Posts Tagged ‘School Crossings’

On the 23rd February Lambeth Council meets in full to vote on its proposed budget and we, Lambeth Save Our Services, will be protesting against it, just as we did on the 7th February when hundreds protested at the last cabinet meeting.

What is getting cut?

Almost every council service, anything up to 1000 council workers, 25% of all staff, this includes:

  • The entire park ranger service
  • The entire school crossing patrol service which serves 24 schools
  • More cuts in Children’s Services
  • Libraries budget slashed – staff cut, Nettlefold hall closed, four of nine libraries under cuts consultation
  • Discretionary freedom passes for adults with mental health problems
  • Regeneration schemes on housing estates
  • Cuts and privatisation in adult social care
  • Lambeth and Lewisham Colleges to merge – massive cuts to local education
  • Reduction in highway maintenance levels and potholes
  • Rent rises whilst there are less staff to keep estates safe, clean and in decent state of repair
  • Maintenance of the borough’s parks, cemeteries and crematoria is to be scaled back.
  • Street cleaning levels reduced
  • Many cultural events scrapped
  • Three out of four Public toilets to close
  • Noise nuisance service
  • Reduction in the Faith Engagement Programme, which helps to support events such as Holocaust Memorial Day and Peace on the Streets and other community events and projects.
  • Any much more. For more info see the council website (400+ pages!) or check this websites for Cutswatch updates

What is the alternative?

Most importantly Lambeth SOS believes that our local democratic representatives – councillors –  should not implement government cuts they openly disagree with. Lambeth Labour, who run Lambeth Council, admit that the government cuts to the budget are ideological. We agree – these are cuts made by a Conservative (and Liberal) government made up of millionaires who believe huge public service cuts and big business are the way forward.

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Lambeth Council has had 37 million pounds cut from its budget by central government for next financial year 2011/12. On Monday (7 Feb) the council cabinet meets to discuss their budget, with a final vote being taken on the 23rd Februrary. There have been 2 consultation meetings in January where opposion to the cuts was strong but the consultation process was poor at best. The day BEFORE the first consultation 39 of the Labour councillors, who run Lambeth, voted for their provisional budget. When challenged on this in the two consultation meetings councillors refused to explain the budget in any meaningful way, opting instead for small groups discussing community issues. How those meetings can possibly make any difference to the already decided budget I do not know.

Rightly the council leader Steve Reed says he is going to “prioritise services for people who are most vulnerable”. However 800 job loses and 37million pounds of cuts will undoubtedly devastate the lives of the most vulnerable as well as everyone in the borough. “Back office efficiencies” will mitgate the effect of the cuts according to the council. If there are 800 staff twiddling their thumbs in council offices Steve Reed should resign. The fact is we need these people to deliver the good service that Lambeth has in the past, and that is not to say improvements cannot be made. We need the poeple who answer the phones, audit the accounts and support our front line services. Without them quality of service will undoubtedly fall – and that is not acceptable.

However it is not just behind the scenes that are under attack. Front line servcies are facing the axe. Here are the some of the big cuts:

• The park ranger service
• Reduction in highway maintenance levels and potholes
• Less maintenance of the borough’s parks
• Regeneration schemes on housing estates
• The school crossing patrol service which currently serves 24 schools
• Street cleaning levels are likely to be reduced
• Christmas lights and decorations are likely to be stopped and businesses
approached to fund town centre decorations
• Three out of four Public toilets could close with the council instead promoting
its ‘Community Toilet Scheme’
• Maintenance of the borough’s parks, cemeteries and crematoria is likely to be
scaled back.
• Discretionary freedom passes for adults with mental health problems
• Noise nuisance service
• Reduction in the Faith Engagement Programme, which helps to support events
such as Holocaust Memorial Day and Peace on the Streets and other
community events and projects.

[Taken from the council website. More budget information in a previous post]

All this while consultants and senior management are taking home hundreds of thousands of pounds and the “Rudderless” housing department is in dissarray.

This is why we must all Lobby the counsil on Monday to give us a better budget based on the needs of the people of Lambeth. Join us and bring your friends.

Following pressure from trade unions, parents and community groups, the proposal to sack all school crossing patrols has been withdrawn with the council claiming it was all a “misunderstanding”.

Jon Rogers, Branch Secretary of Lambeth UNISON responded to the news:

“The council have been pressured into a climb down over their dangerous and short sited plans to cut all of Lambeth’s school crossing patrols. This decision has saved lives as well as jobs and it shows that if we fight cuts we can beat them.”

Loads has been going on at Lambeth SOS and it’s about time to publicise it!

On Monday 17th January 2011 the Labour Party councilors met in the town hall and voted on the provisional council budget (ironically the consultation meetings start the next day – local democracy eh?). 39 of the councillors agreed the budget (more details on this for follow). Lambeth SOS, Lambeth Unison, Right to Work, Lambeth Trades council and others were on the steps letting our councillors know they should not pass on ConDem cuts to the people of Lambeth.

On Tuesday 18 January 2011 people from SOS went to the first of 2 Council budget consultation meetings took place (the next is today). There is a good discussion of what happened on urban 75 but basically £37 m in cuts, 600 jobs to go. Having a consultation meeting after the budget has been decided looks really bad for the council and its hard to see how much influence these meeting will have. Come to our demonstration on the 7th feb when the council cabinet votes to make our voice heard!

We had a planning meeting on Thursday 20th Jan. Really good turn out of about 25 people from loads of organisations and lots of new faces. we are getting bigger every week and  The main topic was our demonstration on the 7th Feb at the town hall. We are going to build for this really hard and we want hundreds of people to come along to show the council how we feel about their budget. Full minutes to follow but provisional key info about the budget:

  • 1-200 jobs gone/going this financial year at the council and 600 next year (from april) to be cut, that’s  35 million or about 15% of staff. This will devastate many services.
  • All school crossing wardens to go.
  • All park rangers to go.
  • Lots of money cut in libraries including likely job cuts.
  • Deep cuts in back office staff – call centres and customer centres included.
  • Several services to be prepped for hand over to voluntary sector.
  • Entire workforce offered voluntary redundancy.

So pretty grim stuff. To fight this we need everyone to come on the 7th Feb and be heard!

Council Budget docs available here http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/Services/CouncilDemocracy/Consultations/BudgetConsultation.htm

Overview:  Scrutiny of the draft revenue and capital budgets 2011/12 – 2013/14

Full info (called appendix 1 – are they trying to hide it?): http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/moderngov/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=26412 9

Capital spending info – big project money (appendix 2): http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/moderngov/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=26419

ALSO – We will be promoting SOS today in Brixton and Streatham with stall so please come and say hello and help out. We will also and attending the consultation meeting today and leafletting tube stations all week. to help out email lambethsaveourservices@gmail.com.