Labour's hidden programme of cuts

From Spencer Drury, PPC for Greenwich & Woolwich

Conservatives recently uncovered a hidden programme of cuts, planned by Labour’s Greenwich Council. In a document marked confidential, leaked to the Leader of the Conservative Group, Cllr Spencer Drury, Labour discusses its plans for £26.8m of cuts following the next set of Council elections
The leaked document called ‘Future Financial Strategy 2011/12 to 2014/15 Potential Work Streams’ was presented to a Labour Group Meeting on behalf of the Labour Leader of the Council .
The briefing makes clear that the programme of cuts is ‘being pursued by officers’ and states “Current best estimates are that a four year freeze to Council budgets would require a reduction in revenue budgets of £26.m over the four year period of the next administration.” 
Areas which are identified as having potential to produce cuts or extra revenue are:-
  • Reducing still further the separate Neighbourhood Offices
  • Reducing funding to the voluntary sector (stated as “As a minimum this is likely to require cash limited and possibly reduced budgets.”)
  • Stopping some Council services
  • Within social services reviewing the eligibility criteria (to make less people eligible for care) and restricted access to services (“examine options to reduce demand and volume”)
  • Raising charges to leaseholders
  • Raising council charges still further.
After the 2006 Council Elections, the Labour Cabinet announced a programme of £24.7m of cuts (through service reductions and fee increases) which they had not advertised prior to the elections. In their 2009/10 budget, the Labour Cabinet chose to freeze fee increases.
Conservative Group Leader and Parliamentary Candidate for Greenwich and Woolwich at the next elections Cllr Spencer Drury said “The Labour Party has clearly got a hidden programme of cuts already in place – just as it did in 2006. They are taking voters for granted and refusing to be honest about their plans. 
“It seems that the old, the vulnerable and other users of Council services will be affected once again  if Labour wins. To add to that Labour are planning to cut whole areas of services, potentially including the VOCU police unit which has worked so hard to reduce crime in the Woolwich and Thamesmead areas.
“After 40 years in power this is a complacent, tired and dishonest Labour-run council and it is time for a change.”