Sunday, 9 February 2014

How Do Lib Dems Cut Services Without Cutting Services?

From Borough News - Autumn 2013
By making them somebody else's problem is the way they do it in Eastleigh. For some years Eastleigh Lib Dems have been transferring responsibilities away from the Borough to Town and Parish Councils. This allows them to keep Borough council tax increases below the rate of inflation. But residents still end up paying through their Town or Parish precept.

Only months after taking credit in "Borough News" for a "fantastic new open space" at Berrywood Meadow, Lib Dem Eastleigh Borough wants to transfer responsibility for the area to the Town Council.

As reported in the minutes of this month's Finance and Administration Committee, The Town Clerk has had meetings with Borough officers about the transfer of Berrywood Meadow and other areas of public open space. These include:
  • Open Space at Coulsdon Road, 
  • Green areas at Cranbourne Park, 
  • Footpath and green corridors around Downscroft Gardens,
  • Locke Road Open Space, 
  • Open Space to rear of Missenden Acres, and
  • Various footpaths in Grange Park.
If the Town Council can maintain these green spaces more efficiently and at lower cost to the Hedge End council tax payer than Eastleigh can, then I do not have a problem with the transfer. But we have to be clear there will be additional costs for the Town Council to bear in grounds staff time and equipment. It will be that much harder to avoid increases in the Town Council budget while the Lib Dems at Eastleigh will continue to crow about how they are keeping the council tax down without cutting services.

That is why I insisted at the meeting that we are given full and credible cost estimates before any agreement is made to transfer responsibility.

1 comment:

  1. Well done Keith. You are right to highlight this problem and ask for full/credible cost estimates.

    My concern is that the proportion of my Council Tax that goes to HETC is already 76.8% of the proportion that goes to the Borough. I wouldn't want to see that figure increase...

    Also, we should note that with multi-hatting Lib Dem Borough Councillors also serving on HETC, and with the LIb Dems having such a large majority on HETC, it is far too easy for them to shift this financial burden onto the Town Council...