Welcome to an update for the month of July. Details and debate below on the fast tracking of the parks privatisation programme, the mounting cuts menace and the (rather depressing) results of our information request on fly-tipping.
Parks provision: more risk to services and a loss of accountability
Our new Tory-Liberal Council is wasting no time in aping the aggressive policies of its sister government in slashing the state provision of services. The last Labour-led Council was intent on privatising the maintenance of our parks and countryside services. This is now being fast-tracked by the new Tory-led administration.
Unsurprisingly, having asked a private-sector consultancy to report on parks provision the Council has been asked to adopt a private sector solution. Incredibly, we are expected to believe that not only will this improve delivery to the public but will also save the Council £10 million over 10 years.
However, on reading the Consultant’s report you also discover that:
- The private sector option is by far the riskiest
- It also has the highest up-front costs so will be more expensive in the short term
- The proposed savings are based on the most optimistic assumptions
- The report ignores the substantial savings to be made by modernising the existing in-house provision at far less risk to the public
The reality is that contracting out these services is likely to reduce quality, cut working conditions and make services less accountable to members of the public. Consultation as usual is completely lacking especially with the existing work force who have not been given the opportunity to show how services could be maintained at reduced cost. This rather than bringing in outside consultants would be a much more progressive approach.
You can read the full report to Council here.
Cuts: Council wastes no time in slashing services
If you want to get a flavour of the scale of cuts to local services just look at what is happening to transport provision. Over £1m has been cut from the local transport budget. This represents 20% of the total budget. However, scheduled road works on major routes have been ring-fenced. This means that all of the following will see a 25% cut in expenditure:
- Road Safety
- Air Quality
Funds allocated to basic road maintenance have also been cut.
We all know how poor the condition of our roads and pavements already is. Also, anyone who has read the Green Party newsletter in the past will be aware that road safety in Wirral significantly lags the rest of the country. These cuts can only mean that these issues will become even more acute.
Wirral: A fly-tippers paradise?
For the past few years the Green Party has been persistently highlighting the issue of fly-tipping across Birkenhead and Tranmere. Dismayed by the lack of results we asked the Council how many people have been prosecuted for fly-tipping across Birkenhead and Tranmere in each of the past three years. The dismally disappointing figure is precisely zero!
Not only that but prosecutions for littering have fallen dramatically in recent years. You can view the full details on my website.
A shorter than usual streets update this month due to the holiday season. However, we are pleased to report that after numerous emails and phone calls we finally got Streetscene to clear rubbish from the entries along Westbourne Road.
Our residents survey resumes this week. If you live in the Hinderton Road area we may well be knocking on your door to get your thoughts.