Hello. My name is Steve Carr, Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Bramote and Beeston North and Borough Councillor for Beeston North. I have taken over the editing of this newsletter from David Watts, who is currently up to his neck in work and teenage children! David, thanks for all you have done, and will do in the future.
Some news this week.
1. Local Government Budgets
I have had a briefing from the Finance Director at County Hall and the figures are not good. The County Council have a shortfall of £31m between their income and expenditure for 2018/19 which is a huge amount. The Government are allowing councils to increase Council Tax by 3% this year (previously 2%). The County Council, which has social care responsibilities can also increase your Council Tax by another 3%. I cannot see how the County Council can afford not to increase Council Tax if they want to avoid very damaging cuts to social services, care for the elderly and education.
Broxtowe are yet to share their figures with opposition councillors.
2. Police Funding
The Government have announced that Nottinghamshire’s funding for police will be the same for 2018/19 as it was for 2017/18. Because inflation is now running at 3%, this is an effective cut of around £3.5m. The Government have encouraged Police Crime Commissioners to increase their part of the Council Tax by 3% and, if they do so, they may be able to access more funding. We Liberal Democrats view this as the Government passing the burden from central government to council tax payers. This was the subject of a motion at last week’s County Council meeting which called for the Government not to pass this burden onto council tax payers. The Liberal Democrats, Labour and Independents voted for this motion but, surprisingly, the Conservatives voted against.
3. Broxtowe Council Tenants
Conservative controlled Broxtowe Council have decided to implement fixed term tenancies for NEW tenants. This is a requirement of the Planning & Housing Act 2016 but is not yet enforceable, nor will be in the forseeable future. Opposition members on the Council cannot see the rush in implementing this measure without consultation and further discussion. Even more surpisingly they have suggested a “one size fits all” term of 5 years which could lead to elderly, disabled and families with children worrying about the future. The Act gives many options, some up to 10 year terms. Many councils have given 10 year terms for elderly, disabled and tenants with caring duties. The Act also makes provision for families with children. If a home contains children under the age of 9, the term can expire on the 19th birthday of the youngest child. I think this is sensible given that a child needs stability both emotionally and educationally.
I hope the Conservatives listen to these concerns as I think their 5 year term only approach could be storing up many problems for the future.
4. Holocaust Memorial Day
To mark the 18th Holocaust Memorial Day, a short ceremony will take place at the Holocaust Memorial within the Walled Garden at Bramcote Hills Park on Friday 26th January at 10:50am for 11:00am start. Unfortunately, there are no warming coffees available, but you will be aware that David Watts and his team are working very hard to put that right.
5. Former Councillor Keith Longden
It is with sadness that I have to let readers know about the sudden death of former Councillor Keith Longden. Keith was “Mr Eastwood” being County Councillor for the town for eight years until May 2017. He was also a Borough Councillor until 2011. He was a pleasure to be with and a loyal team player. No matter how we was feeling, the retort to the question “How are you?” was always “Marvellous.” He was immensly funny and could turn a bad tempered Liberal Democrat Group meeting into fits of laughter within seconds. It is a sad loss for Eastwood and Broxtowe Borough and I will miss him terribly.
His funeral is on 31st January at 2:30pm at St Mary’s Church, Church Street, Eastwood. The family have requested no flowers but a collection will be held for all the Youth projects in Eastwood that Keith supported. He would have loved that.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and hope you have found some of the points interesting and informative.