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Chasing the corporate tax avoiders & fighting the cuts
Borough of Poole announced they are looking to cut their budget by £29m over the next 3 years as it faces 28% reduction in government funding over the next four years. It announced 150 to 200 staff face losing their jobs – around 10% of the workforce and a warning has been given that this could just be the start, with further jobs being axed in years to come. It has also been announced that 12 out of 21 staff at risk will be shed, leaving 9 staff to run the 10 branch libraries!!
Gary Pattison, Dorset branch secretary of the GMB union, has voiced fears as county council chiefs face up to losing £48.6million of funding following the announcements from the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review and around 750 Dorset County Council workers may lose their jobs. Chairman of Dorset Fire Authority, Cllr Chris Bulteel has voiced concerns about the impact on the county of the proposed 25% cut to the government grant to Dorset Fire Service. In a letter to the Coalition govt’s Fire Minister he points out that the service has already made efficiencies and runs with low costs – using retained or on-call crew in 34 of its 40 engines. He adds: “There is no way that savings can be made to the retained system without reducing the number of fire engines and therefore affecting front line services.”
Andy Ackerman, head of highways and transportation at Dorset County Council, is under no illusions as to the task ahead. He said: “The scale of savings required will undoubtedly be much bigger than we have seen before. We are currently undertaking a major review to identify unnecessary waste and red tape that can be cut out to create a leaner service that meets local people’s needs more effectively.” Every project – bar the Weymouth Relief Road, which has secured funding – is under review. Budgets for this year for structural maintenance were already slashed from £9.5 million to £7.9 million, while the local transport plan went from £4.5 million to £2 million. Poole’s capital programme was down to £3.5 million from £3.7 million and each council has also suffered in-year reductions, just a taster of things to come next year. The figures are not yet known, but Poole, for example, fears a 50 per cent reduction in cash for projects and 14 per cent for routine work. The urgent £26 million rebuild of the A338 Bournemouth Spur Road has missed out on funding for a second time and been downgraded in priority. And the £9.5m scheme for a third lane on the A31 at Ringwood has been shelved, with one councillor saying “the window of opportunity has shut”. It is not just the roads – Bournemouth has already felt the effects of the new government in other areas. Service director for planning and transport Mike Holmes said: “We were due to have more money from government to improve bus routes, but we lost that as part of the budget reduction.”
Budget cuts could lead to the shutdown of police stations across Dorset. Main stations such as Bournemouth and Poole will not be affected but smaller buildings, which do not open round the clock, could face the axe. Those include Boscombe, Wimborne, Swanage, Verwood, Sturminster Newton and Lyme Regis. Dorset Police has decided to sell off the former Highcliffe police station, which is already closed to the public. The possible closures are among a number of cost-cutting measures under consideration including grounding the force helicopter, a recruitment freeze and cuts to overtime budgets.
Plans for new and expanded premises for Montacute Special School and also plans to build new premises for Winchelsea special school were both cancelled after Michael Gove axed the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) national schoolbuilding programme on 5th July 2010.
A CHILDREN’S charity in Weymouth is facing the axe after council bosses said they were ending its £80,000-a-year funding. Shocked staff at the Waves Project, based in the town centre, have been told their contract will not be renewed when it expires at the end of March. They had been expecting a decrease in county council funding for 2010/11 but not such a knockout blow.
One in four local authorities intends to cut the number of lollipop men and ladies they employ, with some councils intending to make every single one redundant. Dorset County Council is axing 65 jobs in a bid to save £200,000 and is planning to make patrols voluntary or to ask local communities to foot the bill
COUNCILLORS have voted through swathes of cuts to services across Dorset:
They have backed plans at cabinet and full council meetings to pursue £16million in savings for next year on top of £10million already identified.
The latest batch of savings identified by the council include cuts of £3.5million to the children’s services budget, which includes saving £650,000 through reduction of careers advice and support to 16 to 19-year-olds to find employment or training.
Withdrawing subsidies for transport to learning disability centres and transport to day centres for older people, as well as a reduction in the number of day centres, are among £5.9million of savings proposed in the adult and community services budget
In the same department councillors backed a proposal to withdraw funding of up to 20 of the counties libraries, which would result in a saving of £861,000. Libraries in Beaminster, Burton Bradstock, Charmouth and Lyme Regis are among those that are in the firing line for the cuts although Bridport’s main library is safe
DORSET is now one of the lowest funded police forces in the country – and this calls for drastic measures, says the county’s chief constable. To deal with a shortfall of £6.7million next year the authority has announced dramatic cost-cutting measures to transform the force. The immediate measures to be put in place on January 4 include losing high-ranking police officers, continuing a recruitment freeze, changing shift patterns, scrapping geographical police divisions and possibly closing costly stations. Main effects of the cuts will be
Police stations across the county will be reviewed and sold if costly. All police officers will have their shift patterns changed. Police geographical divisions in Dorset will be scrapped and instead one taskforce will command the county and distribute officers as necessary. Two chief superintendents and two superintendents will be forced to retire. Traffic division will be able to pass collision investigations to the major crime investigation team so 18 officers can move into front line services. Recruitment freeze Less flying hours used in the police helicopter More petty crimes will be dealt with on the phone and only cases that need following up will require a home visit from an officer.
WEYMOUTH is set to lose its Coastguard control centre in a radical shake-up to modernise the 999 service and save money. Decades of maritime tradition will be severed when the Portland Coastguard Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) based on Weymouth Quay shuts down
WEST DORSET District Council believes measures it has already taken will cater for the ‘bad news’ received in its grant from Government. The council faces a 6.6 per cent reduction in its spending power for 2011-12, followed by a 4.54 per cent drop the following financial year. The authority claims it has already identified savings of around £1million
THE organisation that runs the New Forest National Park is facing a 21 per cent cut in its annual grant over the next four years. The amount of money the Government gives the National Park Authority (NPA) will drop from the current £4m a year to £3.1m in 2014/2015. NPA bosses said it was too early to tell if the resulting cuts would include any redundancies among the 70 staff