Call for council chairman’s chauffeur-driven car to be axed

Nine out of ten people who responded to a questionnaire about cuts at Lichfield District Council have called for the chairman’s car and chauffeur to be axed.

The local authority is looking for ways to save money ahead of a further £2.4million of cuts to be introduced by 2016.

Seventy per cent of people also called for a reduction in the amount of money given to the Lichfield Garrick.

Cllr Steve Norman

Cllr Steve Norman

Cllr Steve Norman, leader of the Labour opposition group at Lichfield District Council, said the Cabinet needed to listen to the views of local residents.

“While I am not surprised that 90 per cent of respondents wanted to get rid of the Chairman’s chauffeur and car, I was surprised that 60 per cent agreed with stopping full business rate relief for charities.

“The argument over the size of the subsidy to the Lichfield Garrick that the Labour Group has been making for some time on behalf of our voters is supported by 70 per cent of respondents – and 70 per cent of respondents, me included, say they use the Garrick.

“In contrast to the Fit for the Future cuts that prompted the petition, respondents were opposed to cuts in grants to local organisations.

“There has to be more community engagement and understanding of the results and of course we have to balance the books at the end of the day but at least we now know what is important to residents and what is not.

“This time it will not be just the gang of six Cabinet members telling us what is valued and what is not.”

The questionnaire also revealed that people in Lichfield and Burntwood supported other ways to save money, including reducing the number of councillors, cutting the opening hours of the council’s customer services desk.

Councillor Martyn Tittley, chairman of the cross-party working group that organised the questionnaire, added: “The questionnaire was not a referendum – it was designed to help councillors understand local people’s views better and to help them make sound decisions on the future of council services in the coming months and years.

“The results of the questionnaire will now be fed into business cases that explore how the ideas could be delivered and what impact they might have locally.

“The business cases will then be used to help shape the decisions councillors make about future budgets next year and beyond.”

Cllr Mike Wilcox

Cllr Mike Wilcox

Meanwhile, people gave suggestions for raising money including charging for disabled parking bays and in council-run car parks in Chasetown, as well as introducing an admission charge for events such as the Lichfield Proms in Beacon Park.

More than half of those who replied also backed plans to raise council tax.

Councillor Mike Wilcox, Leader of Lichfield District Council, said: “We now have a statistically robust sample of local views to help us shape our future services.

“We know our services are valued, so changing or stopping any of them will be hard. However, due to further cuts in our funding from government, we need to save another £2.4 million by 2016, so it’s really important that we continue this process.”

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

7 Comments

  1. Rob

    22nd September, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    It’s all very well quoting percentages of respondents, how many questionnaires were actually completed?

  2. Rob

    24th September, 2014 at 9:43 am

    So, the thing that most respondents wanted was a reduction in the number of councillors yet the people’s representative failed to mention this and was more concerned about a car.
    Democracy can be a nuisance at times, or maybe he forgot?

  3. Councillor Steve Norman

    24th September, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    “Rob” is wrong – again – both on his maths and in his view of what I said. My Labour Group has argued for and ensured that there would be consultation on the budget. This was resisted by some Cabinet members, though not the Leader, when we argued the case. I was also a member of the Working Group that agreed the question about the number of elected reprsentatives – knowing what the result might be. The full report can be found at http://www.lichfielddc.gov.uk/yourview.

  4. Darryl

    24th September, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Cuts, cuts everywhere and yet costs keep rising. I wonder why that is?

  5. Rob

    24th September, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    Maybe you’d better correct the Express & Star too:
    http://www.expressandstar.com/news/2014/09/24/survey-calls-for-councillors-to-be-cut-down/
    according to them reducing the number of councillors was “top of the list” and it seems quite popular across the board:
    http://www.expressandstar.com/editors-picks/2014/09/24/poll-should-the-number-of-councillors-in-the-black-country-and-staffordshire-be-cut/
    I wonder why that is?

  6. johnthemon

    25th September, 2014 at 9:34 am

    “I was surprised that 60 per cent agreed with stopping full business rate relief for charities.”

    If it was taken into consideration how much actually eventually goes to “charities” that may be a good pointer. It is all well and good to keep saying “we are a charity” and charging X amount to rent a hall, with very little if any actually going to an outside charity.

  7. Rob

    25th September, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    But plenty going to the CEOs and directors.