Saturday, 25 February 2012

'Scandalous...', '...callous and unimaginative...'

 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.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Worrying new round of cuts planned by Bromley Council

In her capacity as founder/supporter of Bromley Cuts Concern; Ann Garrett is posting this letter for the attention of local media and all borough residents -

Dear Editor
It is worrying to see that a new round of cuts of £13.5m is planned by Bromley Council. This will include support for children with educational needs, disabled people, the elderly, and street cleaning and will mean further loss of jobs. Funding for the Citizens Advise Bureau - a valuable service for many people, especially those who are disadvantaged will be cut by £32,000.

Once again the council will no doubt refuse to use their high reserves, and with public morale at a low ebb after so many job and service cuts last year, this will further impact on the most vulnerable, and those generally trying to make ends meet.

Many people have stated during last year's consultation meetings with Bromley Council  that they would rather see the council tax raised in order to save and re-instate essential public services and create new jobs. With banker's bonuses and tax evasion still prominent in the news, the public has little sympathy for cuts.

Be at the Bromley Civic Centre  by 7.00pm on Monday February 20th when the cuts which have been outlined in the draft budget will go before the full council for approval.

Ann Garrett
Bromley Cuts Concern

Letter as published in Bromley Times, 16/2/2012