Author Topic: Councillor Roderick Bluh's 'Budget Challenge'  (Read 4260 times)

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Offline Geoff Reid

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Councillor Roderick Bluh's 'Budget Challenge'
« on: August 18, 2010, 07:24:00 pm »
'Bluh's Budget Challenge' - Sounds like political 'It's a Knockout!'

http://www.swindon.gov.uk/budget2010

Quote


The huge financial challenges facing the public sector cannot have escaped anyone’s attention in recent months. What I hope is that everyone now realises that it will probably affect them or their families personally. It will mean big changes to the council services they use and, perhaps, take for granted.

So what do multi-billion pounds budget cut announcements actually mean for Swindon? In short it means £45 million pounds worth of reductions over the next three years or a 33% reduction in our current net budget.

If that were not challenging enough, we face an immediate pressure because some of the reductions in funding to Councils are being applied right now. For example, £1.4 million pounds worth of grant funding for the current year has been withdrawn immediately.

So, please take time to read what we say, because you might have ideas or practical help that you can contribute in return. We’re all in this together and we all need to understand the challenge.

To help get you started we have written some details about the recent history of the budget situation. Please have a read through this as it gives a crucial insight into the specific challenges we face in Swindon.

What next and how you can get involved

The Council is looking at every service in detail. Comprehensive proposals are being developed for next year’s budget and these will be subject to public consultation over the coming months.

Given the immediate pressures we face however, it has been decided to re-cast our budget in October. The aim of this is to get on top of the in-year challenge quickly and begin making inroads to the savings target for next year.

A set of proposals are currently being developed for consideration at the Cabinet meeting on the 22 September and then Full Council meeting on 7 October.

Some proposals have already been identified and, because they involve a change of policy or service, we are inviting comment and feedback on them now. For details of these please see the Budget Proposals page.

Budget Proposals - Your Comments

All comments and feedback can be submitted by e-mail to communications@swindon.gov.uk or by post to:

Communications Service
Swindon Borough Council
Civic Offices
Euclid Street
Swindon
SN1 2JH

All comments should be submitted by 17 September 2010 in order to inform the discussions at the Cabinet meeting on 22 September.



Bluh's Version of Recent History

Quote
A Bit of Recent History

In the last five years your council has found £40million in savings by embarking on a programme of transformation while ruthlessly cutting out waste and duplication. At the same time, we’ve delivered very low council tax increases and emerged as one of the most improved councils in the country.

Service delivery in many areas has changed radically. We have introduced an award-winning customer contact centre, Swindon Direct. Adult Social Care has made a major shift from a high-cost 'residential' delivery model to a lower-cost model based on independent living and personalisation. And in the last three years we have reduced management numbers significantly.

This recent history demonstrates two things. Firstly, a track record of delivering against big financial challenges that equips us well for the current situation. However it also shows that, unlike other councils who have not been as bold and transformational, we now have fewer places to look for further savings and some difficult choices to make.

Where are we now?

Put simply, demand is going up and income is falling, and this gap is getting bigger. A significant amount of our income, around 39%, is from central government grants, and these are being dramatically cut. We can’t increase council tax, and even if we did it wouldn’t help much. Our income is falling because of the recession and we aren’t getting money from developers who contribute to the local economy when they build in the Borough.

We’ve also seen falls in other income such as parking and interest rate payments on our investments. Our assets aren’t worth as much because the market is depressed. This is combined with an increasing number of vulnerable people which we have to look after, and a growing and ageing population. We just can’t continue as we are – something’s got to give.

We need to have a fundamental re-think about what the council does, what it subsidises and what services it provides. We remain committed to achieving the best possible outcomes for Swindon and local people but it is clear that this cannot be based on traditional delivery of Council services.

Some Key Financial Facts and Indices

The Council Budget Brought to Life

So what are the services that the Council provides and what do they cost? Here are just a few examples to bring things to life:

    * The cost of providing care for older people and vulnerable adults is £40 million per annum of which £18 million is spent providing residential and nursing care for 660 people.

    * Swindon’s 12 leisure centres and recreation sites cost £11million a year to run, with income of £9m. This means that it costs £7.88 per person in Swindon to provide these facilities each year, with an average subsidy for each visit of 55p.

    * There are 246 children from Swindon in care, costing an average of £39,000 for each child each year, or more than £9.5million in total.

    * Waste collection and disposal, recycling, and operating the Household Waste Recycling Centre costs £9.5million a year or £108 a year for each household.

    * Street cleaning, graffiti removal, litter picking, clearing abandoned vehicles and emptying dog excrement bins costs £2.6million a year, or £30 a year per household.

    * The council receives around 1,300 planning applications a year, which cost £600,000 to determine.

    * The cost of providing community facilities in 2010/11 will be £260,000. Last year, 48 community groups and other organisations used them or, put another way, 134,000 people.


Get Involved ... Your Opinions Matter

So now, have a look at the budget proposals we're making for 2010/11 and, when you've considered them, drop us an e-mail with your feedback to communications@swindon.gov.uk.

Alternatively, send by post to:

Communications Service
Swindon Borough Council
Civic Offices
Euclid Street
Swindon
SN1 2JH

All comments should be submitted by 17 September 2010 in order to inform the discussions at the Cabinet meeting on 22 September.


A veritable smorgasboard of spin.  Who's going to tuck in first...?



Offline Tea Boy

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Re: Councillor Roderick Bluh's 'Budget Challenge'
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2010, 08:58:38 pm »
Is this just a list of justification criteria? As if he 'softening' the blow for cuts all those areas? why single them out if not

Old people on street or back in relative's homes

Litter and abandoned cars everywhere, charges for tipping?

Which leisure centres are for the chop then?

Closing community centres?

And outsourcing Planning, who to capita? god help us!
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Offline Simon

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Re: Councillor Roderick Bluh's 'Budget Challenge'
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2010, 09:19:45 pm »
Quote from: cllr Bluh
We can’t increase council tax

Erm.... yes you can. You just don't want to.

And while you're at it, you could have a word with your mates in government and ask them to implement a fairer form of local taxation, one which is fairer to the people who are most burdened by the current council tax, e.g. people trying to live on state pensions. It might mean that I end up paying more, but if it's fairer to everyone then I don't mind that.
We are all in this together, but some of us are more in it than others (with apologies to George Orwell)

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: Councillor Roderick Bluh's 'Budget Challenge'
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2010, 09:43:10 pm »

I liked:

Quote
Get Involved ... Your Opinions Matter

Based on more than four years of SBC related experiences being discussed & recorded on Talkswindon - I beg to differ.

Offline Tea Boy

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Re: Councillor Roderick Bluh's 'Budget Challenge'
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2010, 09:48:42 pm »

I liked:

Quote
Get Involved ... Your Opinions Matter

Based on more than four years of SBC related experiences being discussed & recorded on Talkswindon - I beg to differ.

or as otherwise translated..........

We'll pay lip service to you and then do what we want.... we always have.
Gardening tips: Always remember its brown side down, green side up.  If its knocking now it'll only go bang later

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: Councillor Roderick Bluh's 'Budget Challenge'
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2010, 09:54:29 pm »
It looks to me that Rod has had a 'Sales' briefing from one of his friends on how to convey a message in what we Sales folk would describe as in a 'Creative' way.

The fact remains that the government has reduced funding by £1.4m but what on earth happened to result in a problem of this magnitude?  Was it not within the wit of those formulating the last budget to assess the type of costs being blamed for this situation?  Perhaps someone could remind us of the mind blowing self agrandisment language used by Councillor Edwards when he delivered his budget speech some six months ago?

And one final point surely A Conservative Minister in form Mr Pickles would not shaft a Tory Council by a £1.4m reduction in funding if he thought they could not easily sustain it?  After all they have been telling the world how good they are haven't they?

Offline Tea Boy

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Re: Councillor Roderick Bluh's 'Budget Challenge'
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2010, 10:18:06 pm »
I have just finished a bit of furious texting, finished with a quick phone call to a friend who works in the Civic.

It's not what he said, it's what he didn't or more to the point wouldn't say about street litter connections. Unusually for him, he was very tight lipped as if they know what's going on but are too scared to say in case they are fingered as being leakers or stirrers.

I think the guys who pick litter and crap up all day need to be warned that thier jobs are under threat ........
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Offline Muggins

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Re: Councillor Roderick Bluh's 'Budget Challenge'
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2010, 08:14:16 am »
Mr Muggins and I were having our breakfast cuppa when it was announced on the tele that SBC has to cut it's budget by 33% - most of the cuppas are on the wall now, even Mr Muggins, who doesn't pay much attention to local policy was aghast at the 33% figure, 'course the BBC report had suggested that was all in one year - and it an impossible figure.

The latest is a cut in play work,  (not the play equipment)  some of what they do now is add on money got via the lottery and that 3yr? funding (and they only got that with the input of local groups) runs out in March, they simply can't afford continue with it after that date.   

A lot of this lottery and government funding was given to pump prime things, given with the intention/promise that after trying it out on government money, that it would continue at SBC cost -via our community charge I suppose.  My feeling is that in seeking the funding that the thought of 'sustainabilty' was washed to one side and the cash taken and spent and made them feel good and look good. 

This has been happening for some years and it was inevitable that at some point it would disappear and so would all the services it provided, so in other words it was only ever 'project' work as opposed to ongoing solid good work based on good economics and by well run council.

I've strongly believed for some time that the 'project' funding is one reason why we never have a proper say, because in effect, we are not paying directly to the council for those services (and yes, I do know we are paying for them somehow) i.e. they have no reason to fear/respect us when they were getting money from elsewhere.

The bottom line is, they will at some point have to increase our community charge and start listening to us about how it's spent, my fear is that they are badly out of the habit.  You know, coming across as very noble whilst making swinging cuts that affect the most vunerable - like aren't we brave to make these cuts'  YUK!

This time last year we heard at council meetings, the word HUMBLE mentioned, several times, in the sentence "We must beome more ..........."    time to start now I think. And from the top.

About that 33% over three years,  that's not 11% a year is it, it's sort of compound interest  reverse.   i.e. the first years figure would be higher than the 2nd and 3rd due to the budget being reduced the first year etc etc. anyone clever enough to work out the cuts for each year?

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Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Councillor Roderick Bluh's 'Budget Challenge'
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2010, 10:56:10 am »
Muggins I will decline to do the arithmatic, because a 33% cut whether it is by division of 3 is still 33% but some argue its best to make it in one hit as inflation alone over 3 years is likely to be 11-12%. Thus giving 45% but add in 5% for surprises and its a nice round figure of 50% of the 2009/10 budget figures as used by Cllr Edwards in February 2010.

I accept I have over simplified this, but (yes there always is a but) underestimating the impact of of a cut of 33% on a £114 million is some £40million and Rod Bluh has stated that is a figure saved in the last 5 years. I am not suggesting a 33% cut on the budget as it is something that no responsible person would dream of.  These savings are on the services as outlined, but it is still a bitter pill to swallow.

The FSB, and SSEP and Chamber of Commerce have as far as I can see not commented on this loss? This time it is not only SBC making its cuts in isolation but the Police, Fire, NHS, MOD, and civil service will all cut back Lyneham will be gone soon. If ever there was a case for regeneration it is now, and it needs to be here within 3 years or 5 at the latest.

The shake up in the public sector and its cutting has no previous model to follow. The model always works in the other direction, usually the public sector is expanded with big projects like Roosevelt's Tennesse Valley Project, Hitler's Autobahn projects of the 1930s, Stalin's 5 year plans and our own project of nationalisation and public sector expansion under Atlee after WWII, which was incidentially the result of a coalition government.

Furthermore, it is unlikely there will be an increase in Council Tax levels as Pickles plans to give a veto to voters to reject council tax rises in 2012 and thereafter. I think we can assume there will be no increases for the next 3 years!


I do hope people will contribute, but we know that usually happens after the cut is announced and the pain felt. It is clear that there is going to be a lot of pain ahead for everyone. :(
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Offline Mellon

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Re: Councillor Roderick Bluh's 'Budget Challenge'
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2010, 11:34:30 am »
Mr wakefield do you mean regeneration of services or regeneration of the town?
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Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Councillor Roderick Bluh's 'Budget Challenge'
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2010, 11:57:59 am »
Mr wakefield do you mean regeneration of services or regeneration of the town?

Mellon I mean regenerate the town it is the adver thats says  there will be a 45 million pound shortfall. (see here)http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/8339557.Play_scheme_cuts_could_affect_thousands/ 

Rod Bluh states in the last 4 years his sadministration has saved £40 million pounds, add  the two and thats about 10 or 12 million a year lost to the Swindon economy, about a Million a month or  about 200k a week. I find it strange that the SSEP, FSB and Chamber of commerce have not commented on this, especially as I have said in light of the fact that the Police, Fire, NHS, MOD and Civil Service will make cuts. If we do not prepare the economy now how will we stem this 200K a week loss to our economy?

Maybe I am looking it at it all too simply and more talented people than I probably have the answers/solutions?  :-\
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Offline itspavagain

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Re: Councillor Roderick Bluh's 'Budget Challenge'
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2010, 12:14:11 pm »
Geoff, the information you have posted is really interesting (thank you) and it's a bloody shame that someone like the Adver haven't published it previously.

It does make you realise that the council are dealing with some pretty big figures and sniping around the edges won't get you anywhere near the tens of millions that need to be saved.

I actaully have some sympathy for Bluh (am I allowed to say that?) and I'm glad that we are starting to see some transparency.

The leisure facilities figures are interesting. A 10% increase in revenue would half the net running costs and a 25% increase would see them running at a profit. I wonder how much spare capacity is in the system? Very often when I go to play squash there is no one on before me or after me.

Muggins - I saw that on the TV this morning too. They mentioned that Swindon might have to reduce funding to its museum and art gallery. Here's a money saving tip - sack who ever's job it is to manage the museum and art gallery. I didn't even know they existed, so that manager clearly isn't doing their job. Just like the leisure centres, there is clearly plenty of spare capacity in the system that could be exploited.

Offline Tobes

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Re: Councillor Roderick Bluh's 'Budget Challenge'
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2010, 12:29:38 pm »
 :argh:

Steve - why bother making our opinions known? Seriously? TS is literally awash with threads outlining public concern over previous pieces of bodged, inefficient or ill-advised budgetary spending.

And never once has anyone listened.

We know that policy has essentially already been determined behind closed doors (along with every other serious decision which is then put out for 'CON-sultation': The supposedly public engagement aspect is merely there to add a false legitimacy to the cuts, ie. allude to a few untouchable and obviously insane suggestions, like cutting care provision for the elderly, then 'react' to the inevitable public outrage, and then 'reluctantly' do what the conservative cabinet have wanted to do for the past five years - disposing of things like Lower Shaw farm , cutting back on culture (but nothing that involves freebie tickets to BBC run events, mind), closing the museum down to a part time basis (with its laughable saving of £3k!)...

The subterfuge and the hypocrisy makes me so angry.

Elephant in the room , but here's two simple ways to have save £1.4m

NOT to have run the Big Weak-Spend vanity project (saving £1m+)
NOT to continue to subsidise the unworkable and grossly late WiFi vanity project (saving £450k and counting...)

Whilst they're at it, they could cap all future expenditure on outsourced consulancies to save multiple £thousands and they could immediately make available ALL empty council owned premises at pepper-corn rents to any aspiring new business which can present a viable first year plan (at least this ensures some sort of business rate return on them - and hopefully might stimulate our utterly stalled local ecconomy by giving some local entrepreneurs a chance)

What I can't understand is that for the last 5 years we've had endless tales coming from council about 'difficult but necessary decisions', increased savings, greater efficiencies and returns on investments - and then we get this! A budget cut by 1/3rd is simply untenable - and begs the question as to what does central govt really thinks about its 'flagship' council? Either they think SBC are $hit and deserve this fate - OR we the electorate are being used/abused because they want to see if SBC can get away with it electorially.

If things have GOT to be saved, lets stop doing things like
  • mowing roundabouts,
(I saw a team of five people this morning with a ride on mower doing this today)
  • fire 50%+ of the ever expanding army of parking attendants (oh, unless of course they REALLY ARE a revenue raiser after all, huh?) - and concentrate their activities on parking issues which effect the local ecconomy
  • Stop the 'recycling team' at the tip hiving off scrap and resalable items for their own perks and sell it at cheap prices back to the public (called REUSING - much more beneficial than recycling).
  • Completely stop any SBC subsidy to the inefficient and irrelevent New Swindon 'Forward Swindon' company. They don't provide the tax payer with anything (and I note that there appears to be roles duplicated with other positions within SBC).
  • Stop any and all rate payer subsidised 'jollies' whereby councillors nip off up to London with an unelected mate to go hobnob with the Mayor to talk about a failing project


But how's about this one. The precedent was set by numerous private employees right the way across the country, and was hailed by many of the same politicians who now want us to swallow this new pill. Hows about:

All employees of SBC earning over national average wage (including councillors for whom allowances and wages in addition to their other jobs take them over this figure) to take a 5% paycut for the next national electoral term.

If SBC councillors want us to accept some 'big changes' and accept a challenge, lets see them do the same.

Anyone going to hold their breath?
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Offline Mellon

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Re: Councillor Roderick Bluh's 'Budget Challenge'
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2010, 12:41:45 pm »
Mr wakefield do you mean regeneration of services or regeneration of the town?

Mellon I mean regenerate the town it is the adver thats says  there will be a 45 million pound shortfall. (see here)http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/8339557.Play_scheme_cuts_could_affect_thousands/ 

Rod Bluh states in the last 4 years his sadministration has saved £40 million pounds, add  the two and thats about 10 or 12 million a year lost to the Swindon economy, about a Million a month or  about 200k a week. I find it strange that the SSEP, FSB and Chamber of commerce have not commented on this, especially as I have said in light of the fact that the Police, Fire, NHS, MOD and Civil Service will make cuts. If we do not prepare the economy now how will we stem this 200K a week loss to our economy?

Maybe I am looking it at it all to simply an more talented people than I have the answers/solutions?  :-\

i disagree with regeneration in this current 'climate' or whatever its called now simply because taht money could be far better spent keeping people employed and the economy going, the job market has slowed down very rapidly and its getting very difficult to find work. With more and more people being booted out the door because money is becoming scarse regenerating will cause huge problems for swindons job market and economy.

its too late to prepare now..........where is 200k going? and how is it being lost?

regeneration is not the answer for me anyway, its a silly idea as people will be walking through town seeing new shiny council things and developing a deep hatred for anyone related to the council chamber. in short were buggered
"Duct tape is like the force. It has a light side, a dark side, and it holds the world together."

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Councillor Roderick Bluh's 'Budget Challenge'
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2010, 12:55:43 pm »
Tobes  :argh:

As Harry Enfield's the Scoucers say "Calm down Calm down then, do you want a frigging fight"  ;)

My worry is taking money out of the Swindon economy and not seeing anything coming in to replace it except possibly a Greggs, and just lately the Lewis store is welcome, however Swindon needs to have a highly skilled workforce earning above average salaries. Minimum wage economies will not bring the quality regeneration that many people hope fo. Doing things the Swindon way ie its the bottom line that is important above all else will leave us in a depressed (economic) situation. Think back to the late 80s and 90s and see how Swindon was shaping up, now audit it against that benchmark and you can see why as an elected member I am  :o

I can see that you have much to contribute to this, but its a case of this coalition government and this council were put into office in May and we have to work with the situation we find ourselves in. That may sound patronising, but its not meant to be as I am as  :argh: as anyone else as all can I see at the moment is public services and all the hard work of people done over the years being undone by this  fickle coalition in such a capricious way.
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Offline Tobes

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Re: Councillor Roderick Bluh's 'Budget Challenge'
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2010, 01:06:26 pm »
Quote
As Harry Enfield's the Scoucers say "Calm down Calm down then, do you want a frigging fight"

I do actually. Once again, I bet I see councillors puffing on cigars (be they real or metaphorical) and doing whats expedient for their poltical career and their parties agreed position, rather than whats either moral or right for the electorate.

I'd say thats enough to get anyone up off their couch. Make me frikken angry.
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Offline Tobes

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Re: Councillor Roderick Bluh's 'Budget Challenge'
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2010, 01:15:00 pm »
Quote
i disagree with regeneration in this current 'climate' or whatever its called now simply because taht money could be far better spent keeping people employed and the economy going, the job market has slowed down very rapidly and its getting very difficult to find work.

I totally agree - 'regeneration' in the current climate is in reality clutching at the lowest commone denominator in the hopes that something (anything) is better than nothing - and as an example, I refer you to Regents Circus. It sound to me like the developer there thinks he has the council by the gonads: Instead of a Waitrose, we['ve ended up with a Morrisons... and I suspect that the supposedly 'high class' bars and restaraunts will turn out to be sinmilarly downgraded in terms or brand and customer. And as for the longer term, we don't need an entire generation of bar workers and till monkeys (no disrespect to those that do - but its not the basis for a balanced generation of people with an array of skills).

We'd actually be much better off accepting a town in mothballs rather than a repeat of everything which has gone before: compromise creating tatty, down at heel and unimaginative developments which decay into bland and decaying mediocrity after a short period (eg, The Brunel).
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - Voltaire 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Councillor Roderick Bluh's 'Budget Challenge'
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2010, 01:31:08 pm »
Quote
Mellon
I disagree with regeneration in this current 'climate' or whatever its called now simply because taht money could be far better spent keeping people employed and the economy going, the job market has slowed down very rapidly and its getting very difficult to find work. With more and more people being booted out the door because money is becoming scarse regenerating will cause huge problems for swindons job market and economy.

its too late to prepare now..........where is 200k going? and how is it being lost?

regeneration is not the answer for me anyway, its a silly idea as people will be walking through town seeing new shiny council things and developing a deep hatred for anyone related to the council chamber. in short were buggered

Mellon as ever good point. What is regeneration? For me it is more than shining new council buildings. There is a need for new employment facilities, roads and railways etc.  I was pointing out that massive infrastructure projects like TVP etc are an option  to provide jobs and circulate money in the economy. It will not be the council that regenerates anything, it usually is the private sector that spends its own money regenerating. The council should be making Swindon a place  to use its own words the place to do business. It is no good just saying that we have to do it.

Maybe Mellon on reflection of your points for some it would be good if Swindon had someone as shy and retiring, but as talented as the like of Michael O'leary of Ryan Air taking us forward.  ;)
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Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Councillor Roderick Bluh's 'Budget Challenge'
« Reply #18 on: August 19, 2010, 01:32:15 pm »
Quote
Mellon

I disagree with regeneration in this current 'climate' or whatever its called now simply because taht money could be far better spent keeping people employed and the economy going, the job market has slowed down very rapidly and its getting very difficult to find work. With more and more people being booted out the door because money is becoming scarse regenerating will cause huge problems for swindons job market and economy.

its too late to prepare now..........where is 200k going? and how is it being lost?

regeneration is not the answer for me anyway, its a silly idea as people will be walking through town seeing new shiny council things and developing a deep hatred for anyone related to the council chamber. in short were buggered

Mellon as ever good point. What is regeneration? For me it is more than shining new council buildings. There is a need for new employment facilities, roads and railways etc.  I was pointing out that massive infrastructure projects like TVP etc are an option  to provide jobs and circulate money in the economy. It will not be the council that regenerates anything, it usually is the private sector that spends its own money regenerating. The council should be making Swindon a place  to use its own words the place to do business. It is no good just saying that we have to do it.

Maybe Mellon on reflection of your points for some it would be good if Swindon had someone as shy and retiring, but as talented as the like of Michael O'leary of Ryan Air taking us forward.  ;)
All posts on this forum are my own and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: Councillor Roderick Bluh's 'Budget Challenge'
« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2010, 01:38:53 pm »
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i disagree with regeneration in this current 'climate' or whatever its called now simply because taht money could be far better spent keeping people employed and the economy going, the job market has slowed down very rapidly and its getting very difficult to find work.

I totally agree - 'regeneration' in the current climate is in reality clutching at the lowest commone denominator in the hopes that something (anything) is better than nothing - and as an example, I refer you to Regents Circus. It sound to me like the developer there thinks he has the council by the gonads: Instead of a Waitrose, we['ve ended up with a Morrisons... and I suspect that the supposedly 'high class' bars and restaraunts will turn out to be sinmilarly downgraded in terms or brand and customer. And as for the longer term, we don't need an entire generation of bar workers and till monkeys (no disrespect to those that do - but its not the basis for a balanced generation of people with an array of skills).

We'd actually be much better off accepting a town in mothballs rather than a repeat of everything which has gone before: compromise creating tatty, down at heel and unimaginative developments which decay into bland and decaying mediocrity after a short period (eg, The Brunel).

Tobes there is regeneration and there is regeneration, but its nearly always done with private money as as they say you pays your money and takes your chance so its really down to who brings the money in.  The question you have to ask is Why Swindon? If I am a successful business why would I want to go to Swindon?

Answer that and I am sure Forward Swindon have the answers. As they say kerching money, come rolling in that is private money for development in Swindon and to regenerate the economy.
All posts on this forum are my own and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

 

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