Council Tax in Swindon could be raised next year

This Is Wiltshire: Coun Russell Holland Coun Russell Holland

COUNCIL tax could be raised by 1.9 per cent next year – the first time in three years – to help pay for services protecting some of the most vulnerable people in the borough.

The increase would see a £22 price hike for an average household.

Cabinet members were briefed on Wednesday night about the benefits of putting up council tax by 1.9 per cent.

A final decisdion will be made at the February budget meeting .

Coun Russell Holland, the cabinet member for finance, said the authority spends a large proportion of its cash on some of the most vulnerable people living in the area – residents who may not be able to voice their point of view.

There is currently a £1.2m funding gap for next year’s budget.

“If we increase council tax then we will have more money available to spend,” said Coun Holland, who represents St Margaret and South Marston.

“It is vital to keep in mind we do have a duty to care for the most vulnerable people.

“Many of those who receive our service are unable to advocate their position for themselves.”

He called on all councillors to deliberate on the decision, of keeping taxes low and not having more money to spend on these services or to raise them to generate funding, ahead of the debate in February.

If the council does not increase its tax it will receive a £750,000 grant from the Government.

But when this annual cash injection from the Government stops, Coun Holland warned the authority will be faced with a lower budget baseline than if it were to begin increasing taxes now.

Coun Jim Grant quizzed Coun Holland at the meeting about whether the £1.2m shortfall would have to come from frontline services.

Coun Grant said: “£1.2m is going to be extremely hard to find and will have to come from frontline services, when are you going to consult residents on these ‘£1.2m cuts?’”

Coun Holland said if the increase went ahead it would cover the shortfall.

If council tax does not rise the grant from the Government would cover at least half of the gap and the rest would not be too hard to manage.

North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson said councils were always faced with hard decisions when it came to budgets.

“The council always has a very difficult job when it comes to juggling the need for more money against protecting some of the most hard pressed families,” he said.

“That said the Government has made it clear it will financial reward those council who freeze their council tax.”

This year has seen a rise in children’s social care due to the number of children using the service increasing.

Work completed for a new strengthening families project to help vulnerable children has cost more than £600,000

Comments (68)

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6:09am Fri 13 Dec 13

ging999 says...

I totally agree that the vulnerable in society must be looked after but maybe the less vulnerable could start showing a little more self discipline and responsibility and start looking after themselves, instead of grabbing handouts all the time.
I totally agree that the vulnerable in society must be looked after but maybe the less vulnerable could start showing a little more self discipline and responsibility and start looking after themselves, instead of grabbing handouts all the time. ging999

7:29am Fri 13 Dec 13

stu2010 says...

Again we are expected to foot the bill for the bone idle. No work, no money. Simples !!!
Again we are expected to foot the bill for the bone idle. No work, no money. Simples !!! stu2010

7:46am Fri 13 Dec 13

RichardR1 says...

This won't do the sitting MP's chances of re-election any good.
This won't do the sitting MP's chances of re-election any good. RichardR1

7:49am Fri 13 Dec 13

Ringer says...

Completely unacceptable.

People did not vote for a Communist council in Swindon. Russell Holland is extremely misguided in this instance.
Completely unacceptable. People did not vote for a Communist council in Swindon. Russell Holland is extremely misguided in this instance. Ringer

7:53am Fri 13 Dec 13

Wildwestener says...

stu2010 wrote:
Again we are expected to foot the bill for the bone idle. No work, no money. Simples !!!
Whilst it is undoubtedly true that there are those that abuse the benefits system, it is by no means true that it is the majority or even a large minority. Also as the Council is not responsible for unemployment benefit, your argument is a strange one. Perhaps you are referring to social services for the mentally disabled, the old and vulnerable, children at risk of abuse - all are people that the Council have a legal duty to protect.

I'm all for rooting out those who do not deserve support but not at the expense of those who do need it. I hope with your attitude that you are never in a position to need state help, otherwise doubtless you would make yourself homeless and starve to death on the principle that you don't believe society has a place in helping others who are in need.

re the Council Tax increase, fair enough I say.
[quote][p][bold]stu2010[/bold] wrote: Again we are expected to foot the bill for the bone idle. No work, no money. Simples !!![/p][/quote]Whilst it is undoubtedly true that there are those that abuse the benefits system, it is by no means true that it is the majority or even a large minority. Also as the Council is not responsible for unemployment benefit, your argument is a strange one. Perhaps you are referring to social services for the mentally disabled, the old and vulnerable, children at risk of abuse - all are people that the Council have a legal duty to protect. I'm all for rooting out those who do not deserve support but not at the expense of those who do need it. I hope with your attitude that you are never in a position to need state help, otherwise doubtless you would make yourself homeless and starve to death on the principle that you don't believe society has a place in helping others who are in need. re the Council Tax increase, fair enough I say. Wildwestener

7:57am Fri 13 Dec 13

Wildwestener says...

Ringer wrote:
Completely unacceptable.

People did not vote for a Communist council in Swindon. Russell Holland is extremely misguided in this instance.
Haha, you have won the prize for most extreme over-reaction on these pages for many a long time and that's some achievement.

I voted Conservative and I don't have a problem with a 1.9% increase in Council Tax, in fact I support it. Any chance you can speak for yourself, don't claim to speak for everyone who voted Tory.
[quote][p][bold]Ringer[/bold] wrote: Completely unacceptable. People did not vote for a Communist council in Swindon. Russell Holland is extremely misguided in this instance.[/p][/quote]Haha, you have won the prize for most extreme over-reaction on these pages for many a long time and that's some achievement. I voted Conservative and I don't have a problem with a 1.9% increase in Council Tax, in fact I support it. Any chance you can speak for yourself, don't claim to speak for everyone who voted Tory. Wildwestener

8:04am Fri 13 Dec 13

stu2010 says...

Wildwestener wrote:
stu2010 wrote:
Again we are expected to foot the bill for the bone idle. No work, no money. Simples !!!
Whilst it is undoubtedly true that there are those that abuse the benefits system, it is by no means true that it is the majority or even a large minority. Also as the Council is not responsible for unemployment benefit, your argument is a strange one. Perhaps you are referring to social services for the mentally disabled, the old and vulnerable, children at risk of abuse - all are people that the Council have a legal duty to protect.

I'm all for rooting out those who do not deserve support but not at the expense of those who do need it. I hope with your attitude that you are never in a position to need state help, otherwise doubtless you would make yourself homeless and starve to death on the principle that you don't believe society has a place in helping others who are in need.

re the Council Tax increase, fair enough I say.
Who picks up the tab for their housing and council tax benefit?
[quote][p][bold]Wildwestener[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]stu2010[/bold] wrote: Again we are expected to foot the bill for the bone idle. No work, no money. Simples !!![/p][/quote]Whilst it is undoubtedly true that there are those that abuse the benefits system, it is by no means true that it is the majority or even a large minority. Also as the Council is not responsible for unemployment benefit, your argument is a strange one. Perhaps you are referring to social services for the mentally disabled, the old and vulnerable, children at risk of abuse - all are people that the Council have a legal duty to protect. I'm all for rooting out those who do not deserve support but not at the expense of those who do need it. I hope with your attitude that you are never in a position to need state help, otherwise doubtless you would make yourself homeless and starve to death on the principle that you don't believe society has a place in helping others who are in need. re the Council Tax increase, fair enough I say.[/p][/quote]Who picks up the tab for their housing and council tax benefit? stu2010

8:18am Fri 13 Dec 13

house on the hill says...

Central Govt or the tax payer in other words!

As for wildsomethingorther, no one is saying that those who need help shouldnt have it, what pretty much every on here agrees with is that those who dont need help need to grow a pair and take responsibility for themselves. The welfare state should only be for the disabled, genuinely vulnerable and those who have temporarily fallen on hard times. Having 6 kids is no excuse for expecting others to fund you while giving nothing back.

I have no problem with paying an extra 1.9% as long as it is spent responsibly and efficiently. But as anyone who has ever worked for the council and a lot who still do knows, that is never going to happen!
Central Govt or the tax payer in other words! As for wildsomethingorther, no one is saying that those who need help shouldnt have it, what pretty much every on here agrees with is that those who dont need help need to grow a pair and take responsibility for themselves. The welfare state should only be for the disabled, genuinely vulnerable and those who have temporarily fallen on hard times. Having 6 kids is no excuse for expecting others to fund you while giving nothing back. I have no problem with paying an extra 1.9% as long as it is spent responsibly and efficiently. But as anyone who has ever worked for the council and a lot who still do knows, that is never going to happen! house on the hill

8:19am Fri 13 Dec 13

Russell Holland says...

Thanks for comments.

The final decision will be made by full Council in February. I was setting out the realities of a freeze or increase in Council tax. I have not made a final recommendation to Council.

Swindon has always had a much lower than average amount of government grant and our Council tax is 7% lower than the average unitary council. If every Council in the country had a Council tax as low as Swindon's and also had the same level of funding as Swindon then the scale of the cuts would not have been necessary.

The big advantage of a freeze is that it helps with the cost of living the big disadvantaged of a freeze is that we have less money to spend and therefore the nature of the services we provide will have to change.

The money we spent to help vulnerable adults and children are people with disabilities, social care needs and in the case of children it will be children with disabilities or who have been abused. It is not money that is spent on benefits. In any event as I have said before most people on benefits work but are on low incomes and many more would like to work but cannot because of health issues, caring responsibilities or because they struggle to find work.

The reality is that most people do not directly receive the benefits of the services that most of their services pay for.

Swindon Council is having its grant reduced. We know that because more people are living for longer there is increased demand for those services that we are legally obliged to provide. If the Government is going to reduce our income but require us to continue to provide services which have costs then we cannot provide the same level of service.

£22 a year equates to about 48pence per week and is less than the rate of inflation.

I did not raise the possibility of a Council tax increase because I believed it would make me more popular, I have raised it because people need to be aware of the long term implications to our services.

The reality is that we can freeze our tax for the budget for 2014-15 but this does require difficult decisions - charging for green waste, reducing collections to once a week, the Council not providing leisure services directly. The decisions will become even more difficult when setting the budget for 2015-16.

Services need to be paid for and it is not possible to continue to provide the services we provide with unprecedented cuts to our budgets from central government.

I again emphasise that I have not made any final recommendations and this will be a decision for full Council.

This is an important debate to have and I welcome comments and discussion. As a Councillor I consider that I have duty to set out the implications of a freeze in Council tax or an increase.
Thanks for comments. The final decision will be made by full Council in February. I was setting out the realities of a freeze or increase in Council tax. I have not made a final recommendation to Council. Swindon has always had a much lower than average amount of government grant and our Council tax is 7% lower than the average unitary council. If every Council in the country had a Council tax as low as Swindon's and also had the same level of funding as Swindon then the scale of the cuts would not have been necessary. The big advantage of a freeze is that it helps with the cost of living the big disadvantaged of a freeze is that we have less money to spend and therefore the nature of the services we provide will have to change. The money we spent to help vulnerable adults and children are people with disabilities, social care needs and in the case of children it will be children with disabilities or who have been abused. It is not money that is spent on benefits. In any event as I have said before most people on benefits work but are on low incomes and many more would like to work but cannot because of health issues, caring responsibilities or because they struggle to find work. The reality is that most people do not directly receive the benefits of the services that most of their services pay for. Swindon Council is having its grant reduced. We know that because more people are living for longer there is increased demand for those services that we are legally obliged to provide. If the Government is going to reduce our income but require us to continue to provide services which have costs then we cannot provide the same level of service. £22 a year equates to about 48pence per week and is less than the rate of inflation. I did not raise the possibility of a Council tax increase because I believed it would make me more popular, I have raised it because people need to be aware of the long term implications to our services. The reality is that we can freeze our tax for the budget for 2014-15 but this does require difficult decisions - charging for green waste, reducing collections to once a week, the Council not providing leisure services directly. The decisions will become even more difficult when setting the budget for 2015-16. Services need to be paid for and it is not possible to continue to provide the services we provide with unprecedented cuts to our budgets from central government. I again emphasise that I have not made any final recommendations and this will be a decision for full Council. This is an important debate to have and I welcome comments and discussion. As a Councillor I consider that I have duty to set out the implications of a freeze in Council tax or an increase. Russell Holland

8:36am Fri 13 Dec 13

jackdawson says...

Visit Bristol, a city in England (a kind, loving and caring country)
http://www.youtube.c
om/watch?v=an8-eAYBk
yg
http://www.bristol-c
ulture.com/
http://www.bristol.g
ov.uk/page/leisure-a
nd-culture
http://bristolgreenc
apital.org/
http://www.cityofsan
ctuary.org/bristol
- don't forget your passport!
Visit Bristol, a city in England (a kind, loving and caring country) http://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=an8-eAYBk yg http://www.bristol-c ulture.com/ http://www.bristol.g ov.uk/page/leisure-a nd-culture http://bristolgreenc apital.org/ http://www.cityofsan ctuary.org/bristol - don't forget your passport! jackdawson

8:39am Fri 13 Dec 13

Oldswindonian says...

Russell,Thank you for that clear explanation. It is an unfortunate set of circumstances which have led to the current situation and we must accept that never ending upgrades in standards of living are simply not possible.
Russell,Thank you for that clear explanation. It is an unfortunate set of circumstances which have led to the current situation and we must accept that never ending upgrades in standards of living are simply not possible. Oldswindonian

8:42am Fri 13 Dec 13

Al Smith says...

Those having a moan seem to show a fundamental lack of understanding of inflation and how it affects councils.

For example electricity companies have increased their prices and the council has to find the money to pay for this, yet the people in this town don't seem to like having street lights turned off, don't like having services they use cut and don't like increases in council tax. What is the council meant to do? Set-up a printing press in the basement of the civic offices to print money?
Those having a moan seem to show a fundamental lack of understanding of inflation and how it affects councils. For example electricity companies have increased their prices and the council has to find the money to pay for this, yet the people in this town don't seem to like having street lights turned off, don't like having services they use cut and don't like increases in council tax. What is the council meant to do? Set-up a printing press in the basement of the civic offices to print money? Al Smith

8:50am Fri 13 Dec 13

nigelej says...

Russell Holland wrote:
Thanks for comments.

The final decision will be made by full Council in February. I was setting out the realities of a freeze or increase in Council tax. I have not made a final recommendation to Council.

Swindon has always had a much lower than average amount of government grant and our Council tax is 7% lower than the average unitary council. If every Council in the country had a Council tax as low as Swindon's and also had the same level of funding as Swindon then the scale of the cuts would not have been necessary.

The big advantage of a freeze is that it helps with the cost of living the big disadvantaged of a freeze is that we have less money to spend and therefore the nature of the services we provide will have to change.

The money we spent to help vulnerable adults and children are people with disabilities, social care needs and in the case of children it will be children with disabilities or who have been abused. It is not money that is spent on benefits. In any event as I have said before most people on benefits work but are on low incomes and many more would like to work but cannot because of health issues, caring responsibilities or because they struggle to find work.

The reality is that most people do not directly receive the benefits of the services that most of their services pay for.

Swindon Council is having its grant reduced. We know that because more people are living for longer there is increased demand for those services that we are legally obliged to provide. If the Government is going to reduce our income but require us to continue to provide services which have costs then we cannot provide the same level of service.

£22 a year equates to about 48pence per week and is less than the rate of inflation.

I did not raise the possibility of a Council tax increase because I believed it would make me more popular, I have raised it because people need to be aware of the long term implications to our services.

The reality is that we can freeze our tax for the budget for 2014-15 but this does require difficult decisions - charging for green waste, reducing collections to once a week, the Council not providing leisure services directly. The decisions will become even more difficult when setting the budget for 2015-16.

Services need to be paid for and it is not possible to continue to provide the services we provide with unprecedented cuts to our budgets from central government.

I again emphasise that I have not made any final recommendations and this will be a decision for full Council.

This is an important debate to have and I welcome comments and discussion. As a Councillor I consider that I have duty to set out the implications of a freeze in Council tax or an increase.
Get your management running the services to wake up and run them the way they should .you wouldn't need to put this up then .when ever there is a problem you are shoved from one department to another . Chop out some of the dead wood and make people responsible for failure . Which if you are a council tenant we see regulary . Disabled people are treated with great respect by the occupational therapist but once there work is passed on to the council it for sure goes a stray 6 months wait for a ramp to get out of a bungalow is one example I know of .drive ways laid and then a year later re laid because it wasn't checked . Another one we are aware of this is where the money goes on incompetence .
[quote][p][bold]Russell Holland[/bold] wrote: Thanks for comments. The final decision will be made by full Council in February. I was setting out the realities of a freeze or increase in Council tax. I have not made a final recommendation to Council. Swindon has always had a much lower than average amount of government grant and our Council tax is 7% lower than the average unitary council. If every Council in the country had a Council tax as low as Swindon's and also had the same level of funding as Swindon then the scale of the cuts would not have been necessary. The big advantage of a freeze is that it helps with the cost of living the big disadvantaged of a freeze is that we have less money to spend and therefore the nature of the services we provide will have to change. The money we spent to help vulnerable adults and children are people with disabilities, social care needs and in the case of children it will be children with disabilities or who have been abused. It is not money that is spent on benefits. In any event as I have said before most people on benefits work but are on low incomes and many more would like to work but cannot because of health issues, caring responsibilities or because they struggle to find work. The reality is that most people do not directly receive the benefits of the services that most of their services pay for. Swindon Council is having its grant reduced. We know that because more people are living for longer there is increased demand for those services that we are legally obliged to provide. If the Government is going to reduce our income but require us to continue to provide services which have costs then we cannot provide the same level of service. £22 a year equates to about 48pence per week and is less than the rate of inflation. I did not raise the possibility of a Council tax increase because I believed it would make me more popular, I have raised it because people need to be aware of the long term implications to our services. The reality is that we can freeze our tax for the budget for 2014-15 but this does require difficult decisions - charging for green waste, reducing collections to once a week, the Council not providing leisure services directly. The decisions will become even more difficult when setting the budget for 2015-16. Services need to be paid for and it is not possible to continue to provide the services we provide with unprecedented cuts to our budgets from central government. I again emphasise that I have not made any final recommendations and this will be a decision for full Council. This is an important debate to have and I welcome comments and discussion. As a Councillor I consider that I have duty to set out the implications of a freeze in Council tax or an increase.[/p][/quote]Get your management running the services to wake up and run them the way they should .you wouldn't need to put this up then .when ever there is a problem you are shoved from one department to another . Chop out some of the dead wood and make people responsible for failure . Which if you are a council tenant we see regulary . Disabled people are treated with great respect by the occupational therapist but once there work is passed on to the council it for sure goes a stray 6 months wait for a ramp to get out of a bungalow is one example I know of .drive ways laid and then a year later re laid because it wasn't checked . Another one we are aware of this is where the money goes on incompetence . nigelej

9:11am Fri 13 Dec 13

Davidsyrett says...

Russell Holland wrote:
Thanks for comments.

The final decision will be made by full Council in February. I was setting out the realities of a freeze or increase in Council tax. I have not made a final recommendation to Council.

Swindon has always had a much lower than average amount of government grant and our Council tax is 7% lower than the average unitary council. If every Council in the country had a Council tax as low as Swindon's and also had the same level of funding as Swindon then the scale of the cuts would not have been necessary.

The big advantage of a freeze is that it helps with the cost of living the big disadvantaged of a freeze is that we have less money to spend and therefore the nature of the services we provide will have to change.

The money we spent to help vulnerable adults and children are people with disabilities, social care needs and in the case of children it will be children with disabilities or who have been abused. It is not money that is spent on benefits. In any event as I have said before most people on benefits work but are on low incomes and many more would like to work but cannot because of health issues, caring responsibilities or because they struggle to find work.

The reality is that most people do not directly receive the benefits of the services that most of their services pay for.

Swindon Council is having its grant reduced. We know that because more people are living for longer there is increased demand for those services that we are legally obliged to provide. If the Government is going to reduce our income but require us to continue to provide services which have costs then we cannot provide the same level of service.

£22 a year equates to about 48pence per week and is less than the rate of inflation.

I did not raise the possibility of a Council tax increase because I believed it would make me more popular, I have raised it because people need to be aware of the long term implications to our services.

The reality is that we can freeze our tax for the budget for 2014-15 but this does require difficult decisions - charging for green waste, reducing collections to once a week, the Council not providing leisure services directly. The decisions will become even more difficult when setting the budget for 2015-16.

Services need to be paid for and it is not possible to continue to provide the services we provide with unprecedented cuts to our budgets from central government.

I again emphasise that I have not made any final recommendations and this will be a decision for full Council.

This is an important debate to have and I welcome comments and discussion. As a Councillor I consider that I have duty to set out the implications of a freeze in Council tax or an increase.
I have no problem with the increase as long as I know for sure that the money will be spent on the vulnerable, and not wasted on bureaucracy.
[quote][p][bold]Russell Holland[/bold] wrote: Thanks for comments. The final decision will be made by full Council in February. I was setting out the realities of a freeze or increase in Council tax. I have not made a final recommendation to Council. Swindon has always had a much lower than average amount of government grant and our Council tax is 7% lower than the average unitary council. If every Council in the country had a Council tax as low as Swindon's and also had the same level of funding as Swindon then the scale of the cuts would not have been necessary. The big advantage of a freeze is that it helps with the cost of living the big disadvantaged of a freeze is that we have less money to spend and therefore the nature of the services we provide will have to change. The money we spent to help vulnerable adults and children are people with disabilities, social care needs and in the case of children it will be children with disabilities or who have been abused. It is not money that is spent on benefits. In any event as I have said before most people on benefits work but are on low incomes and many more would like to work but cannot because of health issues, caring responsibilities or because they struggle to find work. The reality is that most people do not directly receive the benefits of the services that most of their services pay for. Swindon Council is having its grant reduced. We know that because more people are living for longer there is increased demand for those services that we are legally obliged to provide. If the Government is going to reduce our income but require us to continue to provide services which have costs then we cannot provide the same level of service. £22 a year equates to about 48pence per week and is less than the rate of inflation. I did not raise the possibility of a Council tax increase because I believed it would make me more popular, I have raised it because people need to be aware of the long term implications to our services. The reality is that we can freeze our tax for the budget for 2014-15 but this does require difficult decisions - charging for green waste, reducing collections to once a week, the Council not providing leisure services directly. The decisions will become even more difficult when setting the budget for 2015-16. Services need to be paid for and it is not possible to continue to provide the services we provide with unprecedented cuts to our budgets from central government. I again emphasise that I have not made any final recommendations and this will be a decision for full Council. This is an important debate to have and I welcome comments and discussion. As a Councillor I consider that I have duty to set out the implications of a freeze in Council tax or an increase.[/p][/quote]I have no problem with the increase as long as I know for sure that the money will be spent on the vulnerable, and not wasted on bureaucracy. Davidsyrett

9:18am Fri 13 Dec 13

bradley red 1 says...

More money raised= more money to be wasted!!!
More money raised= more money to be wasted!!! bradley red 1

9:19am Fri 13 Dec 13

Wildwestener says...

stu2010 wrote:
Wildwestener wrote:
stu2010 wrote:
Again we are expected to foot the bill for the bone idle. No work, no money. Simples !!!
Whilst it is undoubtedly true that there are those that abuse the benefits system, it is by no means true that it is the majority or even a large minority. Also as the Council is not responsible for unemployment benefit, your argument is a strange one. Perhaps you are referring to social services for the mentally disabled, the old and vulnerable, children at risk of abuse - all are people that the Council have a legal duty to protect.

I'm all for rooting out those who do not deserve support but not at the expense of those who do need it. I hope with your attitude that you are never in a position to need state help, otherwise doubtless you would make yourself homeless and starve to death on the principle that you don't believe society has a place in helping others who are in need.

re the Council Tax increase, fair enough I say.
Who picks up the tab for their housing and council tax benefit?
I don't dispute that local and national taxpayers (including myself of course) pay for that, but you appear to be arguing that the old, disabled etc should be thrown on the streets unless they can support themselves. If so, you are entitled to your opinion of course, but it seems the spirit of pre-reformed Ebenezer Scrooge is alive and well in you Sir.
[quote][p][bold]stu2010[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Wildwestener[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]stu2010[/bold] wrote: Again we are expected to foot the bill for the bone idle. No work, no money. Simples !!![/p][/quote]Whilst it is undoubtedly true that there are those that abuse the benefits system, it is by no means true that it is the majority or even a large minority. Also as the Council is not responsible for unemployment benefit, your argument is a strange one. Perhaps you are referring to social services for the mentally disabled, the old and vulnerable, children at risk of abuse - all are people that the Council have a legal duty to protect. I'm all for rooting out those who do not deserve support but not at the expense of those who do need it. I hope with your attitude that you are never in a position to need state help, otherwise doubtless you would make yourself homeless and starve to death on the principle that you don't believe society has a place in helping others who are in need. re the Council Tax increase, fair enough I say.[/p][/quote]Who picks up the tab for their housing and council tax benefit?[/p][/quote]I don't dispute that local and national taxpayers (including myself of course) pay for that, but you appear to be arguing that the old, disabled etc should be thrown on the streets unless they can support themselves. If so, you are entitled to your opinion of course, but it seems the spirit of pre-reformed Ebenezer Scrooge is alive and well in you Sir. Wildwestener

9:19am Fri 13 Dec 13

Russell Holland says...

Nigelj - I am sorry you have had a bad experience and I know this is something we have discussed before. In housing our surveys have shown high levels of satisfaction with services. That said we cannot be complacent and I am not saying everything is perfect but overall I think we do a good job. If you have specific issues raise them with your Councillor.

Oldswindon/AlSmith/D
avid - thank you for comments. Because we are a low funded authority we have had lower than average back office costs and we have reduced these and we have also reduced numbers of senior managers. The real issue is providing statutory to services to more people who need them while facing both unprecedented budget cuts and an expectation not to increase Council tax. It is a difficult decision which is why it is important that people are aware of the facts and issues around it.
Nigelj - I am sorry you have had a bad experience and I know this is something we have discussed before. In housing our surveys have shown high levels of satisfaction with services. That said we cannot be complacent and I am not saying everything is perfect but overall I think we do a good job. If you have specific issues raise them with your Councillor. Oldswindon/AlSmith/D avid - thank you for comments. Because we are a low funded authority we have had lower than average back office costs and we have reduced these and we have also reduced numbers of senior managers. The real issue is providing statutory to services to more people who need them while facing both unprecedented budget cuts and an expectation not to increase Council tax. It is a difficult decision which is why it is important that people are aware of the facts and issues around it. Russell Holland

9:24am Fri 13 Dec 13

tucker81 says...

As far as I'm concerned, I pay council tax to keep the roads in order and have my bins collected. And the roads are potholed, and my bins are only collected twice a week now. Should be a reduction not a bloody increase.
As far as I'm concerned, I pay council tax to keep the roads in order and have my bins collected. And the roads are potholed, and my bins are only collected twice a week now. Should be a reduction not a bloody increase. tucker81

9:24am Fri 13 Dec 13

Wildwestener says...

Russell Holland wrote:
Thanks for comments.

The final decision will be made by full Council in February. I was setting out the realities of a freeze or increase in Council tax. I have not made a final recommendation to Council.

Swindon has always had a much lower than average amount of government grant and our Council tax is 7% lower than the average unitary council. If every Council in the country had a Council tax as low as Swindon's and also had the same level of funding as Swindon then the scale of the cuts would not have been necessary.

The big advantage of a freeze is that it helps with the cost of living the big disadvantaged of a freeze is that we have less money to spend and therefore the nature of the services we provide will have to change.

The money we spent to help vulnerable adults and children are people with disabilities, social care needs and in the case of children it will be children with disabilities or who have been abused. It is not money that is spent on benefits. In any event as I have said before most people on benefits work but are on low incomes and many more would like to work but cannot because of health issues, caring responsibilities or because they struggle to find work.

The reality is that most people do not directly receive the benefits of the services that most of their services pay for.

Swindon Council is having its grant reduced. We know that because more people are living for longer there is increased demand for those services that we are legally obliged to provide. If the Government is going to reduce our income but require us to continue to provide services which have costs then we cannot provide the same level of service.

£22 a year equates to about 48pence per week and is less than the rate of inflation.

I did not raise the possibility of a Council tax increase because I believed it would make me more popular, I have raised it because people need to be aware of the long term implications to our services.

The reality is that we can freeze our tax for the budget for 2014-15 but this does require difficult decisions - charging for green waste, reducing collections to once a week, the Council not providing leisure services directly. The decisions will become even more difficult when setting the budget for 2015-16.

Services need to be paid for and it is not possible to continue to provide the services we provide with unprecedented cuts to our budgets from central government.

I again emphasise that I have not made any final recommendations and this will be a decision for full Council.

This is an important debate to have and I welcome comments and discussion. As a Councillor I consider that I have duty to set out the implications of a freeze in Council tax or an increase.
ᘰRussell, good to see a Councillor engaging on here, thanks. I have no problem with the proposal and it's nice to see a bit of honesty about the situation. There are those on here that if you gave them a £20 note as a gift, they'd moan it was not two tenners so don't worry about not pleasing everyone.
[quote][p][bold]Russell Holland[/bold] wrote: Thanks for comments. The final decision will be made by full Council in February. I was setting out the realities of a freeze or increase in Council tax. I have not made a final recommendation to Council. Swindon has always had a much lower than average amount of government grant and our Council tax is 7% lower than the average unitary council. If every Council in the country had a Council tax as low as Swindon's and also had the same level of funding as Swindon then the scale of the cuts would not have been necessary. The big advantage of a freeze is that it helps with the cost of living the big disadvantaged of a freeze is that we have less money to spend and therefore the nature of the services we provide will have to change. The money we spent to help vulnerable adults and children are people with disabilities, social care needs and in the case of children it will be children with disabilities or who have been abused. It is not money that is spent on benefits. In any event as I have said before most people on benefits work but are on low incomes and many more would like to work but cannot because of health issues, caring responsibilities or because they struggle to find work. The reality is that most people do not directly receive the benefits of the services that most of their services pay for. Swindon Council is having its grant reduced. We know that because more people are living for longer there is increased demand for those services that we are legally obliged to provide. If the Government is going to reduce our income but require us to continue to provide services which have costs then we cannot provide the same level of service. £22 a year equates to about 48pence per week and is less than the rate of inflation. I did not raise the possibility of a Council tax increase because I believed it would make me more popular, I have raised it because people need to be aware of the long term implications to our services. The reality is that we can freeze our tax for the budget for 2014-15 but this does require difficult decisions - charging for green waste, reducing collections to once a week, the Council not providing leisure services directly. The decisions will become even more difficult when setting the budget for 2015-16. Services need to be paid for and it is not possible to continue to provide the services we provide with unprecedented cuts to our budgets from central government. I again emphasise that I have not made any final recommendations and this will be a decision for full Council. This is an important debate to have and I welcome comments and discussion. As a Councillor I consider that I have duty to set out the implications of a freeze in Council tax or an increase.[/p][/quote]ᘰRussell, good to see a Councillor engaging on here, thanks. I have no problem with the proposal and it's nice to see a bit of honesty about the situation. There are those on here that if you gave them a £20 note as a gift, they'd moan it was not two tenners so don't worry about not pleasing everyone. Wildwestener

9:30am Fri 13 Dec 13

Morsey says...

Council Tax is already going up by £35 a year for garden waste and a one off payment of the same for the bin, It is hard to understand that it has taken so long, in using the no Council Tax ploy to win election votes, to see the light.

Now we are told that we lag behind other UAs' income because of this misunderstanding of just how much money is required to balance the books. The previous administration put up CT to pay for the Library extension, let's not forget, and the public took the lies that went with it and duly kicked them out. Lightening will strike twice because a Conservative run Council can only hold back the inevitable for so long after they have cut to the bone to get votes!

Annual increases would fund the new, yet very unlikely to be built, Arts complex, if they think they can get away with it. The excuses for the necessary increases are vague to say the least.
Council Tax is already going up by £35 a year for garden waste and a one off payment of the same for the bin, It is hard to understand that it has taken so long, in using the no Council Tax ploy to win election votes, to see the light. Now we are told that we lag behind other UAs' income because of this misunderstanding of just how much money is required to balance the books. The previous administration put up CT to pay for the Library extension, let's not forget, and the public took the lies that went with it and duly kicked them out. Lightening will strike twice because a Conservative run Council can only hold back the inevitable for so long after they have cut to the bone to get votes! Annual increases would fund the new, yet very unlikely to be built, Arts complex, if they think they can get away with it. The excuses for the necessary increases are vague to say the least. Morsey

9:46am Fri 13 Dec 13

Trend says...

Morsey wrote:
Council Tax is already going up by £35 a year for garden waste and a one off payment of the same for the bin, It is hard to understand that it has taken so long, in using the no Council Tax ploy to win election votes, to see the light.

Now we are told that we lag behind other UAs' income because of this misunderstanding of just how much money is required to balance the books. The previous administration put up CT to pay for the Library extension, let's not forget, and the public took the lies that went with it and duly kicked them out. Lightening will strike twice because a Conservative run Council can only hold back the inevitable for so long after they have cut to the bone to get votes!

Annual increases would fund the new, yet very unlikely to be built, Arts complex, if they think they can get away with it. The excuses for the necessary increases are vague to say the least.
See this news story http://www.swindonad
vertiser.co.uk/news/
10874914.People_powe
r_cuts_green_waste_c
osts/

Charge is now going to be an annual £40.
[quote][p][bold]Morsey[/bold] wrote: Council Tax is already going up by £35 a year for garden waste and a one off payment of the same for the bin, It is hard to understand that it has taken so long, in using the no Council Tax ploy to win election votes, to see the light. Now we are told that we lag behind other UAs' income because of this misunderstanding of just how much money is required to balance the books. The previous administration put up CT to pay for the Library extension, let's not forget, and the public took the lies that went with it and duly kicked them out. Lightening will strike twice because a Conservative run Council can only hold back the inevitable for so long after they have cut to the bone to get votes! Annual increases would fund the new, yet very unlikely to be built, Arts complex, if they think they can get away with it. The excuses for the necessary increases are vague to say the least.[/p][/quote]See this news story http://www.swindonad vertiser.co.uk/news/ 10874914.People_powe r_cuts_green_waste_c osts/ Charge is now going to be an annual £40. Trend

9:48am Fri 13 Dec 13

RichardR1 says...

The Phantom score trigger finger has been out in force, no doubt enthusiastically clearing their cache to vote again and again.

Russell if as you seem to suggest the lack of support is a Unitary issue perhaps we could go back to the more democratic full council system.
The Phantom score trigger finger has been out in force, no doubt enthusiastically clearing their cache to vote again and again. Russell if as you seem to suggest the lack of support is a Unitary issue perhaps we could go back to the more democratic full council system. RichardR1

9:58am Fri 13 Dec 13

Empty Car Park says...

Ringer wrote:
Completely unacceptable.

People did not vote for a Communist council in Swindon. Russell Holland is extremely misguided in this instance.
Why don't you inform him next time you're in the council chamber Ollie?
[quote][p][bold]Ringer[/bold] wrote: Completely unacceptable. People did not vote for a Communist council in Swindon. Russell Holland is extremely misguided in this instance.[/p][/quote]Why don't you inform him next time you're in the council chamber Ollie? Empty Car Park

10:13am Fri 13 Dec 13

Russell Holland says...

wildwest - thanks - the reality is we can't have the same levels of services without paying more so long as our funding is being reduced.

tucker81 -what you have said is part of the issue most of your council tax goes on paying for adults/children with social care needs - the Council has legal obligations and in Swindon we provide good services as rated by independent inspections. So there are lots of people (and I am one of them) who don't directly and personally receive services. But I am very aware of the services we do provide and they are necessary - long term and this is a national/local issue we need to ask questions about the sustainability of those services.

Morsey - lots of Councils do not provide a free waste collection and lots charge in this respect we are doing what other councils are doing. I don't particularly want a party political debate, I think the inspection reports speak for themselves.

Richard1 - the issue is not whether we have a Cabinet or Committee system - the issue is around the fact that the cuts don't appear to take into account existing levels of Council tax. Councils with a lower level of funding/Council tax to start should have had less significant reductions.
wildwest - thanks - the reality is we can't have the same levels of services without paying more so long as our funding is being reduced. tucker81 -what you have said is part of the issue most of your council tax goes on paying for adults/children with social care needs - the Council has legal obligations and in Swindon we provide good services as rated by independent inspections. So there are lots of people (and I am one of them) who don't directly and personally receive services. But I am very aware of the services we do provide and they are necessary - long term and this is a national/local issue we need to ask questions about the sustainability of those services. Morsey - lots of Councils do not provide a free waste collection and lots charge in this respect we are doing what other councils are doing. I don't particularly want a party political debate, I think the inspection reports speak for themselves. Richard1 - the issue is not whether we have a Cabinet or Committee system - the issue is around the fact that the cuts don't appear to take into account existing levels of Council tax. Councils with a lower level of funding/Council tax to start should have had less significant reductions. Russell Holland

10:25am Fri 13 Dec 13

Russell Holland says...

I don't really want to start guessing about who posts on here under what name. I don't know who posts under what name. However, I can say that I know Cllr Oli Donachie very well and I know that he is not ringer. I do not know who ringer is.
I don't really want to start guessing about who posts on here under what name. I don't know who posts under what name. However, I can say that I know Cllr Oli Donachie very well and I know that he is not ringer. I do not know who ringer is. Russell Holland

10:26am Fri 13 Dec 13

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

So if we're an "underfunded" council (in terms of money from central government), I've heard this many times over the years, but nothing ever seems to be done about it. What are our councillors and MP's doing to rectify this situation?

Given that circa 70% of everything I earned last year was then taken away from me in various taxes, I think I'm paying enough thanks.

Has anyone asked why demand for these services is increasing? Surely the thing to do would be to look at the root cause rather than throwing more and more money that we don't have merely to treat the symptoms?
So if we're an "underfunded" council (in terms of money from central government), I've heard this many times over the years, but nothing ever seems to be done about it. What are our councillors and MP's doing to rectify this situation? Given that circa 70% of everything I earned last year was then taken away from me in various taxes, I think I'm paying enough thanks. Has anyone asked why demand for these services is increasing? Surely the thing to do would be to look at the root cause rather than throwing more and more money that we don't have merely to treat the symptoms? The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man

10:31am Fri 13 Dec 13

Tyran66 says...

It's very hard to support a council tax rise when you look around and see such chronic waste and inefficiency within the council. If you want an example (their are plenty) just look at the white elephant of a park and ride at Groundwell.

It cost a fortune to build, was never advertised or price competitively. As a result it failed to operate successfully and was therefore mothballed. But rather than spend the minimum maintaining it (weed killer etc.) it was allowed to fall into disrepair, was then occupied by travellers (which we no doubt paid to evict) until it was finally subject to an arson attack and later demolished - which cost us even more money to do.

And the council want to raises tax? Get you ducks in a line first and stop hiding behind venerable families as an excuse to pay for your chronic mismanagement and inefficiency.
It's very hard to support a council tax rise when you look around and see such chronic waste and inefficiency within the council. If you want an example (their are plenty) just look at the white elephant of a park and ride at Groundwell. It cost a fortune to build, was never advertised or price competitively. As a result it failed to operate successfully and was therefore mothballed. But rather than spend the minimum maintaining it (weed killer etc.) it was allowed to fall into disrepair, was then occupied by travellers (which we no doubt paid to evict) until it was finally subject to an arson attack and later demolished - which cost us even more money to do. And the council want to raises tax? Get you ducks in a line first and stop hiding behind venerable families as an excuse to pay for your chronic mismanagement and inefficiency. Tyran66

10:37am Fri 13 Dec 13

swindondad says...

If the proposed (modest IMHO) 1.9% rise will generate more than is lost by missing out on the central government grant then it is in the long run worth it.

It does not matter to me whether the funding is raised locally or nationally as I am a net contributor to both but at least at local level I can have more influence as to how it is spent.
If the proposed (modest IMHO) 1.9% rise will generate more than is lost by missing out on the central government grant then it is in the long run worth it. It does not matter to me whether the funding is raised locally or nationally as I am a net contributor to both but at least at local level I can have more influence as to how it is spent. swindondad

10:38am Fri 13 Dec 13

Russell Holland says...

Artist - the reason for the increase in demand for services is demographics. More people are living for longer with more complex health conditions. For children in care this is something that does vary from year to year. A lot of work has been done in respect of controlling the costs in respect of adult social care.

Representations to central government are made through the Local Government Association and I am gathering together some data to make some representations myself

Tyran - I am not saying everything is perfect or that we can be complacent but overall the Council does a good job and with a lower tax and low funding than most other authorities. There are examples of where savings can be made but a lot of savings have already been made.
Artist - the reason for the increase in demand for services is demographics. More people are living for longer with more complex health conditions. For children in care this is something that does vary from year to year. A lot of work has been done in respect of controlling the costs in respect of adult social care. Representations to central government are made through the Local Government Association and I am gathering together some data to make some representations myself Tyran - I am not saying everything is perfect or that we can be complacent but overall the Council does a good job and with a lower tax and low funding than most other authorities. There are examples of where savings can be made but a lot of savings have already been made. Russell Holland

10:42am Fri 13 Dec 13

Ringer says...

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man wrote:
So if we're an "underfunded" council (in terms of money from central government), I've heard this many times over the years, but nothing ever seems to be done about it. What are our councillors and MP's doing to rectify this situation?

Given that circa 70% of everything I earned last year was then taken away from me in various taxes, I think I'm paying enough thanks.

Has anyone asked why demand for these services is increasing? Surely the thing to do would be to look at the root cause rather than throwing more and more money that we don't have merely to treat the symptoms?
The welfare state is essentially a downward spiral. We're nearing the end of it and that's why they're having to try and raise even more tax revenue to attempt to pay for services and benefits that have been completely unaffordable for around two decades.

It's getting worse and can/will only continue to get worse. The ONLY upside is that, eventually, it will all have to come to an end. The downside is that the politicians will do their best to spin it out for as long as possible and thus ensure that the misery is endured for longer than necessary.

The one thing you will never, ever hear is the state, or those on benefits, say, 'Thanks, that's enough now'. As you correctly point out, even those on the lower rate of tax now have around 70 to 75% of their income taken from them under duress by the State through the taxation system. Ironically, the UK system now operates under a more hardcore version of Communism than China or the Russia ever has.
[quote][p][bold]The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man[/bold] wrote: So if we're an "underfunded" council (in terms of money from central government), I've heard this many times over the years, but nothing ever seems to be done about it. What are our councillors and MP's doing to rectify this situation? Given that circa 70% of everything I earned last year was then taken away from me in various taxes, I think I'm paying enough thanks. Has anyone asked why demand for these services is increasing? Surely the thing to do would be to look at the root cause rather than throwing more and more money that we don't have merely to treat the symptoms?[/p][/quote]The welfare state is essentially a downward spiral. We're nearing the end of it and that's why they're having to try and raise even more tax revenue to attempt to pay for services and benefits that have been completely unaffordable for around two decades. It's getting worse and can/will only continue to get worse. The ONLY upside is that, eventually, it will all have to come to an end. The downside is that the politicians will do their best to spin it out for as long as possible and thus ensure that the misery is endured for longer than necessary. The one thing you will never, ever hear is the state, or those on benefits, say, 'Thanks, that's enough now'. As you correctly point out, even those on the lower rate of tax now have around 70 to 75% of their income taken from them under duress by the State through the taxation system. Ironically, the UK system now operates under a more hardcore version of Communism than China or the Russia ever has. Ringer

10:43am Fri 13 Dec 13

Hmmmf says...

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man wrote:
So if we're an "underfunded" council (in terms of money from central government), I've heard this many times over the years, but nothing ever seems to be done about it. What are our councillors and MP's doing to rectify this situation?

Given that circa 70% of everything I earned last year was then taken away from me in various taxes, I think I'm paying enough thanks.

Has anyone asked why demand for these services is increasing? Surely the thing to do would be to look at the root cause rather than throwing more and more money that we don't have merely to treat the symptoms?
Hear, hear.
[quote][p][bold]The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man[/bold] wrote: So if we're an "underfunded" council (in terms of money from central government), I've heard this many times over the years, but nothing ever seems to be done about it. What are our councillors and MP's doing to rectify this situation? Given that circa 70% of everything I earned last year was then taken away from me in various taxes, I think I'm paying enough thanks. Has anyone asked why demand for these services is increasing? Surely the thing to do would be to look at the root cause rather than throwing more and more money that we don't have merely to treat the symptoms?[/p][/quote]Hear, hear. Hmmmf

11:01am Fri 13 Dec 13

Tyran66 says...

@ Russell.

Not perfect? That's political understatement if ever I heard it. The council are wasteful, I don't expect them to be perfect but does it take a rocket scientist (going back to my example of groundwell) to see spending £800 on weed killer would have saved them £100k+ in tarmac surface - hell you may have even been able to lease the site. Not anymore.

As for Swindon's low grant, I accept that is the case. The solution is to be more efficient, renegotiate contracts and examine every aspect of council spending. But also please do not overlook the fact that we already have reduced services in comparison to much of the country. Fortnightly rubbish collections for example? You know the reason I have to get a ladder out and stand on my bin every Thursday night so that it fits (family of 4).

If a council tax rise is coming, then we will accept it. Were British we always do! But I reiterate, do not hide behind vulnerable families as an excuse to increase rates when it is patently obvious many factors are at work here. Whilst I am sure as a population we do care about the venerable, - very few people care more about them than their own family - myself included.

At this rate we will all be soon be vulnerable !
@ Russell. Not perfect? That's political understatement if ever I heard it. The council are wasteful, I don't expect them to be perfect but does it take a rocket scientist (going back to my example of groundwell) to see spending £800 on weed killer would have saved them £100k+ in tarmac surface - hell you may have even been able to lease the site. Not anymore. As for Swindon's low grant, I accept that is the case. The solution is to be more efficient, renegotiate contracts and examine every aspect of council spending. But also please do not overlook the fact that we already have reduced services in comparison to much of the country. Fortnightly rubbish collections for example? You know the reason I have to get a ladder out and stand on my bin every Thursday night so that it fits (family of 4). If a council tax rise is coming, then we will accept it. Were British we always do! But I reiterate, do not hide behind vulnerable families as an excuse to increase rates when it is patently obvious many factors are at work here. Whilst I am sure as a population we do care about the venerable, - very few people care more about them than their own family - myself included. At this rate we will all be soon be vulnerable ! Tyran66

11:10am Fri 13 Dec 13

Russell Holland says...

Tyran - the reasons for the financial pressures put simply are as follows:
-Demographic change means that more people have greater levels of need than before.
-we are facing unprecedented funding cuts to our central grant.
- changes in government policy can cost councils more money
- there is a desire from central government to freeze council tax

Council spending has been heavily examined and a large number of savings have been delivered. To give some examples - kerbside recycling, better council tax collection, creating a community enterprise for adult social care, reducing levels of management to name a few.

This is a decision for Council, we can freeze tax for 2014-15 but it is the consequences for 2015-16 which concern me.
Tyran - the reasons for the financial pressures put simply are as follows: -Demographic change means that more people have greater levels of need than before. -we are facing unprecedented funding cuts to our central grant. - changes in government policy can cost councils more money - there is a desire from central government to freeze council tax Council spending has been heavily examined and a large number of savings have been delivered. To give some examples - kerbside recycling, better council tax collection, creating a community enterprise for adult social care, reducing levels of management to name a few. This is a decision for Council, we can freeze tax for 2014-15 but it is the consequences for 2015-16 which concern me. Russell Holland

11:22am Fri 13 Dec 13

scottwichall says...

Russell Holland wrote:
Tyran - the reasons for the financial pressures put simply are as follows:
-Demographic change means that more people have greater levels of need than before.
-we are facing unprecedented funding cuts to our central grant.
- changes in government policy can cost councils more money
- there is a desire from central government to freeze council tax

Council spending has been heavily examined and a large number of savings have been delivered. To give some examples - kerbside recycling, better council tax collection, creating a community enterprise for adult social care, reducing levels of management to name a few.

This is a decision for Council, we can freeze tax for 2014-15 but it is the consequences for 2015-16 which concern me.
But how many back office "non jobs" are still in existence Mr Holland? You know the ones I mean, all those created by worthless Central Government / EU Edicts.

How many fake charities are we continuing to fund locally and nationally?

How many hectoring, hand waving, pinch faced nannies are we paying for to tell us how to run our lives?

The list just goes on and on.

Go on, admit it, I bet there is a 5 a day coordinator somewhere in the bowels of SBC.
[quote][p][bold]Russell Holland[/bold] wrote: Tyran - the reasons for the financial pressures put simply are as follows: -Demographic change means that more people have greater levels of need than before. -we are facing unprecedented funding cuts to our central grant. - changes in government policy can cost councils more money - there is a desire from central government to freeze council tax Council spending has been heavily examined and a large number of savings have been delivered. To give some examples - kerbside recycling, better council tax collection, creating a community enterprise for adult social care, reducing levels of management to name a few. This is a decision for Council, we can freeze tax for 2014-15 but it is the consequences for 2015-16 which concern me.[/p][/quote]But how many back office "non jobs" are still in existence Mr Holland? You know the ones I mean, all those created by worthless Central Government / EU Edicts. How many fake charities are we continuing to fund locally and nationally? How many hectoring, hand waving, pinch faced nannies are we paying for to tell us how to run our lives? The list just goes on and on. Go on, admit it, I bet there is a 5 a day coordinator somewhere in the bowels of SBC. scottwichall

11:32am Fri 13 Dec 13

Ringer says...


-Demographic change means that more people have greater levels of need than before.


This, of course, is the politician's sanitised way of saying:


The welfare state is essentially a downward spiral. We're nearing the end of it and that's why they're having to try and raise even more tax revenue to attempt to pay for services and benefits that have been completely unaffordable for around two decades.


From what Mr Holland has said in his posts on this thread, it seems it's not just Mr Clegg & party's ideology that's an issue with the current administration.
[quote] -Demographic change means that more people have greater levels of need than before. [/quote] This, of course, is the politician's sanitised way of saying: [quote] The welfare state is essentially a downward spiral. We're nearing the end of it and that's why they're having to try and raise even more tax revenue to attempt to pay for services and benefits that have been completely unaffordable for around two decades. [/quote] From what Mr Holland has said in his posts on this thread, it seems it's not just Mr Clegg & party's ideology that's an issue with the current administration. Ringer

11:40am Fri 13 Dec 13

The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man says...

Russell Holland wrote:
Tyran - the reasons for the financial pressures put simply are as follows:
-Demographic change means that more people have greater levels of need than before.
-we are facing unprecedented funding cuts to our central grant.
- changes in government policy can cost councils more money
- there is a desire from central government to freeze council tax

Council spending has been heavily examined and a large number of savings have been delivered. To give some examples - kerbside recycling, better council tax collection, creating a community enterprise for adult social care, reducing levels of management to name a few.

This is a decision for Council, we can freeze tax for 2014-15 but it is the consequences for 2015-16 which concern me.
Stating "demographic change" as a reason for people facing greater levels of "need" is still talking about the symptom.

Why is demographic change occurring? It's been known about for a very long time, so why has government (both local and national) not considered it and reformed before it becomes a crisis? Why are people not taking responsibility for themselves and expecting the state to provide for them? Why is there an increase in children requiring social care, and what's being done about that? So many questions and very few answers...

This story does at least provide a possible answer to why this council seemingly wants to cripple the town with zero investment in infrastructure while building thousands upon thousands of houses in the area - Think of all that lovely council tax rolling in!
[quote][p][bold]Russell Holland[/bold] wrote: Tyran - the reasons for the financial pressures put simply are as follows: -Demographic change means that more people have greater levels of need than before. -we are facing unprecedented funding cuts to our central grant. - changes in government policy can cost councils more money - there is a desire from central government to freeze council tax Council spending has been heavily examined and a large number of savings have been delivered. To give some examples - kerbside recycling, better council tax collection, creating a community enterprise for adult social care, reducing levels of management to name a few. This is a decision for Council, we can freeze tax for 2014-15 but it is the consequences for 2015-16 which concern me.[/p][/quote]Stating "demographic change" as a reason for people facing greater levels of "need" is still talking about the symptom. Why is demographic change occurring? It's been known about for a very long time, so why has government (both local and national) not considered it and reformed before it becomes a crisis? Why are people not taking responsibility for themselves and expecting the state to provide for them? Why is there an increase in children requiring social care, and what's being done about that? So many questions and very few answers... This story does at least provide a possible answer to why this council seemingly wants to cripple the town with zero investment in infrastructure while building thousands upon thousands of houses in the area - Think of all that lovely council tax rolling in! The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man

12:22pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Ringer says...

It's actually very easily explained:

1. The unaffordable NHS means that people are living longer and therefore requiring more and more health care that is less and less affordable.

2. That same life expectancy increase has meant that public sector pensions have been completely unaffordable for decades.

3. The welfare state benefit system rewards those who do nothing with free housing, free money and free healthcare. These rewards are increased and maximised by having more children. This then becomes unsustainably unaffordable.

4. Uncontrolled, mass immigration has further strained the welfare state and will continue to do so by around 200,000 incomers per year. The current government has promised to cut these numbers but, as revealed only the other week, have actually presided over an INCREASE.

5. Records numbers of people have been emigrating out of the UK. These tend to include high earners and the very well qualified.

In short, the welfare state is destroying itself - as anyone with even basic intelligence levels has known would always be the case, it's impossible for any other outcome to occur.
It's actually very easily explained: 1. The unaffordable NHS means that people are living longer and therefore requiring more and more health care that is less and less affordable. 2. That same life expectancy increase has meant that public sector pensions have been completely unaffordable for decades. 3. The welfare state benefit system rewards those who do nothing with free housing, free money and free healthcare. These rewards are increased and maximised by having more children. This then becomes unsustainably unaffordable. 4. Uncontrolled, mass immigration has further strained the welfare state and will continue to do so by around 200,000 incomers per year. The current government has promised to cut these numbers but, as revealed only the other week, have actually presided over an INCREASE. 5. Records numbers of people have been emigrating out of the UK. These tend to include high earners and the very well qualified. In short, the welfare state is destroying itself - as anyone with even basic intelligence levels has known would always be the case, it's impossible for any other outcome to occur. Ringer

12:26pm Fri 13 Dec 13

house on the hill says...

scottwichall wrote:
Russell Holland wrote:
Tyran - the reasons for the financial pressures put simply are as follows:
-Demographic change means that more people have greater levels of need than before.
-we are facing unprecedented funding cuts to our central grant.
- changes in government policy can cost councils more money
- there is a desire from central government to freeze council tax

Council spending has been heavily examined and a large number of savings have been delivered. To give some examples - kerbside recycling, better council tax collection, creating a community enterprise for adult social care, reducing levels of management to name a few.

This is a decision for Council, we can freeze tax for 2014-15 but it is the consequences for 2015-16 which concern me.
But how many back office "non jobs" are still in existence Mr Holland? You know the ones I mean, all those created by worthless Central Government / EU Edicts.

How many fake charities are we continuing to fund locally and nationally?

How many hectoring, hand waving, pinch faced nannies are we paying for to tell us how to run our lives?

The list just goes on and on.

Go on, admit it, I bet there is a 5 a day coordinator somewhere in the bowels of SBC.
Scottwichel, you have no idea. For those who have experienced first hand the unbelievable waste and incompetence in the council, being told we have to pay more is an insult. The endless layers of management, pen pushers, perfomance figures comparing us with other councils which are completely meaningless as nowhere is is exactly like Swindon. The "old school" working practices that waste £millions, the hundreds of staff well past their sell by date and to many who never even had one, making error after error with no consequences.

If you have worked in both private and public sectors it makes you wonder how some councils actually still survive being run they way they are. If it wasnt for the fact they are a non competative monopoly with a guaranteed customer base and income and were like any other business and we had a choice for our services they would have gone bust years ago. The complacency and incompetance are staggering. Where i work now, I would reckon less that 20% of council staff would last past a week, being customer focused, constantly adapting and changing to market conditions, being responsible for their decisions and actually turning up and working. Council staff dont work efficiently because they dont have to. Where else can we go for our services? so complacency sets in and then a whole "cant be bothered" attitude that is shared by so many there. I was ashamed to work there.
[quote][p][bold]scottwichall[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Russell Holland[/bold] wrote: Tyran - the reasons for the financial pressures put simply are as follows: -Demographic change means that more people have greater levels of need than before. -we are facing unprecedented funding cuts to our central grant. - changes in government policy can cost councils more money - there is a desire from central government to freeze council tax Council spending has been heavily examined and a large number of savings have been delivered. To give some examples - kerbside recycling, better council tax collection, creating a community enterprise for adult social care, reducing levels of management to name a few. This is a decision for Council, we can freeze tax for 2014-15 but it is the consequences for 2015-16 which concern me.[/p][/quote]But how many back office "non jobs" are still in existence Mr Holland? You know the ones I mean, all those created by worthless Central Government / EU Edicts. How many fake charities are we continuing to fund locally and nationally? How many hectoring, hand waving, pinch faced nannies are we paying for to tell us how to run our lives? The list just goes on and on. Go on, admit it, I bet there is a 5 a day coordinator somewhere in the bowels of SBC.[/p][/quote]Scottwichel, you have no idea. For those who have experienced first hand the unbelievable waste and incompetence in the council, being told we have to pay more is an insult. The endless layers of management, pen pushers, perfomance figures comparing us with other councils which are completely meaningless as nowhere is is exactly like Swindon. The "old school" working practices that waste £millions, the hundreds of staff well past their sell by date and to many who never even had one, making error after error with no consequences. If you have worked in both private and public sectors it makes you wonder how some councils actually still survive being run they way they are. If it wasnt for the fact they are a non competative monopoly with a guaranteed customer base and income and were like any other business and we had a choice for our services they would have gone bust years ago. The complacency and incompetance are staggering. Where i work now, I would reckon less that 20% of council staff would last past a week, being customer focused, constantly adapting and changing to market conditions, being responsible for their decisions and actually turning up and working. Council staff dont work efficiently because they dont have to. Where else can we go for our services? so complacency sets in and then a whole "cant be bothered" attitude that is shared by so many there. I was ashamed to work there. house on the hill

12:31pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Phantom Poster says...

Ringer wrote:
The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man wrote:
So if we're an "underfunded" council (in terms of money from central government), I've heard this many times over the years, but nothing ever seems to be done about it. What are our councillors and MP's doing to rectify this situation?

Given that circa 70% of everything I earned last year was then taken away from me in various taxes, I think I'm paying enough thanks.

Has anyone asked why demand for these services is increasing? Surely the thing to do would be to look at the root cause rather than throwing more and more money that we don't have merely to treat the symptoms?
The welfare state is essentially a downward spiral. We're nearing the end of it and that's why they're having to try and raise even more tax revenue to attempt to pay for services and benefits that have been completely unaffordable for around two decades.

It's getting worse and can/will only continue to get worse. The ONLY upside is that, eventually, it will all have to come to an end. The downside is that the politicians will do their best to spin it out for as long as possible and thus ensure that the misery is endured for longer than necessary.

The one thing you will never, ever hear is the state, or those on benefits, say, 'Thanks, that's enough now'. As you correctly point out, even those on the lower rate of tax now have around 70 to 75% of their income taken from them under duress by the State through the taxation system. Ironically, the UK system now operates under a more hardcore version of Communism than China or the Russia ever has.
Well I've been to Russia under communism, so I can assure you that you are talking absolute ****.

If only MPs would say 'thanks ,that's enough' when offered a pay rise.
[quote][p][bold]Ringer[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]The Artist formally known as Grumpy Old Man[/bold] wrote: So if we're an "underfunded" council (in terms of money from central government), I've heard this many times over the years, but nothing ever seems to be done about it. What are our councillors and MP's doing to rectify this situation? Given that circa 70% of everything I earned last year was then taken away from me in various taxes, I think I'm paying enough thanks. Has anyone asked why demand for these services is increasing? Surely the thing to do would be to look at the root cause rather than throwing more and more money that we don't have merely to treat the symptoms?[/p][/quote]The welfare state is essentially a downward spiral. We're nearing the end of it and that's why they're having to try and raise even more tax revenue to attempt to pay for services and benefits that have been completely unaffordable for around two decades. It's getting worse and can/will only continue to get worse. The ONLY upside is that, eventually, it will all have to come to an end. The downside is that the politicians will do their best to spin it out for as long as possible and thus ensure that the misery is endured for longer than necessary. The one thing you will never, ever hear is the state, or those on benefits, say, 'Thanks, that's enough now'. As you correctly point out, even those on the lower rate of tax now have around 70 to 75% of their income taken from them under duress by the State through the taxation system. Ironically, the UK system now operates under a more hardcore version of Communism than China or the Russia ever has.[/p][/quote]Well I've been to Russia under communism, so I can assure you that you are talking absolute ****. If only MPs would say 'thanks ,that's enough' when offered a pay rise. Phantom Poster

12:35pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Hmmmf says...

Russell Holland wrote:
Artist - the reason for the increase in demand for services is demographics. More people are living for longer with more complex health conditions.

This is an oft-repeated lie, and sadly uttered far too often to justify all manner of spending and demands for money, not least from the NHS.
http://goo.gl/wkbQ6d


Independent wrote:
The so-called old age “time bomb” – the anticipated burden that our ageing population will place on taxpayers – may have been exaggerated, experts have said.
In a cheering review of population data, researchers from the University of Edinburgh say that the number of dependent older people in the UK has actually fallen by a third in the past four decades, and is likely to stabilise at its current levels.

Just as a matter of interest, what happened to the £6M 'reserve fund for emergencies' put aside in the 2013/14 budget?
[quote][p][bold]Russell Holland[/bold] wrote: Artist - the reason for the increase in demand for services is demographics. More people are living for longer with more complex health conditions. [/quote] This is an oft-repeated lie, and sadly uttered far too often to justify all manner of spending and demands for money, not least from the NHS. http://goo.gl/wkbQ6d [quote][p][bold]Independent[/bold] wrote: The so-called old age “time bomb” – the anticipated burden that our ageing population will place on taxpayers – may have been exaggerated, experts have said. In a cheering review of population data, researchers from the University of Edinburgh say that the number of dependent older people in the UK has actually fallen by a third in the past four decades, and is likely to stabilise at its current levels. [/quote] Just as a matter of interest, what happened to the £6M 'reserve fund for emergencies' put aside in the 2013/14 budget? Hmmmf

12:38pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Hmmmf says...

Phantom Poster wrote:
If only MPs would say 'thanks ,that's enough' when offered a pay rise.

Would you? (Assuming you're not a Union member holding out for more, of course).
[quote][p][bold]Phantom Poster[/bold] wrote: If only MPs would say 'thanks ,that's enough' when offered a pay rise.[/quote] Would you? (Assuming you're not a Union member holding out for more, of course). Hmmmf

12:38pm Fri 13 Dec 13

knittynora says...

Ringer says
"People did not vote for a Communist council in Swindon. Russell Holland is extremely misguided in this instance."
"Ironically, the UK system now operates under a more hardcore version of Communism than China or the Russia ever has."

Calling Planet Ringer: return to Earth immediately and contact your GP. You are suffering from sensory overload.
Ringer says "People did not vote for a Communist council in Swindon. Russell Holland is extremely misguided in this instance." "Ironically, the UK system now operates under a more hardcore version of Communism than China or the Russia ever has." Calling Planet Ringer: return to Earth immediately and contact your GP. You are suffering from sensory overload. knittynora

12:43pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Empty Car Park says...

A councillor wrote
overall the Council does a good job .....


Yes.
I do a good job too.
Absolutely excellent
A councillor wrote [quote]overall the Council does a good job ..... [/quote] Yes. I do a good job too. Absolutely excellent Empty Car Park

12:52pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Phantom Poster says...

Hmmmf wrote:
Phantom Poster wrote:
If only MPs would say 'thanks ,that's enough' when offered a pay rise.

Would you? (Assuming you're not a Union member holding out for more, of course).
I've never been in a union and would accept any pay rise offered. It was a reference to the post I was posting.

However, having said that - if I was in a public position saying that we are 'all in it together' and keeping down public sector wages I think I might find it so embarrassingly hypocrital that I might not accept it

Didn't firemans pay get reviewed some years ago by an independent body, with a recommendation to raise their pay?
[quote][p][bold]Hmmmf[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Phantom Poster[/bold] wrote: If only MPs would say 'thanks ,that's enough' when offered a pay rise.[/quote] Would you? (Assuming you're not a Union member holding out for more, of course).[/p][/quote]I've never been in a union and would accept any pay rise offered. It was a reference to the post I was posting. However, having said that - if I was in a public position saying that we are 'all in it together' and keeping down public sector wages I think I might find it so embarrassingly hypocrital that I might not accept it Didn't firemans pay get reviewed some years ago by an independent body, with a recommendation to raise their pay? Phantom Poster

12:55pm Fri 13 Dec 13

house on the hill says...

"""Empty Car Park says...

A councillor wrote
overall the Council does a good job ....."""

Compared to what a tortoise on sleeping pills? There are one of the most wasteful inefficient companies in the town and would have gone bust years ago as their customers deserted them if we had anywhere else to go. That councillor clearly needs to get out more!!!!
"""Empty Car Park says... A councillor wrote overall the Council does a good job .....""" Compared to what a tortoise on sleeping pills? There are one of the most wasteful inefficient companies in the town and would have gone bust years ago as their customers deserted them if we had anywhere else to go. That councillor clearly needs to get out more!!!! house on the hill

1:15pm Fri 13 Dec 13

James Smith Bowser says...

And once again important debate for the majority is dragged into trollish name calling by the minority.

Yawn.
And once again important debate for the majority is dragged into trollish name calling by the minority. Yawn. James Smith Bowser

1:58pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Ringer says...

Empty Car Park wrote:
A councillor wrote
overall the Council does a good job .....


Yes.
I do a good job too.
Absolutely excellent
I find that very hard to believe.
[quote][p][bold]Empty Car Park[/bold] wrote: A councillor wrote [quote]overall the Council does a good job ..... [/quote] Yes. I do a good job too. Absolutely excellent[/p][/quote]I find that very hard to believe. Ringer

2:03pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Ringer says...

knittynora wrote:
Ringer says
"People did not vote for a Communist council in Swindon. Russell Holland is extremely misguided in this instance."
"Ironically, the UK system now operates under a more hardcore version of Communism than China or the Russia ever has."

Calling Planet Ringer: return to Earth immediately and contact your GP. You are suffering from sensory overload.
In a true Communist economy, everyone contributes equally and takes equally.

In the UK economy, the top 1% contribute c.40% of everything with the bottom 53% contributing absolutely nothing at all or less than they take.


53.4 per cent of British households take more in benefits and services than they contribute in taxes.

The study was based on figures from the Office for National Statistics, and demonstrates that only the top 20 per cent of earners are paying significantly more to the state – an average of £20,125-a-year – than they receive in benefits and public services. Middle income households, meanwhile, take out £4,589 more than they contribute.

The proportion of takers as opposed to givers has risen from 43.1 per cent in 1979.


Still, this socialist la-la land nonsense will thankfully all be over soon because the money's run out and, eventually, even their lies won't be able to hide the fact.
[quote][p][bold]knittynora[/bold] wrote: Ringer says "People did not vote for a Communist council in Swindon. Russell Holland is extremely misguided in this instance." "Ironically, the UK system now operates under a more hardcore version of Communism than China or the Russia ever has." Calling Planet Ringer: return to Earth immediately and contact your GP. You are suffering from sensory overload.[/p][/quote]In a true Communist economy, everyone contributes equally and takes equally. In the UK economy, the top 1% contribute c.40% of everything with the bottom 53% contributing absolutely nothing at all or less than they take. [quote] 53.4 per cent of British households take more in benefits and services than they contribute in taxes. The study was based on figures from the Office for National Statistics, and demonstrates that only the top 20 per cent of earners are paying significantly more to the state – an average of £20,125-a-year – than they receive in benefits and public services. Middle income households, meanwhile, take out £4,589 more than they contribute. The proportion of takers as opposed to givers has risen from 43.1 per cent in 1979. [/quote] Still, this socialist la-la land nonsense will thankfully all be over soon because the money's run out and, eventually, even their lies won't be able to hide the fact. Ringer

3:30pm Fri 13 Dec 13

dukeofM4 says...

Unless you disagree with the principle, hey it's only £2 a month.
Unless you disagree with the principle, hey it's only £2 a month. dukeofM4

3:55pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Harold01 says...

Russell Holland wrote:
Thanks for comments.

The final decision will be made by full Council in February. I was setting out the realities of a freeze or increase in Council tax. I have not made a final recommendation to Council.

Swindon has always had a much lower than average amount of government grant and our Council tax is 7% lower than the average unitary council. If every Council in the country had a Council tax as low as Swindon's and also had the same level of funding as Swindon then the scale of the cuts would not have been necessary.

The big advantage of a freeze is that it helps with the cost of living the big disadvantaged of a freeze is that we have less money to spend and therefore the nature of the services we provide will have to change.

The money we spent to help vulnerable adults and children are people with disabilities, social care needs and in the case of children it will be children with disabilities or who have been abused. It is not money that is spent on benefits. In any event as I have said before most people on benefits work but are on low incomes and many more would like to work but cannot because of health issues, caring responsibilities or because they struggle to find work.

The reality is that most people do not directly receive the benefits of the services that most of their services pay for.

Swindon Council is having its grant reduced. We know that because more people are living for longer there is increased demand for those services that we are legally obliged to provide. If the Government is going to reduce our income but require us to continue to provide services which have costs then we cannot provide the same level of service.

£22 a year equates to about 48pence per week and is less than the rate of inflation.

I did not raise the possibility of a Council tax increase because I believed it would make me more popular, I have raised it because people need to be aware of the long term implications to our services.

The reality is that we can freeze our tax for the budget for 2014-15 but this does require difficult decisions - charging for green waste, reducing collections to once a week, the Council not providing leisure services directly. The decisions will become even more difficult when setting the budget for 2015-16.

Services need to be paid for and it is not possible to continue to provide the services we provide with unprecedented cuts to our budgets from central government.

I again emphasise that I have not made any final recommendations and this will be a decision for full Council.

This is an important debate to have and I welcome comments and discussion. As a Councillor I consider that I have duty to set out the implications of a freeze in Council tax or an increase.
Russell,

Thanks for clearly laying out the background and options.
I am happy to support the £22 a year increase to help the vulnerable and disabled.
[quote][p][bold]Russell Holland[/bold] wrote: Thanks for comments. The final decision will be made by full Council in February. I was setting out the realities of a freeze or increase in Council tax. I have not made a final recommendation to Council. Swindon has always had a much lower than average amount of government grant and our Council tax is 7% lower than the average unitary council. If every Council in the country had a Council tax as low as Swindon's and also had the same level of funding as Swindon then the scale of the cuts would not have been necessary. The big advantage of a freeze is that it helps with the cost of living the big disadvantaged of a freeze is that we have less money to spend and therefore the nature of the services we provide will have to change. The money we spent to help vulnerable adults and children are people with disabilities, social care needs and in the case of children it will be children with disabilities or who have been abused. It is not money that is spent on benefits. In any event as I have said before most people on benefits work but are on low incomes and many more would like to work but cannot because of health issues, caring responsibilities or because they struggle to find work. The reality is that most people do not directly receive the benefits of the services that most of their services pay for. Swindon Council is having its grant reduced. We know that because more people are living for longer there is increased demand for those services that we are legally obliged to provide. If the Government is going to reduce our income but require us to continue to provide services which have costs then we cannot provide the same level of service. £22 a year equates to about 48pence per week and is less than the rate of inflation. I did not raise the possibility of a Council tax increase because I believed it would make me more popular, I have raised it because people need to be aware of the long term implications to our services. The reality is that we can freeze our tax for the budget for 2014-15 but this does require difficult decisions - charging for green waste, reducing collections to once a week, the Council not providing leisure services directly. The decisions will become even more difficult when setting the budget for 2015-16. Services need to be paid for and it is not possible to continue to provide the services we provide with unprecedented cuts to our budgets from central government. I again emphasise that I have not made any final recommendations and this will be a decision for full Council. This is an important debate to have and I welcome comments and discussion. As a Councillor I consider that I have duty to set out the implications of a freeze in Council tax or an increase.[/p][/quote]Russell, Thanks for clearly laying out the background and options. I am happy to support the £22 a year increase to help the vulnerable and disabled. Harold01

3:57pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Empty Car Park says...

Ringer wrote:
Empty Car Park wrote:
A councillor wrote
overall the Council does a good job .....


Yes.
I do a good job too.
Absolutely excellent
I find that very hard to believe.
I totally agree.
I also find it very hard to believe that the council does a good job
[quote][p][bold]Ringer[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Empty Car Park[/bold] wrote: A councillor wrote [quote]overall the Council does a good job ..... [/quote] Yes. I do a good job too. Absolutely excellent[/p][/quote]I find that very hard to believe.[/p][/quote]I totally agree. I also find it very hard to believe that the council does a good job Empty Car Park

3:59pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Russell Holland says...

Thank you everyone for comments.

It is clear that there are some strong opinions and I hope that this debate will continue in the run up to the vote next month.
Thank you everyone for comments. It is clear that there are some strong opinions and I hope that this debate will continue in the run up to the vote next month. Russell Holland

4:14pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Davey Gravey says...

If services are to be improved or at least remain the same then I am for the rise in tax. If services are cut then I'm against it.
If services are to be improved or at least remain the same then I am for the rise in tax. If services are cut then I'm against it. Davey Gravey

4:32pm Fri 13 Dec 13

house on the hill says...

Davey Gravey wrote:
If services are to be improved or at least remain the same then I am for the rise in tax. If services are cut then I'm against it.
More money doesn't guarantee more or better services, it is how you spend the money that counts. Pouring more money into an already wasteful inefficient service will probably have no effect whatsoever. With over 100 Council staff on in excess of £50k a year (not including pensions and other benefits) out of a workforce of only 1500 is too top heavy and needs to be cut, you wont find many private sector companies of that size with that proportion of higher earners if any. Way too many chiefs and too many inefficient indians too!
[quote][p][bold]Davey Gravey[/bold] wrote: If services are to be improved or at least remain the same then I am for the rise in tax. If services are cut then I'm against it.[/p][/quote]More money doesn't guarantee more or better services, it is how you spend the money that counts. Pouring more money into an already wasteful inefficient service will probably have no effect whatsoever. With over 100 Council staff on in excess of £50k a year (not including pensions and other benefits) out of a workforce of only 1500 is too top heavy and needs to be cut, you wont find many private sector companies of that size with that proportion of higher earners if any. Way too many chiefs and too many inefficient indians too! house on the hill

4:50pm Fri 13 Dec 13

keyboardcapers says...

I lost my son and granddaughter to Australia two years ago, because as he said there is no prospect/future in this Country anymore. Both him and his wife are now in professional work and earn more money than they ever would if they stayed in this Country.

However, as someone on this thread said, looking after the elderly is costing the state. If we are that much of a burden then why don’t they legalize euthanasia - I would be gone tomorrow.
I lost my son and granddaughter to Australia two years ago, because as he said there is no prospect/future in this Country anymore. Both him and his wife are now in professional work and earn more money than they ever would if they stayed in this Country. However, as someone on this thread said, looking after the elderly is costing the state. If we are that much of a burden then why don’t they legalize euthanasia - I would be gone tomorrow. keyboardcapers

6:34pm Fri 13 Dec 13

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

Russell Holland wrote:
Thank you everyone for comments.

It is clear that there are some strong opinions and I hope that this debate will continue in the run up to the vote next month.
It doesn't matter whether the debate continues or not. The Councillors have a track record of ignoring the electorate and doing whatever they want.

They will increase council tax and their allowances will rise as well.

Its time that this country has annual or biannual referendums on the key issues to see what the people want. If people don't vote in them they forfeit the right to complain.
[quote][p][bold]Russell Holland[/bold] wrote: Thank you everyone for comments. It is clear that there are some strong opinions and I hope that this debate will continue in the run up to the vote next month.[/p][/quote]It doesn't matter whether the debate continues or not. The Councillors have a track record of ignoring the electorate and doing whatever they want. They will increase council tax and their allowances will rise as well. Its time that this country has annual or biannual referendums on the key issues to see what the people want. If people don't vote in them they forfeit the right to complain. LordAshOfTheBrake

6:36pm Fri 13 Dec 13

house on the hill says...

keyboardcapers wrote:
I lost my son and granddaughter to Australia two years ago, because as he said there is no prospect/future in this Country anymore. Both him and his wife are now in professional work and earn more money than they ever would if they stayed in this Country.

However, as someone on this thread said, looking after the elderly is costing the state. If we are that much of a burden then why don’t they legalize euthanasia - I would be gone tomorrow.
Or maybe just be better prepared for your retirement? Not all can but more than a few just dont bother to save and spend all they earn when young instead of realising they could have 25 years or so in retirement and do they want to rely on benefits and not have the money to enjoy it? its about balance, enjoy now but also remember for the vast majority there is a tomorrow too.
[quote][p][bold]keyboardcapers[/bold] wrote: I lost my son and granddaughter to Australia two years ago, because as he said there is no prospect/future in this Country anymore. Both him and his wife are now in professional work and earn more money than they ever would if they stayed in this Country. However, as someone on this thread said, looking after the elderly is costing the state. If we are that much of a burden then why don’t they legalize euthanasia - I would be gone tomorrow.[/p][/quote]Or maybe just be better prepared for your retirement? Not all can but more than a few just dont bother to save and spend all they earn when young instead of realising they could have 25 years or so in retirement and do they want to rely on benefits and not have the money to enjoy it? its about balance, enjoy now but also remember for the vast majority there is a tomorrow too. house on the hill

7:02pm Fri 13 Dec 13

keyboardcapers says...

house on the hill wrote:
keyboardcapers wrote:
I lost my son and granddaughter to Australia two years ago, because as he said there is no prospect/future in this Country anymore. Both him and his wife are now in professional work and earn more money than they ever would if they stayed in this Country.

However, as someone on this thread said, looking after the elderly is costing the state. If we are that much of a burden then why don’t they legalize euthanasia - I would be gone tomorrow.
Or maybe just be better prepared for your retirement? Not all can but more than a few just dont bother to save and spend all they earn when young instead of realising they could have 25 years or so in retirement and do they want to rely on benefits and not have the money to enjoy it? its about balance, enjoy now but also remember for the vast majority there is a tomorrow too.
You don’t know my circumstances or to what I have done to keep a roof over my head. However, I have never abused money or been in debt or owed a penny to anyone in my life.

I am just fed up being blamed for living longer.
[quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]keyboardcapers[/bold] wrote: I lost my son and granddaughter to Australia two years ago, because as he said there is no prospect/future in this Country anymore. Both him and his wife are now in professional work and earn more money than they ever would if they stayed in this Country. However, as someone on this thread said, looking after the elderly is costing the state. If we are that much of a burden then why don’t they legalize euthanasia - I would be gone tomorrow.[/p][/quote]Or maybe just be better prepared for your retirement? Not all can but more than a few just dont bother to save and spend all they earn when young instead of realising they could have 25 years or so in retirement and do they want to rely on benefits and not have the money to enjoy it? its about balance, enjoy now but also remember for the vast majority there is a tomorrow too.[/p][/quote]You don’t know my circumstances or to what I have done to keep a roof over my head. However, I have never abused money or been in debt or owed a penny to anyone in my life. I am just fed up being blamed for living longer. keyboardcapers

8:11pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Phantom Poster says...

house on the hill wrote:
keyboardcapers wrote:
I lost my son and granddaughter to Australia two years ago, because as he said there is no prospect/future in this Country anymore. Both him and his wife are now in professional work and earn more money than they ever would if they stayed in this Country.

However, as someone on this thread said, looking after the elderly is costing the state. If we are that much of a burden then why don’t they legalize euthanasia - I would be gone tomorrow.
Or maybe just be better prepared for your retirement? Not all can but more than a few just dont bother to save and spend all they earn when young instead of realising they could have 25 years or so in retirement and do they want to rely on benefits and not have the money to enjoy it? its about balance, enjoy now but also remember for the vast majority there is a tomorrow too.
Most people who have retired lately (would that include you?) went through a time of "full" employment (yes, I know there were periods of recession) and by default were put into cushy final salary schemes. They could also buy houses which were cheaper relative to their income than today and cashed in enormously on endowment mortgages.

People should show responsibility, but that fact is that things are a lot more difficult for young people now that they used to be.

Anyway, you can spend your whole life saving up for your retirement, then you get alzheimer and lose you savings and house - and you're back on the same footings as someone who hasn't saved anything throughout their life.

I used to think that if anything I was a bit right wing, but having seen the black and white views of the people who post here I'm now not so sure.

I would have thought that the more prolific posters here would be glad with their view on life that people on benefits spend all their money on fags and drink - it means that they'll die earlier and save us money in the long term.
[quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]keyboardcapers[/bold] wrote: I lost my son and granddaughter to Australia two years ago, because as he said there is no prospect/future in this Country anymore. Both him and his wife are now in professional work and earn more money than they ever would if they stayed in this Country. However, as someone on this thread said, looking after the elderly is costing the state. If we are that much of a burden then why don’t they legalize euthanasia - I would be gone tomorrow.[/p][/quote]Or maybe just be better prepared for your retirement? Not all can but more than a few just dont bother to save and spend all they earn when young instead of realising they could have 25 years or so in retirement and do they want to rely on benefits and not have the money to enjoy it? its about balance, enjoy now but also remember for the vast majority there is a tomorrow too.[/p][/quote]Most people who have retired lately (would that include you?) went through a time of "full" employment (yes, I know there were periods of recession) and by default were put into cushy final salary schemes. They could also buy houses which were cheaper relative to their income than today and cashed in enormously on endowment mortgages. People should show responsibility, but that fact is that things are a lot more difficult for young people now that they used to be. Anyway, you can spend your whole life saving up for your retirement, then you get alzheimer and lose you savings and house - and you're back on the same footings as someone who hasn't saved anything throughout their life. I used to think that if anything I was a bit right wing, but having seen the black and white views of the people who post here I'm now not so sure. I would have thought that the more prolific posters here would be glad with their view on life that people on benefits spend all their money on fags and drink - it means that they'll die earlier and save us money in the long term. Phantom Poster

9:00pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Tyran66 says...

@ Russell

Thank you for answering all of the comments as frankly as honestly as possible, its more than others may have done. As I have said I would (and most others I suspect) begrudgingly swallow an increase just be sure to be honest about the reasons. The second you attribute it to generic reasons such as "demographic change" or point the finger at central government, you significantly damage your credibility.
@ Russell Thank you for answering all of the comments as frankly as honestly as possible, its more than others may have done. As I have said I would (and most others I suspect) begrudgingly swallow an increase just be sure to be honest about the reasons. The second you attribute it to generic reasons such as "demographic change" or point the finger at central government, you significantly damage your credibility. Tyran66

9:11pm Fri 13 Dec 13

LordAshOfTheBrake says...

keyboardcapers wrote:
house on the hill wrote:
keyboardcapers wrote:
I lost my son and granddaughter to Australia two years ago, because as he said there is no prospect/future in this Country anymore. Both him and his wife are now in professional work and earn more money than they ever would if they stayed in this Country.

However, as someone on this thread said, looking after the elderly is costing the state. If we are that much of a burden then why don’t they legalize euthanasia - I would be gone tomorrow.
Or maybe just be better prepared for your retirement? Not all can but more than a few just dont bother to save and spend all they earn when young instead of realising they could have 25 years or so in retirement and do they want to rely on benefits and not have the money to enjoy it? its about balance, enjoy now but also remember for the vast majority there is a tomorrow too.
You don’t know my circumstances or to what I have done to keep a roof over my head. However, I have never abused money or been in debt or owed a penny to anyone in my life.

I am just fed up being blamed for living longer.
Really....

You've never had a mortgage....?
You've never had a loan from a financial institute ever....?
You've never borrowed a fiver from a mate cos you were a few quid short.....?
[quote][p][bold]keyboardcapers[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]keyboardcapers[/bold] wrote: I lost my son and granddaughter to Australia two years ago, because as he said there is no prospect/future in this Country anymore. Both him and his wife are now in professional work and earn more money than they ever would if they stayed in this Country. However, as someone on this thread said, looking after the elderly is costing the state. If we are that much of a burden then why don’t they legalize euthanasia - I would be gone tomorrow.[/p][/quote]Or maybe just be better prepared for your retirement? Not all can but more than a few just dont bother to save and spend all they earn when young instead of realising they could have 25 years or so in retirement and do they want to rely on benefits and not have the money to enjoy it? its about balance, enjoy now but also remember for the vast majority there is a tomorrow too.[/p][/quote]You don’t know my circumstances or to what I have done to keep a roof over my head. However, I have never abused money or been in debt or owed a penny to anyone in my life. I am just fed up being blamed for living longer.[/p][/quote]Really.... You've never had a mortgage....? You've never had a loan from a financial institute ever....? You've never borrowed a fiver from a mate cos you were a few quid short.....? LordAshOfTheBrake

9:30pm Fri 13 Dec 13

keyboardcapers says...

LordAshOfTheBrake wrote:
keyboardcapers wrote:
house on the hill wrote:
keyboardcapers wrote:
I lost my son and granddaughter to Australia two years ago, because as he said there is no prospect/future in this Country anymore. Both him and his wife are now in professional work and earn more money than they ever would if they stayed in this Country.

However, as someone on this thread said, looking after the elderly is costing the state. If we are that much of a burden then why don’t they legalize euthanasia - I would be gone tomorrow.
Or maybe just be better prepared for your retirement? Not all can but more than a few just dont bother to save and spend all they earn when young instead of realising they could have 25 years or so in retirement and do they want to rely on benefits and not have the money to enjoy it? its about balance, enjoy now but also remember for the vast majority there is a tomorrow too.
You don’t know my circumstances or to what I have done to keep a roof over my head. However, I have never abused money or been in debt or owed a penny to anyone in my life.

I am just fed up being blamed for living longer.
Really....

You've never had a mortgage....?
You've never had a loan from a financial institute ever....?
You've never borrowed a fiver from a mate cos you were a few quid short.....?
Answer to your question.. No.
[quote][p][bold]LordAshOfTheBrake[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]keyboardcapers[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]keyboardcapers[/bold] wrote: I lost my son and granddaughter to Australia two years ago, because as he said there is no prospect/future in this Country anymore. Both him and his wife are now in professional work and earn more money than they ever would if they stayed in this Country. However, as someone on this thread said, looking after the elderly is costing the state. If we are that much of a burden then why don’t they legalize euthanasia - I would be gone tomorrow.[/p][/quote]Or maybe just be better prepared for your retirement? Not all can but more than a few just dont bother to save and spend all they earn when young instead of realising they could have 25 years or so in retirement and do they want to rely on benefits and not have the money to enjoy it? its about balance, enjoy now but also remember for the vast majority there is a tomorrow too.[/p][/quote]You don’t know my circumstances or to what I have done to keep a roof over my head. However, I have never abused money or been in debt or owed a penny to anyone in my life. I am just fed up being blamed for living longer.[/p][/quote]Really.... You've never had a mortgage....? You've never had a loan from a financial institute ever....? You've never borrowed a fiver from a mate cos you were a few quid short.....?[/p][/quote]Answer to your question.. No. keyboardcapers

9:52pm Fri 13 Dec 13

Phantom Poster says...

keyboardcapers wrote:
LordAshOfTheBrake wrote:
keyboardcapers wrote:
house on the hill wrote:
keyboardcapers wrote:
I lost my son and granddaughter to Australia two years ago, because as he said there is no prospect/future in this Country anymore. Both him and his wife are now in professional work and earn more money than they ever would if they stayed in this Country.

However, as someone on this thread said, looking after the elderly is costing the state. If we are that much of a burden then why don’t they legalize euthanasia - I would be gone tomorrow.
Or maybe just be better prepared for your retirement? Not all can but more than a few just dont bother to save and spend all they earn when young instead of realising they could have 25 years or so in retirement and do they want to rely on benefits and not have the money to enjoy it? its about balance, enjoy now but also remember for the vast majority there is a tomorrow too.
You don’t know my circumstances or to what I have done to keep a roof over my head. However, I have never abused money or been in debt or owed a penny to anyone in my life.

I am just fed up being blamed for living longer.
Really....

You've never had a mortgage....?
You've never had a loan from a financial institute ever....?
You've never borrowed a fiver from a mate cos you were a few quid short.....?
Answer to your question.. No.
It's a requirement that anyone who posts here fits into all other posters stereotypes, didn't you know that? Without stereotypes the whole comments posting world would fall apart :-)
[quote][p][bold]keyboardcapers[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]LordAshOfTheBrake[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]keyboardcapers[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]house on the hill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]keyboardcapers[/bold] wrote: I lost my son and granddaughter to Australia two years ago, because as he said there is no prospect/future in this Country anymore. Both him and his wife are now in professional work and earn more money than they ever would if they stayed in this Country. However, as someone on this thread said, looking after the elderly is costing the state. If we are that much of a burden then why don’t they legalize euthanasia - I would be gone tomorrow.[/p][/quote]Or maybe just be better prepared for your retirement? Not all can but more than a few just dont bother to save and spend all they earn when young instead of realising they could have 25 years or so in retirement and do they want to rely on benefits and not have the money to enjoy it? its about balance, enjoy now but also remember for the vast majority there is a tomorrow too.[/p][/quote]You don’t know my circumstances or to what I have done to keep a roof over my head. However, I have never abused money or been in debt or owed a penny to anyone in my life. I am just fed up being blamed for living longer.[/p][/quote]Really.... You've never had a mortgage....? You've never had a loan from a financial institute ever....? You've never borrowed a fiver from a mate cos you were a few quid short.....?[/p][/quote]Answer to your question.. No.[/p][/quote]It's a requirement that anyone who posts here fits into all other posters stereotypes, didn't you know that? Without stereotypes the whole comments posting world would fall apart :-) Phantom Poster

11:07am Sat 14 Dec 13

Ringer says...

Harold01 wrote:
Russell Holland wrote:
Thanks for comments.

The final decision will be made by full Council in February. I was setting out the realities of a freeze or increase in Council tax. I have not made a final recommendation to Council.

Swindon has always had a much lower than average amount of government grant and our Council tax is 7% lower than the average unitary council. If every Council in the country had a Council tax as low as Swindon's and also had the same level of funding as Swindon then the scale of the cuts would not have been necessary.

The big advantage of a freeze is that it helps with the cost of living the big disadvantaged of a freeze is that we have less money to spend and therefore the nature of the services we provide will have to change.

The money we spent to help vulnerable adults and children are people with disabilities, social care needs and in the case of children it will be children with disabilities or who have been abused. It is not money that is spent on benefits. In any event as I have said before most people on benefits work but are on low incomes and many more would like to work but cannot because of health issues, caring responsibilities or because they struggle to find work.

The reality is that most people do not directly receive the benefits of the services that most of their services pay for.

Swindon Council is having its grant reduced. We know that because more people are living for longer there is increased demand for those services that we are legally obliged to provide. If the Government is going to reduce our income but require us to continue to provide services which have costs then we cannot provide the same level of service.

£22 a year equates to about 48pence per week and is less than the rate of inflation.

I did not raise the possibility of a Council tax increase because I believed it would make me more popular, I have raised it because people need to be aware of the long term implications to our services.

The reality is that we can freeze our tax for the budget for 2014-15 but this does require difficult decisions - charging for green waste, reducing collections to once a week, the Council not providing leisure services directly. The decisions will become even more difficult when setting the budget for 2015-16.

Services need to be paid for and it is not possible to continue to provide the services we provide with unprecedented cuts to our budgets from central government.

I again emphasise that I have not made any final recommendations and this will be a decision for full Council.

This is an important debate to have and I welcome comments and discussion. As a Councillor I consider that I have duty to set out the implications of a freeze in Council tax or an increase.
Russell,

Thanks for clearly laying out the background and options.
I am happy to support the £22 a year increase to help the vulnerable and disabled.
Why don't you donate £22 a year directly to charities that help, 'the vulnerable and disabled' and stop trying to ensure that others have no choice but to have £22 stolen from them in order to slightly reduce the council's debt.

This is just another aspect of socialism that I detest - it's fine if you want to give your own money away to other people but to force others to do so is appalling.
[quote][p][bold]Harold01[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Russell Holland[/bold] wrote: Thanks for comments. The final decision will be made by full Council in February. I was setting out the realities of a freeze or increase in Council tax. I have not made a final recommendation to Council. Swindon has always had a much lower than average amount of government grant and our Council tax is 7% lower than the average unitary council. If every Council in the country had a Council tax as low as Swindon's and also had the same level of funding as Swindon then the scale of the cuts would not have been necessary. The big advantage of a freeze is that it helps with the cost of living the big disadvantaged of a freeze is that we have less money to spend and therefore the nature of the services we provide will have to change. The money we spent to help vulnerable adults and children are people with disabilities, social care needs and in the case of children it will be children with disabilities or who have been abused. It is not money that is spent on benefits. In any event as I have said before most people on benefits work but are on low incomes and many more would like to work but cannot because of health issues, caring responsibilities or because they struggle to find work. The reality is that most people do not directly receive the benefits of the services that most of their services pay for. Swindon Council is having its grant reduced. We know that because more people are living for longer there is increased demand for those services that we are legally obliged to provide. If the Government is going to reduce our income but require us to continue to provide services which have costs then we cannot provide the same level of service. £22 a year equates to about 48pence per week and is less than the rate of inflation. I did not raise the possibility of a Council tax increase because I believed it would make me more popular, I have raised it because people need to be aware of the long term implications to our services. The reality is that we can freeze our tax for the budget for 2014-15 but this does require difficult decisions - charging for green waste, reducing collections to once a week, the Council not providing leisure services directly. The decisions will become even more difficult when setting the budget for 2015-16. Services need to be paid for and it is not possible to continue to provide the services we provide with unprecedented cuts to our budgets from central government. I again emphasise that I have not made any final recommendations and this will be a decision for full Council. This is an important debate to have and I welcome comments and discussion. As a Councillor I consider that I have duty to set out the implications of a freeze in Council tax or an increase.[/p][/quote]Russell, Thanks for clearly laying out the background and options. I am happy to support the £22 a year increase to help the vulnerable and disabled.[/p][/quote]Why don't you donate £22 a year directly to charities that help, 'the vulnerable and disabled' and stop trying to ensure that others have no choice but to have £22 stolen from them in order to slightly reduce the council's debt. This is just another aspect of socialism that I detest - it's fine if you want to give your own money away to other people but to force others to do so is appalling. Ringer

9:07am Sun 15 Dec 13

Always Grumpy says...

Harold01 wrote:
Russell Holland wrote:
Thanks for comments.

The final decision will be made by full Council in February. I was setting out the realities of a freeze or increase in Council tax. I have not made a final recommendation to Council.

Swindon has always had a much lower than average amount of government grant and our Council tax is 7% lower than the average unitary council. If every Council in the country had a Council tax as low as Swindon's and also had the same level of funding as Swindon then the scale of the cuts would not have been necessary.

The big advantage of a freeze is that it helps with the cost of living the big disadvantaged of a freeze is that we have less money to spend and therefore the nature of the services we provide will have to change.

The money we spent to help vulnerable adults and children are people with disabilities, social care needs and in the case of children it will be children with disabilities or who have been abused. It is not money that is spent on benefits. In any event as I have said before most people on benefits work but are on low incomes and many more would like to work but cannot because of health issues, caring responsibilities or because they struggle to find work.

The reality is that most people do not directly receive the benefits of the services that most of their services pay for.

Swindon Council is having its grant reduced. We know that because more people are living for longer there is increased demand for those services that we are legally obliged to provide. If the Government is going to reduce our income but require us to continue to provide services which have costs then we cannot provide the same level of service.

£22 a year equates to about 48pence per week and is less than the rate of inflation.

I did not raise the possibility of a Council tax increase because I believed it would make me more popular, I have raised it because people need to be aware of the long term implications to our services.

The reality is that we can freeze our tax for the budget for 2014-15 but this does require difficult decisions - charging for green waste, reducing collections to once a week, the Council not providing leisure services directly. The decisions will become even more difficult when setting the budget for 2015-16.

Services need to be paid for and it is not possible to continue to provide the services we provide with unprecedented cuts to our budgets from central government.

I again emphasise that I have not made any final recommendations and this will be a decision for full Council.

This is an important debate to have and I welcome comments and discussion. As a Councillor I consider that I have duty to set out the implications of a freeze in Council tax or an increase.
Russell,

Thanks for clearly laying out the background and options.
I am happy to support the £22 a year increase to help the vulnerable and disabled.
Well, I'm not.
As others have said, for the poor service we get from Swindon Council, we should be looking forward to paying less, not more next year.

There are plenty of ways to save money:
Cut benefits.
Turn off street lights in certain areas.
Reduce the number of councillors by 66% (ie only one per ward)
Cut councillors expenses.
Reduce the number of managers working for the council.
Sack the bone idle council workers.
Increase worker efficiency (the threat of the sack should help this).
Stop wasting money on consultants.
Stop charity handouts.

That should help.
[quote][p][bold]Harold01[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Russell Holland[/bold] wrote: Thanks for comments. The final decision will be made by full Council in February. I was setting out the realities of a freeze or increase in Council tax. I have not made a final recommendation to Council. Swindon has always had a much lower than average amount of government grant and our Council tax is 7% lower than the average unitary council. If every Council in the country had a Council tax as low as Swindon's and also had the same level of funding as Swindon then the scale of the cuts would not have been necessary. The big advantage of a freeze is that it helps with the cost of living the big disadvantaged of a freeze is that we have less money to spend and therefore the nature of the services we provide will have to change. The money we spent to help vulnerable adults and children are people with disabilities, social care needs and in the case of children it will be children with disabilities or who have been abused. It is not money that is spent on benefits. In any event as I have said before most people on benefits work but are on low incomes and many more would like to work but cannot because of health issues, caring responsibilities or because they struggle to find work. The reality is that most people do not directly receive the benefits of the services that most of their services pay for. Swindon Council is having its grant reduced. We know that because more people are living for longer there is increased demand for those services that we are legally obliged to provide. If the Government is going to reduce our income but require us to continue to provide services which have costs then we cannot provide the same level of service. £22 a year equates to about 48pence per week and is less than the rate of inflation. I did not raise the possibility of a Council tax increase because I believed it would make me more popular, I have raised it because people need to be aware of the long term implications to our services. The reality is that we can freeze our tax for the budget for 2014-15 but this does require difficult decisions - charging for green waste, reducing collections to once a week, the Council not providing leisure services directly. The decisions will become even more difficult when setting the budget for 2015-16. Services need to be paid for and it is not possible to continue to provide the services we provide with unprecedented cuts to our budgets from central government. I again emphasise that I have not made any final recommendations and this will be a decision for full Council. This is an important debate to have and I welcome comments and discussion. As a Councillor I consider that I have duty to set out the implications of a freeze in Council tax or an increase.[/p][/quote]Russell, Thanks for clearly laying out the background and options. I am happy to support the £22 a year increase to help the vulnerable and disabled.[/p][/quote]Well, I'm not. As others have said, for the poor service we get from Swindon Council, we should be looking forward to paying less, not more next year. There are plenty of ways to save money: Cut benefits. Turn off street lights in certain areas. Reduce the number of councillors by 66% (ie only one per ward) Cut councillors expenses. Reduce the number of managers working for the council. Sack the bone idle council workers. Increase worker efficiency (the threat of the sack should help this). Stop wasting money on consultants. Stop charity handouts. That should help. Always Grumpy

9:22am Sun 15 Dec 13

house on the hill says...

Spot on AG agree totally
Spot on AG agree totally house on the hill

5:49pm Sun 15 Dec 13

deepimpact says...

Always Grumpy wrote:
Harold01 wrote:
Russell Holland wrote:
Thanks for comments.

The final decision will be made by full Council in February. I was setting out the realities of a freeze or increase in Council tax. I have not made a final recommendation to Council.

Swindon has always had a much lower than average amount of government grant and our Council tax is 7% lower than the average unitary council. If every Council in the country had a Council tax as low as Swindon's and also had the same level of funding as Swindon then the scale of the cuts would not have been necessary.

The big advantage of a freeze is that it helps with the cost of living the big disadvantaged of a freeze is that we have less money to spend and therefore the nature of the services we provide will have to change.

The money we spent to help vulnerable adults and children are people with disabilities, social care needs and in the case of children it will be children with disabilities or who have been abused. It is not money that is spent on benefits. In any event as I have said before most people on benefits work but are on low incomes and many more would like to work but cannot because of health issues, caring responsibilities or because they struggle to find work.

The reality is that most people do not directly receive the benefits of the services that most of their services pay for.

Swindon Council is having its grant reduced. We know that because more people are living for longer there is increased demand for those services that we are legally obliged to provide. If the Government is going to reduce our income but require us to continue to provide services which have costs then we cannot provide the same level of service.

£22 a year equates to about 48pence per week and is less than the rate of inflation.

I did not raise the possibility of a Council tax increase because I believed it would make me more popular, I have raised it because people need to be aware of the long term implications to our services.

The reality is that we can freeze our tax for the budget for 2014-15 but this does require difficult decisions - charging for green waste, reducing collections to once a week, the Council not providing leisure services directly. The decisions will become even more difficult when setting the budget for 2015-16.

Services need to be paid for and it is not possible to continue to provide the services we provide with unprecedented cuts to our budgets from central government.

I again emphasise that I have not made any final recommendations and this will be a decision for full Council.

This is an important debate to have and I welcome comments and discussion. As a Councillor I consider that I have duty to set out the implications of a freeze in Council tax or an increase.
Russell,

Thanks for clearly laying out the background and options.
I am happy to support the £22 a year increase to help the vulnerable and disabled.
Well, I'm not.
As others have said, for the poor service we get from Swindon Council, we should be looking forward to paying less, not more next year.

There are plenty of ways to save money:
Cut benefits.
Turn off street lights in certain areas.
Reduce the number of councillors by 66% (ie only one per ward)
Cut councillors expenses.
Reduce the number of managers working for the council.
Sack the bone idle council workers.
Increase worker efficiency (the threat of the sack should help this).
Stop wasting money on consultants.
Stop charity handouts.

That should help.
That would make a great start to saving money.
What a pity our council will take the easy way out though and make us all pay for their incompetence.
[quote][p][bold]Always Grumpy[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Harold01[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Russell Holland[/bold] wrote: Thanks for comments. The final decision will be made by full Council in February. I was setting out the realities of a freeze or increase in Council tax. I have not made a final recommendation to Council. Swindon has always had a much lower than average amount of government grant and our Council tax is 7% lower than the average unitary council. If every Council in the country had a Council tax as low as Swindon's and also had the same level of funding as Swindon then the scale of the cuts would not have been necessary. The big advantage of a freeze is that it helps with the cost of living the big disadvantaged of a freeze is that we have less money to spend and therefore the nature of the services we provide will have to change. The money we spent to help vulnerable adults and children are people with disabilities, social care needs and in the case of children it will be children with disabilities or who have been abused. It is not money that is spent on benefits. In any event as I have said before most people on benefits work but are on low incomes and many more would like to work but cannot because of health issues, caring responsibilities or because they struggle to find work. The reality is that most people do not directly receive the benefits of the services that most of their services pay for. Swindon Council is having its grant reduced. We know that because more people are living for longer there is increased demand for those services that we are legally obliged to provide. If the Government is going to reduce our income but require us to continue to provide services which have costs then we cannot provide the same level of service. £22 a year equates to about 48pence per week and is less than the rate of inflation. I did not raise the possibility of a Council tax increase because I believed it would make me more popular, I have raised it because people need to be aware of the long term implications to our services. The reality is that we can freeze our tax for the budget for 2014-15 but this does require difficult decisions - charging for green waste, reducing collections to once a week, the Council not providing leisure services directly. The decisions will become even more difficult when setting the budget for 2015-16. Services need to be paid for and it is not possible to continue to provide the services we provide with unprecedented cuts to our budgets from central government. I again emphasise that I have not made any final recommendations and this will be a decision for full Council. This is an important debate to have and I welcome comments and discussion. As a Councillor I consider that I have duty to set out the implications of a freeze in Council tax or an increase.[/p][/quote]Russell, Thanks for clearly laying out the background and options. I am happy to support the £22 a year increase to help the vulnerable and disabled.[/p][/quote]Well, I'm not. As others have said, for the poor service we get from Swindon Council, we should be looking forward to paying less, not more next year. There are plenty of ways to save money: Cut benefits. Turn off street lights in certain areas. Reduce the number of councillors by 66% (ie only one per ward) Cut councillors expenses. Reduce the number of managers working for the council. Sack the bone idle council workers. Increase worker efficiency (the threat of the sack should help this). Stop wasting money on consultants. Stop charity handouts. That should help.[/p][/quote]That would make a great start to saving money. What a pity our council will take the easy way out though and make us all pay for their incompetence. deepimpact

2:36pm Mon 16 Dec 13

A.Baron-Cohen says...

Or instead of increasing council tax, the good residents of South Marston and other privy areas could accept new houses to be built, so that this council has more capita to extract council tax from?!?
Or instead of increasing council tax, the good residents of South Marston and other privy areas could accept new houses to be built, so that this council has more capita to extract council tax from?!? A.Baron-Cohen

Comments are closed on this article.

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