A suggestion for a few palatable cuts
January 29, 2013 7 Comments
It is beholden on all councillors, or at least those who acknowledge the reality of the position the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have put us in, to find ways to save money in Southend-on-Sea. Here are a few suggestions.
Reduce the size of the Cabinet. By mergers, or persuading the leader and his deputy to assume more responsibilities, one could easily see a six-person Cabinet be equally effective in damaging our town. Cabinet membership attracts an additional allowance.
Cut councillor allowances. Anything between 10% and 25% would save somewhere between £50,000 and £150,000 per annum by my estimates. Doubtless the excuse that this requires independent intervention (an argument for the practisers of obfuscation) will be used. However, we must be seen to be taken our share of the pain. After all, we are all in this together.
Reduce the salaries of the top executives at the council. With shrinking budgets and staff numbers the arguments about responsibility used to justify their salaries diminishes.
Scrap the Outlook magazine. This Tory propaganda sheet invariably adorns the pink sacks pretty quickly after distribution anyway.
I am no fan of all-up elections – they exaggerate the worst effects of first past the post – but moving to these will save money. They are less democratic, but they also favour the two main parties. Since the other parties in the chamber seem intent on gifting us a doubling of our number of councillors then we may as well set aside principles for party advantage.
What would I do with the savings made, what cut would I no longer find a need for? There are so many to choose from, but I might be tempted to use the money to retain some of the council staff threatened with P45s. I have personal experience of the damage that unemployment wreaks, and one of the things I am in politics for is to see full employment.
(I should point out that these are my personal thoughts, and not those of the Labour group.)