Darlington council leader blasts 'unfair' second wave of cuts

A COUNCIL leader has blasted the coalition Goverment's efforts to fix the economy by forcing local authorities to make further cuts.

Darlington Borough Council's cabinet met on Tuesday (February 19) to discuss the authority's budget for 2013/14.

Despite having already made cuts worth £20m since 2010, the council is being forced to find another £17m of savings, with £3m worth built into the draft budget for the coming financial year.

Council leader Bill Dixon disputed an assertion in a report to members that further cuts could be made without affecting frontline services, at a time when hundreds of council staff face uncertainty over their jobs.

Efforts to identify the £14m of cuts needed over the financial years 2014/15 to 2016/17 are ongoing, with Coun Dixon urging the public to participate in a forthcoming widespread consultation exercise.

He said: “We will consult over the summer. This is a difficult budget at £3m (of cuts), but we have got to find another £14m. The real unfairness is that we were told to cut millions from our budget and we did it.

“This government has failed miserably with its spending cuts and has visited us again. So our reward for balancing the books is to be told we have to find even more cuts.

“You could not run a lunatic asylum under those rules.”

The budget, which includes a two per cent council tax rise for Darlington residents, has been approved in principle by the cabinet and will be put before the full council later this month.

Representatives from public service union Unison attended the meeting to speak on behalf of the council staff facing redundancy as a result of the cuts.

Bob Wood, from the union, said about 20 per cent of the council’s staff who don't work in schools had been lost in recent years.

He said: “We call on the council to encourage voluntary redundancy, rather than compulsory, to redeploy staff and to support those who are made redundant to find employment elsewhere.”

He stressed the importance of ensuring the process is handled correctly, saying failing to get it right would cost the council “money it cannot afford”.

Mr Wood added: “These cuts are disastrous for Darlington’s economy – hundreds of lost council jobs will have an impact on just about every business in the town.”

Comments (11)

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8:32pm Tue 19 Feb 13

stevegg says...

Typical labour run council - cut front line services the public want to make them feel the pain, put up council tax by the maximum allowed without going to a referendum (otherwise it would be in double figures!) then blame the lib/con coalition government at the same time as leaving chief executives, senior/middle management virtually untouched and grossly overpaid, also keeping all the ludicrous 'no jobs' intact. They want us all to believe that no further cuts can be made and its the governments fault whilst protecting their gold plated pensions. conditions at all costs. If Dixon had his way we would be paying 15% rises year on year!
Typical labour run council - cut front line services the public want to make them feel the pain, put up council tax by the maximum allowed without going to a referendum (otherwise it would be in double figures!) then blame the lib/con coalition government at the same time as leaving chief executives, senior/middle management virtually untouched and grossly overpaid, also keeping all the ludicrous 'no jobs' intact. They want us all to believe that no further cuts can be made and its the governments fault whilst protecting their gold plated pensions. conditions at all costs. If Dixon had his way we would be paying 15% rises year on year! stevegg
  • Score: 4

10:41pm Tue 19 Feb 13

hemmi1 says...

could not have put this better myself
could not have put this better myself hemmi1
  • Score: 2

10:54pm Tue 19 Feb 13

Spy Boy says...

Money goes in the main to essential services. We accept this, but the council don't seem to be able to work smart. I would hope that the highly paid execs at the Town Hall would be able to come up with a realistic plan to cut cost withouthitting the front line. Stupid decisions on such things as wheelie bins that no one seems to want, through-a-bouts and such like, are crippling us. Things are getting worse by the day and we still haven't hit rock bottom, but I have yet to read of a council exec being made redundant saving us well over £100,000 a year plus expenses. If we've lost 20% of our staff, we can lose 20% of the inept execs and managers.
Money goes in the main to essential services. We accept this, but the council don't seem to be able to work smart. I would hope that the highly paid execs at the Town Hall would be able to come up with a realistic plan to cut cost withouthitting the front line. Stupid decisions on such things as wheelie bins that no one seems to want, through-a-bouts and such like, are crippling us. Things are getting worse by the day and we still haven't hit rock bottom, but I have yet to read of a council exec being made redundant saving us well over £100,000 a year plus expenses. If we've lost 20% of our staff, we can lose 20% of the inept execs and managers. Spy Boy
  • Score: 3

8:19am Wed 20 Feb 13

Madadrian says...

I see no sign of Dixon getting his snout out of the tax trough. £30000 a year seems a bit high for voluntary public office in local government. Trouble is he is not the only greedy pig at the trough
I see no sign of Dixon getting his snout out of the tax trough. £30000 a year seems a bit high for voluntary public office in local government. Trouble is he is not the only greedy pig at the trough Madadrian
  • Score: 3

11:01am Wed 20 Feb 13

we need to know says...

stevegg wrote:
Typical labour run council - cut front line services the public want to make them feel the pain, put up council tax by the maximum allowed without going to a referendum (otherwise it would be in double figures!) then blame the lib/con coalition government at the same time as leaving chief executives, senior/middle management virtually untouched and grossly overpaid, also keeping all the ludicrous 'no jobs' intact. They want us all to believe that no further cuts can be made and its the governments fault whilst protecting their gold plated pensions. conditions at all costs. If Dixon had his way we would be paying 15% rises year on year!
in street scene they have managers managing managers .... joke

if it was looked into properly they could save 3 front line staff and remove one manager
[quote][p][bold]stevegg[/bold] wrote: Typical labour run council - cut front line services the public want to make them feel the pain, put up council tax by the maximum allowed without going to a referendum (otherwise it would be in double figures!) then blame the lib/con coalition government at the same time as leaving chief executives, senior/middle management virtually untouched and grossly overpaid, also keeping all the ludicrous 'no jobs' intact. They want us all to believe that no further cuts can be made and its the governments fault whilst protecting their gold plated pensions. conditions at all costs. If Dixon had his way we would be paying 15% rises year on year![/p][/quote]in street scene they have managers managing managers .... joke if it was looked into properly they could save 3 front line staff and remove one manager we need to know
  • Score: 1

5:32pm Wed 20 Feb 13

behonest says...

So Darlington hits local residents with a 5.5% council tax increase in little over a year (the maximum they are legally allowed to impose), whilst Durham does not increase their council tax at all over the same period.

Why do Darlo Labour councillors treat local people with such contempt?
So Darlington hits local residents with a 5.5% council tax increase in little over a year (the maximum they are legally allowed to impose), whilst Durham does not increase their council tax at all over the same period. Why do Darlo Labour councillors treat local people with such contempt? behonest
  • Score: 1

5:45pm Wed 20 Feb 13

behonest says...

Is it not time that Darlington cease to be a unitary authority, and as many of their functions as possible are transferred to the County Council to be managed?

There is no need to have the massively expensive top level of management in Darlo council and there would be huge savings if as much management as possible was done at County level.

Darlo residents need not care, as long as they continue to receive local services, what does it matter who manages them?
Is it not time that Darlington cease to be a unitary authority, and as many of their functions as possible are transferred to the County Council to be managed? There is no need to have the massively expensive top level of management in Darlo council and there would be huge savings if as much management as possible was done at County level. Darlo residents need not care, as long as they continue to receive local services, what does it matter who manages them? behonest
  • Score: 1

9:20am Thu 21 Feb 13

oliviaden6 says...

Instead of being shocked and upset about the cuts. CUT the WAGE BILLS of the Council Officers. It might surprise you that there may be more monies to go round then. I wonder if DBC will freeze the council tax or not, all around us are freezing theirs??????????????
???????????????????
Instead of being shocked and upset about the cuts. CUT the WAGE BILLS of the Council Officers. It might surprise you that there may be more monies to go round then. I wonder if DBC will freeze the council tax or not, all around us are freezing theirs?????????????? ??????????????????? oliviaden6
  • Score: 0

12:03pm Thu 21 Feb 13

frankyboy says...

Is it just me or is this article very one-sided, being totally supportive of DBC?

Durham and North Yorkshire are freezing council tax again, yet DBC are raising ours for the second year running by the maximum legal amount. Surely this fact should be more prominent in this story?

Yet this Echo article does not really refer to this fact (instead just making the short comment 'which includes a two per cent council tax rise for Darlington residents', well into the article. The whole focus of the article is about 'Government cuts', distracting us from the tax rise, yet these cuts have been known about for nearly 3 years.

It leads me to suspect that the Echo has some kind of agreement with DBC that they will not report negatively on any tax or major policy decisions that the Council makes.

Andy Walker is probably just the messenger, with the agreement being between Peter Barron and the Council leaders, but it is disappointing for local people, particularly as the Echo claims to be a campaigning newspaper.
Is it just me or is this article very one-sided, being totally supportive of DBC? Durham and North Yorkshire are freezing council tax again, yet DBC are raising ours for the second year running by the maximum legal amount. Surely this fact should be more prominent in this story? Yet this Echo article does not really refer to this fact (instead just making the short comment 'which includes a two per cent council tax rise for Darlington residents', well into the article. The whole focus of the article is about 'Government cuts', distracting us from the tax rise, yet these cuts have been known about for nearly 3 years. It leads me to suspect that the Echo has some kind of agreement with DBC that they will not report negatively on any tax or major policy decisions that the Council makes. Andy Walker is probably just the messenger, with the agreement being between Peter Barron and the Council leaders, but it is disappointing for local people, particularly as the Echo claims to be a campaigning newspaper. frankyboy
  • Score: 2

12:15pm Thu 21 Feb 13

frankyboy says...

A bit like the agreement I suspect the Echo has with 'Balance', in constantly publishing articles that promote the minimum price of alcohol tax.

But don't get me started on that one...!
A bit like the agreement I suspect the Echo has with 'Balance', in constantly publishing articles that promote the minimum price of alcohol tax. But don't get me started on that one...! frankyboy
  • Score: 1

4:27pm Fri 8 Mar 13

benjaman says...

the council has got know respect for its workers it is all down to money you have to gain respect to urn respected back has a worker we have been told by or manager we have got know rights or protection with in our job role if we wonted this we would have to go and work in a shop these people think they can get away with bullying us workers all the time because they have got power these managers know who they are
the council has got know respect for its workers it is all down to money you have to gain respect to urn respected back has a worker we have been told by or manager we have got know rights or protection with in our job role if we wonted this we would have to go and work in a shop these people think they can get away with bullying us workers all the time because they have got power these managers know who they are benjaman
  • Score: 0

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