Diary of a Sutton Councillor

Monday 14th February 7.30pm

The Executive

The main report for this meeting was to recommend the 2011/12 budget to Full Council on 7th March. Councillor Drage highlighted the key impacts of the new government’s reform package on Sutton’s funding and proposed expenditure. It was explained that thanks to early planning using the Smarter Services Sutton review programme the council was in a position to find efficiencies and smarter ways of working in a more considered fashion. However the cuts had proved to be even more than expected and applied quickly, so some of the review savings were being brought forward for early implementation where possible. This work was still ongoing and hoped to find further savings eventually reviewing every service the council operates.

Bill Cody of Unison addressed the meeting in response to the proposals to restructure the waste management teams. He made the point that members were opposed to changing their shift patterns due to personal commitments and felt that savings could be made by other means such as cutting the garden waste and food waste collection services, an alternative shift pattern and not asking waste staff to undertake gritting duties. It was also stated in their written response that management posts should be cut before front line staff were asked to make savings. Councillor Hall responded to Mr Cody pointing out that management posts had indeed been the first to go and more were scheduled. However it was agreed that negotiations would continue.

I presented the Housing Revenue Account for 2011/12 which forms part of the overall budget for approval, but is ringfenced under government guidelines. I highlighted that the expected balance for 2010/11 was £386,000 less than originally budgeted largely due to the increase in negative subsidy payable to central government as a result of a recalculation of the rates. The account was expected to need to pay £10.514m in negative subsidy in 2011/12, but would be able to retain all its rental income from 2012/13 under the housing reforms. The capital programme contained estimated amounts as we had not yet heard whether we would receive any Decent Homes funding following our revised bid.

Councillor Wales presented the Parking Services Review proposing changes to the service to increase its efficiency and improve and simplify its operation, allowing the council to keep the increase in parking tariffs to a modest 10% with the aim of covering the costs of providing the service.

Councillor Hall introduced an urgent item to seek agreement to object in principle to the London Mayor’s proposal to charge all London boroughs a significant amount to subsidise Crossrail through the Community Infrastructure Levy.

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February 23, 2011 - Posted by | Committee Meeting

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