Bromley Times (23/2/12)
...and here is a personal account posted by an observer at Bromley's full Council meeting on Monday, February 20th 2012
The budget was passed with an overwhelming majority. In fact one Conservative Councillor stood up smirked, and said it is about time that we ALL lived within our means. They did say that consultations with the elderly day services are on going, but the cuts are happening. No one got a chance to say anything. They spent most of the time talking about grammar schools and how crap secondary education is. So the cuts to the young, vulnerable and disabled are going ahead. Something they are looking at under the environment department, is thinking of bringing in a charge to use the refuse collection dump sites, and the cardboard/paper recycling boxes to go bi weekly as well, although that looks as though it will be in the future.
These cuts are done behind closed doors with a small group of people who have never met people who use the services under threat or the people that care for them. £800,000 off the supported housing budget to help people live independently is a joke. The Gateway club is having to move to a Monday because Crofton Halls said they are not paying enough money for Friday Nights which is a prime night to rent out. Councillor Arthur once said at a meeting i went to over a year ago before the local elections happened that he would be quite happy to get rid of the people who are disabled from the PCT and not using services at all. With these cuts it is happening.
On one case of Benefit Fraud the council spent £218,000 fighting the case which most Councillors conceded was crazy, the person ended up with 40 hours of unpaid work. They rubber stamped the budget last night. I have to go back to community options and tell them that mental health day services provision will be cut by £75k year on year and support services as well, and cab will be losing £32,000 with £75k the year after. Scandalous. Not much else to say than that.