Posted tagged ‘NLGN’

That was the local government week that was

December 2, 2011

What we have been reading

And what a week it’s been.  Up and down the country, local government has been at the centre of the news over the past seven days, with column inches galore debating its merits and the work it does, all through the lens of the ongoing debate over the pension scheme negotiations.  Here are our pick of the blogs which look at things from some rather interesting angles, as well as a few blogs which mention less polarising issues.

We’ll start off with a post from Citizen R on her I Was A Public Sector Worker blog, posted on the day of the strike.  It neatly sets out why one person supported the strikes, even though they were no longer part of the public sector, showing how deeply many feel about the issues.

I’ve mentioned before that when I went into the public sector it wasn’t for the pensions or the perks or even the holidays. I wanted to be a teacher and make a difference in children’s lives. I felt I could best do this in the state sector.  As a new teacher of 22 I didn’t care about a pension because it felt like retirement was a million years away (it still is now that the age of retirement is getting higher and higher) and took a big chunk of my wage each month that might be better spent on having fun.

But now after a whole career spent in the public sector I’ve been left high and dry. I don’t pay into a government pension any more because that jo has gone and I have no job to strike from today. But the public sector is where my heart lies so I’m with everyone who strikes today. Good luck and maybe just maybe the government will listen for once.

It’s with mixed feelings of joy and disbelief that we unfortunately get to read a new post from the simply superb Redundant Public Servant (if you don’t know why we rate him so highly then you’ve never read his blog – so do it now!).  Joy because we loved reading his brilliantly crafted and bewilderingly regular posts detailing his own battles around his impending redundancy, disbelief because it looks like he may be going through it all again.  In this guest piece for Patrick Butler’s Cuts Blog he points out some of the incredible numbers being thrown around. (more…)

Understanding the Local Government budget cuts

September 28, 2011

When £10 million isn't 10 million pounds...

A little while ago one of my colleagues wrote a piece detailing how the ‘feared’ cuts of April 2011 were in reality just the calm before the storm. They briefly explained how local authorities had dealt with the budget cuts in a very short period of time:

Well, some of them looked at what they could do in a few months and made some small cuts around the edges. Others looked at small financial adjustments they could make which could keep them going for a year. Some found ‘underspends’ to roll over whilst others just dived into their reserves to make ends meet from 2010/11 to 2011/12.

This is evidence, if ever it was needed, that the local government budget process is pretty complicated. This was further brought home to me last week when the estimable Simon Parker of the NLGN reported from the Lib Dem Conference that:

Turns out LibDems aren’t all that passionate about #localgov – but MPs in denial – one said cuts ‘not draconian.

Not draconian? Surely they missed the memo?

Well, either that or they simply don’t quite understand the local government budget.

The budget in my local authority is roughly (and all numbers here are rough as the budget process is way above my pay grade) £140 million and we’re being asked to find something like £50 million savings over the next four years. The assumption you might make is that the council’s budget in 2015 would be just £90 million.

Unfortunately, this is totally incorrect. Our budget in 2015 will probably end up being something like £130 million. You might then assume that this is a cut of just £10 million and something that our Lib Dem friends would easily describe as ‘not draconian’. Again, you’d be wrong.

So why the discrepancy?

Because life isn’t static and nor is the council budget.

(more…)