Saturday, October 13, 2007

Merton Council announces budget cuts of £9 million

On Friday the Tory administration at Merton Council finally published their budget papers just one working day before the Cabinet meeting which is scheduled for Monday.
The budget proposes cuts of nearly £9 million to the Council's budget including nearly £3 million pounds in Environment and Regeneration and £3 million in Community and Housing. This will apparently be the first set of cuts to be announced and a further £3 million are likely to be announced in December.

Among the cuts that stand out is a £78,000 cut to Lavendar Early Years daycare centre; cutting over £600,000 from the the transport budget which will affect those with disabilities, special needs and the elderly hardest; removing one of two gully lorries in the borough(after the floods in July is this really a wise move?); cutting the graffiti budget by 90k and slashing highway maintenance by £1/2 million(over 50% of the budget). They also propose yo stop the removal of untaxed vehicles. The voluntary sector will also take its share of the cuts, grants will be frozen and a the voluntary sector budget to older people will be slashed by nearly 40%(again hitting the elderly and vulnerable)

While the budget proposes a number of cuts it also includes some very large increases in fees most of which are proposed to be increased by 5% which is way above inflation levels. They are also proposing to introduce a fee for the use of the internet in libraries which will of course most of course hit the most disadvantaged areas in the Borough hardest(Pollards Hill being a good example), this will raise a grant total of £20,000, a tiny sum in Council terms but one which will of course hit the poorest hardest especially those who do not have access to computers. They are also proposing a large increase in parking income, which will mean parking and residents' permits will rise next year along with the introduction of a new charge for new disabled parking bay spaces.

The Council despite all the cuts have proposed some growth, they are proposing to spend an extra £40,000 on the post room and reverse the cuts of last year which saw internal postal delivery cut to just one a day(obviously things have gone wrong); an extra £32,000 on hanging baskets on entry points into the borough and in town centres(sounds very nice but is this really a priority??). Member allowances might be another growth proposal though of course this would be kept quiet at this stage.

In terms of All Saints, they have not announced closure yet, though a review is on-going which will report to Cabinet in December.

After Cabinet on Monday the proposals will then go to scrutiny within the Council for further consideration. I have attached the link to the relevant papers.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting! The link you give makes available the Supplementary Agenda presented to the Cabinet on the 15th October. However, I defy you to find that document by navigating to it from the Council's main web page at In fact enter into your web browser and you will get a 0404 error message - it doesn't exist. So the question is have you revealed private information or does the council not want to make that information easily available to the public?

11:07 pm  

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