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Lichfield and Burntwood residents told to make their voices heard on cuts

Residents in Lichfield and Burntwood have been warned that they must stand up and fight for services facing the axe as part of widespread cuts.

Lichfield District Council is planning to make £1.7million worth of savings in the next year as part of its Fit for the Future review.

The first stage of the process of ratifying the proposals – which include severe reductions to leisure, community transport and other services – will take place when the local authority’s overview and scrutiny committee meet tomorrow (June 20).

Members from both the Labour and Conservative side of the council will be able to discuss the route the Cabinet is taking to make the savings without any pressure from their political parties.

The meeting will take place in the Council Chamber at 6pm and Labour group leader Cllr Steve Norman believes now is the time for residents to make their feelings known.

Cllr Steve Norman

Cllr Steve Norman

“It important that good scrutiny is seen to be done this Thursday,” he said. “Members from both parties should be asking questions and testing the assumptions made in the Fit for the Future’ document produced by the Leader and the new Chief Executive.

“The proposed budget cuts are severe and it is extremely difficult to see where further ‘efficiencies’ can be made without actually cutting valued services. Nevertheless that is the duty of all elected members and those on scrutiny committees in particular where there is no party political whip.

“This meeting, called to look at the strategic and governance aspect of the proposed £1.7 million worth of budget cuts for next year, will not be getting into the details as that will be the responsibility of the other scrutiny committees.

“However, this is the opportunity to hold the Cabinet to account with regard to its approach and strategy for dealing with the problem of reduced government grant and no confidence by businesses to invest and house builders to build.

“With the meeting being held in the Council Chamber there is no excuse for interested members of the public and press not to be there to see that the scrutiny process is done well. It will be no good complaining when a valued service is lost if public support has been absent during the discussions.”

Cllr Norman has also criticised local Conservative MPs Michael Fabricant and Christopher Pincher over the cuts, which have been sparked by a reduction in central government funding.

“Lichfield District Council’s Parliamentary representatives, Mr Fabricant and Mr Pincher, seem to have hung their own district Conservative colleagues out to dry over this issue, presumably because they side with the Local Government Minister, Eric Pickles,” Cllr Norman added.

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  1. Wiggy

    19th June, 2013 at 11:58 am

    Do we really expect any better of Fabby though? He’s to busy playing the joker on twitter to bother getting involved in real issues in Lichfield.

  2. Cynic

    19th June, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Perhaps I have missed it but I have not seen much debate where people have suggested area’s that could be cut/reduced.
    The most vociferous appear to be in favor of giving money to the fun palace at the detriment of any other area.
    Lets see some suggestions of area’s they can cut/reduce.

    Here are my suggestions I have not seen mentioned – blue badge parking abuse – put a charge of £5 on all parking in pedestrian (LOL) area – have someone (anyone) check for blue badge abuse on all car parks – collect more of the outstanding council tax.

  3. Some Bloke

    19th June, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    Something is deeply wrong in the world when I find myself constantly agreeing with Mr Cynic. I’d love to here more ideas and suggestions about what is important to people in Lichfield and Burntwood, and Fazeley, and Armitage, Handacre, Wittington, about what they want to see their Council Tax Money spent on or not spent on.

  4. Wilson the Volleyball

    20th June, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Why doesn’t Lichfield share more services with Tamworth? It works well for the bins? Personally I think they need to spend more money on transport, especially to the industrial parks. I don’t know if the council is directly responsible for this, but it would be nice to have a decent bus service.

  5. Ross

    20th June, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Page 34 of the report states that, on CCTV at least, sharing services with Tamworth would cost more than the current cost of running the service as it is. There are no details or breakdown of this, but this could well be questioned as the Fit for the Future proposals move through the various phases.

  6. Cynic

    20th June, 2013 at 10:52 am

    I don’t see why the public CCTV can not be viewed by the public.
    There are lots of CCTV available on line in UK so no legal problems. It would ensure more coverage and the cost should be close to zero or even a saving.
    Why would linking to Tamworth cost extra – does anyone know?

  7. Doopster

    20th June, 2013 at 11:12 am

    It is my understanding that the CCTV HQ is within the Three Spires Precinct’s management suite, and they allow LDC to use it.

  8. wiggy

    20th June, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Wilson, I think it’s pretty fair to say that the prospect of any money being spent is low indeed. This is all about cutting costs and working out where money can be saved. It isn’t small beans either, this is big bucks. The real pain will come once the obvious savings have been made this year. Yes, they’ll be annoying and hurt some people but it’ll be in the next five years that people will really notice it as things that we all take for granted get hacked apart as the council looks to shave even more pennies off the budget. This first round is like a ripple on the water compared to the tsunami on the horizon. Hold on tight people – its going to be a bumpy ride.

  9. Ross

    20th June, 2013 at 11:18 am

    In terms of the cost, Cynic, there’s no detail on why it costs more to share services (although re-routing feeds etc may be part of it). But these will be the sort of details picked over by the relevant committees you would hope.

  10. Mr Lichfield

    20th June, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    strange reading the report, which I must say is in my view contradictory to say the least

    One thing that I see missing is any “management” restructure. It talks a lot about getting rid of what appears to be everyday workers, admin assistance, the general people who actually provide the physical service, but nowhere in its entirety does it mention the “Large” management structure for approximately 300 employees and the need to perhaps loose some directors or at least merge director posts ??

    I understand there is Chief Executive, A Finance director, A leisure Director , A Legal Director, An operational director, A Housing and Health Director that means 6 posts above £70k each looking after 300 employees?

    Then I noticed there are heads of services for , IT, Housing, Legal, Planning Manager, Building Control Manager, Environmental Health, Two Planning executives (whatever they are?), Electoral Registration & democracy, Community Services, Health & Safety, Council Tax and Revenues, Customer contact centre, Communications and Press Office (Must be busy these days i suspect). this list goes on.

    Its staggering. Maybe looking at the structure first would be more sensible than cutting services that ARE actually needed