, then?
Given that LBWF are so incompetent that they can't even manage corrupt development deals, a few cuts, especially in Labour "Cabinet" members, would do wonders. As for "services" - what are they? All I get is council work damaging my house, and landlords evading demolition and health orders on adjoining properties. They can't even fix the traffic lights at WC station - which have been operating illegally and dangerously for TWO MONTHS, now.... Who'd notice any cuts, then? G. Tingey
  • Score: 0

1:38pm Sat 9 Jan 10

newyear says...

Techno2 is right, axing Corporate Communications and WFN would save another £1m. Who needs WFN when there's the Council website?
Techno2 is right, axing Corporate Communications and WFN would save another £1m. Who needs WFN when there's the Council website? newyear
  • Score: 0

5:24pm Sat 9 Jan 10

Touchwood says...

newyear wrote:
Techno2 is right, axing Corporate Communications and WFN would save another £1m. Who needs WFN when there's the Council website?
The real question is who needs a Council so adept at violin playing?!
[quote][p][bold]newyear[/bold] wrote: Techno2 is right, axing Corporate Communications and WFN would save another £1m. Who needs WFN when there's the Council website?[/p][/quote]The real question is who needs a Council so adept at violin playing?! Touchwood
  • Score: 0

11:44am Sun 10 Jan 10

newyear says...

They certainly seem adept at fiddling!
They certainly seem adept at fiddling! newyear
  • Score: 0

12:50pm Mon 11 Jan 10

jack de large says...

"Ruling councillors"? bit of a Freudian slip John!

I suspect we could save as much money by getting rid of the Labour/Liberal Democrat Cabinet. Cabinet members get three times as much money as ordinary councillors and then there's the "junior Cabinet members" who get extra money but nobody seems to know what they do.

MJD makes a good point, if these "back office" positions will not affect front-line services then what was the point of them in the first place and why have the taxpayers of this borough being burdened with an ineffective service?
"Ruling councillors"? bit of a Freudian slip John! I suspect we could save as much money by getting rid of the Labour/Liberal Democrat Cabinet. Cabinet members get three times as much money as ordinary councillors and then there's the "junior Cabinet members" who get extra money but nobody seems to know what they do. MJD makes a good point, if these "back office" positions will not affect front-line services then what was the point of them in the first place and why have the taxpayers of this borough being burdened with an ineffective service? jack de large
  • Score: 0

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