Tagged: Doxford Park

Tories call to cut the number of Sunderland councillors

Conservatives have said it is time to save money by reducing the number of councillors.

Tories in Sunderland say the cuts could save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds.

> Don’t they always say that ? What really happens is resources are reduced (library closures in Sunderland, for example) but taxpayers still pay the same. Pay the same but get less. How is this a saving ?

They say that while the council itself has become smaller over the last few years, the number of councillors has remained at 75.

> Yeah, but surely councillors aren’t the same as people working for the council. If you reduce the number of councillors, constituents representation will be worse.

The workforce at the council has been reduced from about 8,000 to just over 4,000 since budget reductions started.

> Which = more people on the dole. It’s the Tory way, folks…

Councillor Robert Oliver and Doxford Candidate Dominic 
McDonough believe that it is time to trim the number of councillors.

Throughout the country many councils have already cut the number of councillors, diverting funds to frontline services.

Conservative candidate for Doxford Ward, McDonough, said: “As we see the council getting smaller and efficiency savings being made, it is common sense to assume that the number of councillors should also be reduced.

> But he still wants to be one, you’ll notice…

“Several councils in England have already cut the number of councillors they elect in line with cuts to staff levels. The money saved by cutting the number of councillors should be diverted to frontline services.”

> Eh ? Surely the number of councillors is determined by the population they serve – not staff levels at the council ! Hope this guy doesn’t get elected !

Councillor Robert Oliver said: “It is right that the budget for councillors is reduced in the same way as other council budgets are reduced.

“Other services at the council have faced budget cuts, but have improved in quality, and the same should happen with the councillors.”

>  Tory  policy in a nutshell – less is more.

Well, less for you anyway. Not less for them.

Source – Sunderland Echo  12 March 2014

Nine Sunderland Libraries To Be Closed

Despite grassroots protests,  including occupation of threatened buildings, by Hands Off Sunderland Libraries, nine libraries across Sunderland have been closed by the city council, in a bid to save 850,000 pounds.

The libraries affected are those at Doxford Park, Easington Lane, East Herrington, Fence Houses, Hendon, Monkwearmouth, Silksworth, Southwick and Washington Green.

Coun. John Kelly, portfolio holder for public health, wellness  and culture:  “This is a very emotive subject and we recognise the strength of people’s  feelings.

“As I’ve said before, we probably wouldn’t have gone down this route if the council didn’t need to make 110 million pounds savings as a result of cuts from central government. The fact is the library service needs to save 850,000 pounds, so we have had to look at changing how we do things as budgets continue to be cut and resources become  ever more stretched.

“As councillors, we have to make difficult decisions . Had savings not been made here, they may have had to fall on children’s or adults services.

“But I firmly believe that the new library service will be much more flexible to fit in with people’s needs and will result in better services reaching more people  across a wider range of locations.”

Eh ? How does closing public services across a wide range of locations reach more people across those same locations ? I suspect the only flexibility resulting will be the closed service users, who’ll have to be a lot more flexible to find an open library.

How much will be saved really ? Has any account been taken of vacant buildings needing to be maintained, books and equipment to be mothballed, staff who lose their jobs ?

“Had savings not been made here, they may have had to fall on children’s or adults services.”  A nice attempt at emotional blackmail, but what exactly are libraries if not children and adult services ?

And should it be either/or anyway ?  We know only too well about the nature of the current national government, but Sunderland City Council is Labour controlled. Shouldn’t they – and other Labour controlled councils – be providing, you know, opposition ?  Getting together and going head-to-head with the government perhaps ? Making a moral stand ?

We’ve been promised years more austerity, whoever wins the next general election. Now the process has been started, which libraries will be next ?

As noted in no less an organ than Private Eye (#1349) –

Sunderland library chiefs have some handy advice on what can replace local libraries facing closure.

“Because of Facebook, because of gadgets, we dont need libraries the way we used to when I was 15,” Cllr Graeme Miller told a public meeting, which agreed proposals for the closure of nine libraries to save #850,000 a year.

Quite apart from how completely un-useful Facebook is for most homework, research or reading for pleasure, Sunderland is part of the UK region with the highest concentration of people off-line, with a recent survey finding only 42% of less well off people in the city had online access from any type of “gadget”, including computers, smart phones  and so on.

Quite.

Hands Off Sunderland Libraries on Facebook at –
https://en-gb.facebook.com/pages/Hands-off-Sunderland-Libraries/615546618458212