Less money to be taken from youth services

WILTSHIRE councillors have agreed to cut less from their youth services budget than originally planned.

As part of Wiltshire Council’s budget, £500,000 was due to be cut from the its youth services funding, which would have seen all the county’s youth clubs axed and 140 job losses.

However, a compromise amendment tabled by the Liberal Democrats to cut only half that amount was accepted at a full council meeting held at County Hall, Trowbridge, on Tuesday.

About £100,000 of the required savings will be made by cutting administration costs and there will be an efficiency review of youth club premises aimed at saving £150,000.

It is not yet clear exactly how youth services in south Wiltshire will be affected by the cuts and a tenweek consultation which began in the county in January is ongoing.

Councillors also agreed to freeze the Wiltshire Council element of council tax for the fourth consecutive year.

For the 2013/14 financial year, council tax will remain at the same rate as 2010/11 – £1,222 for an average band D property.

The council’s financial plan for 2014/15 outlines an additional £18.1m to be spent on key services including adult social care and safeguarding children, despite the council’s overall budget of £333.1m being £7.5m lower than the previous year.

Council leader Jane Scott said: “This has been a challenging budget to set but I’m pleased we have yet again been able to freeze council tax.

“The ongoing reduction in central government funding combined with increased demand has meant that once again we have had to take an innovative approach to ensure we can continue to provide vital front-line services for the people of Wiltshire.

“We will continue to do whatever we can to lessen the impact on these vital services and to protect those who are most vulnerable in our communities.

“The county has recently seen the impact of adverse weather and we need to support those communities that were directly affected and to invest significantly to maintain and improve our roads.

“Our local communities remain at the heart of every decision we make and we recognise what’s important to them in allocating the budget.”

Comments (3)

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4:58pm Fri 28 Feb 14

karlmarx says...

How very generous of the £19,000 per annum pay rises and 36% allowances increase leaders of Wiltshire Council to cut only £250,000 from youth services. No doubt we can all watch the cutting of services live via video streaming...

"VIDEO streaming may be introduced so that Wiltshire Council enthusiasts do not have to miss meetings.

The council is setting up a crossparty working group to consider introducing the technology so local democracy lovers can watch council meetings from their computers wherever they are.

Council leader Cllr Jane Scott confirmed the initiative in response to a question from Cllr Simon Killane.

In a written question on the subject Cllr Killane said: “The people of Wiltshire must now have the opportunity to listen and see the debates firsthand.”

Money to burn?
How very generous of the £19,000 per annum pay rises and 36% allowances increase leaders of Wiltshire Council to cut only £250,000 from youth services. No doubt we can all watch the cutting of services live via video streaming... "VIDEO streaming may be introduced so that Wiltshire Council enthusiasts do not have to miss meetings. The council is setting up a crossparty working group to consider introducing the technology so local democracy lovers can watch council meetings from their computers wherever they are. Council leader Cllr Jane Scott confirmed the initiative in response to a question from Cllr Simon Killane. In a written question on the subject Cllr Killane said: “The people of Wiltshire must now have the opportunity to listen and see the debates firsthand.” Money to burn? karlmarx
  • Score: 4

3:24pm Sat 1 Mar 14

Friend of the People says...

The really fascinating bit in this whole Budget debate was how Jon Hubbard, the Lib Dem Leader, came to the rescue of the beleagued Conservatives. For they cartainly were in trouble; a petition against cuts in the Youth Service is doing the rounds and gathering support. The young people who initiated the petition came and spoke at the Council.

Jon Hubbard by advocating a move to a "paperless" council and some other piecemeal actions found £250,000 to render apartial stay of execution on the Youth cuts, When he propopsed this, all the Conservative councillors loudly applauded him.

What does this tell us; first the Conservatives themselves are so devoid of ideas and initiative, they are obliged to rely on Jon Hubbard to get them out of the sticky stuff. Second. Jon Hubbard is getting dangerously close to the Conservative administration. It was noticeable that when it came to the vote that Hubbard did not get support from at least five Lib Dems.;

With splits like this, how long can the Lib Dems last? A bad performance in the Euro elections will provide a further nail in their coffin.
The really fascinating bit in this whole Budget debate was how Jon Hubbard, the Lib Dem Leader, came to the rescue of the beleagued Conservatives. For they cartainly were in trouble; a petition against cuts in the Youth Service is doing the rounds and gathering support. The young people who initiated the petition came and spoke at the Council. Jon Hubbard by advocating a move to a "paperless" council and some other piecemeal actions found £250,000 to render apartial stay of execution on the Youth cuts, When he propopsed this, all the Conservative councillors loudly applauded him. What does this tell us; first the Conservatives themselves are so devoid of ideas and initiative, they are obliged to rely on Jon Hubbard to get them out of the sticky stuff. Second. Jon Hubbard is getting dangerously close to the Conservative administration. It was noticeable that when it came to the vote that Hubbard did not get support from at least five Lib Dems.; With splits like this, how long can the Lib Dems last? A bad performance in the Euro elections will provide a further nail in their coffin. Friend of the People
  • Score: 4

12:26pm Wed 5 Mar 14

Richard Clewer says...

Video Streaming of Council Meetings is close to being required by National Government and we need to get on with it. We can always market it as a cure for insomnia, it may even raise some revenue for the Council.

The reality of what happened over the budget is that instead of the springing a number of un-costed ammendments to the budget which had not been looked at in advance and so resulted in adjournments to look at the proposals and see if they were viable, the Lib Dems came up with an amendment in advance which was discussed with the Conservative adminstration. We looked at if and thought it was sensible. We had a chance to look at the areas of savings being proposed and made sure they were viable. As a result we were able to accept an ammendment that we were in favour of.

It was an example of grown up politics instead of the all to common point scoring. I would have thought that the Lib Dems should be applauded for taking a grown up approach to the budget process. It is a shame that instead of trying something similar all the Labour group could do was to say that it opposed the youth service cuts but had no idea of how to avoid them or where else to save money. There was some suggestion that Council Tax should be increased but the way Central Government are funding (or bribing depending on your point of view) Councils not to increase tax makes that a far from sensible option.

Keeping Council Tax down is the best thing we can do to help families in Wiltshire with their bills and something I am extremely pleased we have been able to do (starting before the current government came to power).
Video Streaming of Council Meetings is close to being required by National Government and we need to get on with it. We can always market it as a cure for insomnia, it may even raise some revenue for the Council. The reality of what happened over the budget is that instead of the springing a number of un-costed ammendments to the budget which had not been looked at in advance and so resulted in adjournments to look at the proposals and see if they were viable, the Lib Dems came up with an amendment in advance which was discussed with the Conservative adminstration. We looked at if and thought it was sensible. We had a chance to look at the areas of savings being proposed and made sure they were viable. As a result we were able to accept an ammendment that we were in favour of. It was an example of grown up politics instead of the all to common point scoring. I would have thought that the Lib Dems should be applauded for taking a grown up approach to the budget process. It is a shame that instead of trying something similar all the Labour group could do was to say that it opposed the youth service cuts but had no idea of how to avoid them or where else to save money. There was some suggestion that Council Tax should be increased but the way Central Government are funding (or bribing depending on your point of view) Councils not to increase tax makes that a far from sensible option. Keeping Council Tax down is the best thing we can do to help families in Wiltshire with their bills and something I am extremely pleased we have been able to do (starting before the current government came to power). Richard Clewer
  • Score: 1

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