Tories and allies vote down Labour’s plan to protect services

As usual two members of the Lib Dem Group voted with the Conservatives to vote down a Labour amendment to reduce the effect of cuts at the full Council meeting on Thursday.

This means that the number 21 bus service that goes through Penhill, Coleview & Covingham and the number 22 and 25 bus services that go through Old Town, are all under threat of closure.

Also under threat are the pothole budget, the unemployed training budget, apprenticeship schemes, children’s centres, and dial-a-ride.

Labour’s Amendment

That Council welcomes Cabinet’s announcement that they will no longer propose to cut £20K from Threshold Housing Link’s homelessness service. That Council resolves to amend the Council Revenue Budget for 2013/14 as proposed at the February 6th Cabinet Meeting, as follows:

Additional Savings & Reallocation of the New Homes Bonus

  1. Management Savings through restructuring senior responsibilities (£100K)
  2. Forward Swindon (A further £250K on top of the £200K already proposed)
    • £50K saved by moving Forward Swindon’s Offices back within Council Premises
    • The remaining savings will be found from joining up functions provided by Forward Swindon with the Council’s Economy & Attainment department and an in-house review will take place to assess what current Forward Swindon functions could be delivered by the Swindon & Wiltshire LEP
  3. Saving from reduced spend on Consultants (£163K)
  4. Cuts in the Communications & Insight Budget (£100K)
    • Savings to be made from staffing costs
  5. Law & Democratic Services (£100K)
    • £16K saved from the start of the 2013/14 Municipal Year, by reducing the maximum number of fully-funded Cabinet Member posts by 2 to leave a maximum of 8 available
    • The rest of the savings to be found from a reduction in dedicated scrutiny support for council committees
    • This staffing saving is intended to be accompanied with the reduction of the number of committees on the Council for the 2013/14 Municipal Year
  6. Other Savings (£100K)
    • £83K cut in Corporate Training Budget
    • Complete cut in refreshments & bottled water costs, leading to a £17K saving
  7. Further New Homes Bonus (£367K)
    • £167K of the New Homes Bonus to be reallocated back to the Revenue Budget
    • The remaining £200K to be reallocated to cover the one-off transition costs of reordering of Forward Swindon

Total sum reallocated: £ 1.18m (£200K of this total used as one-off money and therefore would not be part of the base budget.

Areas in the 2013/14 Budget Proposals to be saved or will be new spend

  1. £220K to increase the Road Maintenance Budget, specifically to address potholes
  2. £200K to retain the 2012/13 level of bus subsidy for 2013/14
  3. £100K to be increased in the Adult Learning Budget to provide additional retraining opportunities for the unemployed
  4. £100K to be added to the Plan 500 budget specifically for extra apprenticeship opportunities to unemployed young people
  5. £190K Children’s Centres Cuts- To ensure that any money saved from a management reorganisation of Swindon’s Children’s Centres is reinvested back in to those centres for the benefit of Swindon’s children
  6. £100K Council-Tax Hardship Fund- to provide early support to the identified households who are struggling to pay their Council-Tax bill as a result of the Council Tax Benefit changes, in order to prevent the use of bailiffs
  7. £70K to ensure that the Dial a Ride service receives no funding cuts in the 2013/14 year

Total: £980K

Council acknowledges the assistance provided to the mover and seconder of this motion by the Board Director Resources and Change Leader and by the Head of Finance.