Labour, Tories, unions - all play the blame game for worst cuts

Council leader Richard Williams

Opposition boss Royston Smith

Union boss Mike Tucker

First published in News

A ROW blew up last night between unions, Labour and the Conservatives over who is to blame for the council’s financial mess.

Finance boss Cllr Simon Letts said the Government had two years ago said grant funding would be cut by 0.6 per cent in 2013/14.

But he said the council was now bracing itself for an eight to 12 per cent cut when the figure is confirmed next month.

He said the funding cut, worth between £9m and £12m, could have averted any cuts to frontline services.

Council leader Cllr Richard Williams said the worse-than- expected Government grant had made “a difficult job near-impossible”.

Unison branch secretary Mike Tucker said the futures of hundreds of council staff were “being put at risk by the economic policy of the Conservatives”.

Unite branch secretary Mark Wood said it was “absolutely clear that Tory Government imposition on Southampton’s finances is to blame for these massive cuts with George Osborne’s austerity agenda beginning to hit home in a devastating manner”.

Unions have also accused the previous Tory administration of adding to the budget deficit by running down reserves, taking one-off handouts to freeze council tax and saddling the council with interest payments by borrowing for capital projects such as the arts complex and Sea City museum.

But Tory group leader Cllr Royston Smith said the projects were mostly paid for by grants and other funding sources. He said: “It’s nonsense. We left a £6.9m underspend and did not raid reserves. It’s a weak and dishonest argument.”

He said Conservatives would have protected hundreds of jobs by not restoring pay cuts and would have outsourced and shared services to save cash and protect services.

Mr Tucker said the cost of partially restoring staff pay next year, around £660,000, was the same as had been set aside by the Tories for legal compensation for “dismissing the entire workforce and rehiring them on lower pay”.

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Comments (7)

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8:04am Tue 13 Nov 12

loosehead says...

So the Labour Party & the Unions are blaming the Tories?
What is Williams or either of the Unions going to admit they lied to get Labour into power?
Did not Williams make a statement to this paper outlining 1,500 job cuts with fortnightly collections?
Did he not after having talks with said Unions say he never said it to the Echo reporter?
Did not the Tories put in an £8million pound grant application to keep weekly collections plus the jobs that go with it?
I hope the voters see this for what it is Labours Great MESS
So the Labour Party & the Unions are blaming the Tories? What is Williams or either of the Unions going to admit they lied to get Labour into power? Did not Williams make a statement to this paper outlining 1,500 job cuts with fortnightly collections? Did he not after having talks with said Unions say he never said it to the Echo reporter? Did not the Tories put in an £8million pound grant application to keep weekly collections plus the jobs that go with it? I hope the voters see this for what it is Labours Great MESS loosehead
  • Score: 0

8:26am Tue 13 Nov 12

Over the Edge says...

loosehead wrote:
So the Labour Party & the Unions are blaming the Tories?
What is Williams or either of the Unions going to admit they lied to get Labour into power?
Did not Williams make a statement to this paper outlining 1,500 job cuts with fortnightly collections?
Did he not after having talks with said Unions say he never said it to the Echo reporter?
Did not the Tories put in an £8million pound grant application to keep weekly collections plus the jobs that go with it?
I hope the voters see this for what it is Labours Great MESS
I think the Tories would have struggled given the extra cut in central Government funding, the blame for this lays firmly at the door of Eric Pickles and George Osborne, they're systematically crippling local Government by enforcing budgets cuts to most local authorities.

When in opposition a political party or councillor doesn't know the full extent of the cities finances nor can they control extra budget cuts, therefore although a tad naive of Cllr Williams to make promises he couldn't possibly keep (without full knowledge of the financial position) you can't really him blame for extra cuts in budgets imposed by the Government.

Eric Pickles will not announce the full extent of the SCC budget cut until 24-12-12, I suppose it will be delivered with Bah Humbug card, why wait until Christmas Eve before announcing it, does hope that the people of Southampton will not notice?
[quote][p][bold]loosehead[/bold] wrote: So the Labour Party & the Unions are blaming the Tories? What is Williams or either of the Unions going to admit they lied to get Labour into power? Did not Williams make a statement to this paper outlining 1,500 job cuts with fortnightly collections? Did he not after having talks with said Unions say he never said it to the Echo reporter? Did not the Tories put in an £8million pound grant application to keep weekly collections plus the jobs that go with it? I hope the voters see this for what it is Labours Great MESS[/p][/quote]I think the Tories would have struggled given the extra cut in central Government funding, the blame for this lays firmly at the door of Eric Pickles and George Osborne, they're systematically crippling local Government by enforcing budgets cuts to most local authorities. When in opposition a political party or councillor doesn't know the full extent of the cities finances nor can they control extra budget cuts, therefore although a tad naive of Cllr Williams to make promises he couldn't possibly keep (without full knowledge of the financial position) you can't really him blame for extra cuts in budgets imposed by the Government. Eric Pickles will not announce the full extent of the SCC budget cut until 24-12-12, I suppose it will be delivered with Bah Humbug card, why wait until Christmas Eve before announcing it, does hope that the people of Southampton will not notice? Over the Edge
  • Score: 0

10:36am Tue 13 Nov 12

Xgipper says...

Has the Echo investigated the answer to their question "who's to blame" other than through reporting soundbites from these endlessly warring factions? Perhaps there's more depth in the print edition?
Has the Echo investigated the answer to their question "who's to blame" other than through reporting soundbites from these endlessly warring factions? Perhaps there's more depth in the print edition? Xgipper
  • Score: 0

11:04am Tue 13 Nov 12

loosehead says...

where's the extra £50million coming from to fund Labours Townhill Folly?
where's the extra £50million coming from to fund Labours Townhill Folly? loosehead
  • Score: 0

11:31am Tue 13 Nov 12

Over the Edge says...

loosehead wrote:
where's the extra £50million coming from to fund Labours Townhill Folly?
Townhill folly????is a Tory ideal, along with the 5 other estate regeneration programmes rolled out by Royston,,,,Laxton Court, Kendall Ave,,Exford Ave,,,,Townhill,,,,T
hornhill,,,all approved by the then ruling Tories
[quote][p][bold]loosehead[/bold] wrote: where's the extra £50million coming from to fund Labours Townhill Folly?[/p][/quote]Townhill folly????is a Tory ideal, along with the 5 other estate regeneration programmes rolled out by Royston,,,,Laxton Court, Kendall Ave,,Exford Ave,,,,Townhill,,,,T hornhill,,,all approved by the then ruling Tories Over the Edge
  • Score: 0

2:32pm Tue 13 Nov 12

loosehead says...

Over the Edge wrote:
loosehead wrote:
where's the extra £50million coming from to fund Labours Townhill Folly?
Townhill folly????is a Tory ideal, along with the 5 other estate regeneration programmes rolled out by Royston,,,,Laxton Court, Kendall Ave,,Exford Ave,,,,Townhill,,,,T

hornhill,,,all approved by the then ruling Tories
Over the edge. the original Tory concept for Townhill Park was halted reviewed & then another £50million was added to the budget ripping up a Copse & building a new road which non of the residents wanted they're also buying back properties once built from the Housing associations WHY?
Council tenants can bid to live in them as council tenants so why do they need to spend £50million of our money?
Should have stuck with the original Tory Plan not this Labour Folly.
Now please explain to me where that extra £50million is coming from?
[quote][p][bold]Over the Edge[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]loosehead[/bold] wrote: where's the extra £50million coming from to fund Labours Townhill Folly?[/p][/quote]Townhill folly????is a Tory ideal, along with the 5 other estate regeneration programmes rolled out by Royston,,,,Laxton Court, Kendall Ave,,Exford Ave,,,,Townhill,,,,T hornhill,,,all approved by the then ruling Tories[/p][/quote]Over the edge. the original Tory concept for Townhill Park was halted reviewed & then another £50million was added to the budget ripping up a Copse & building a new road which non of the residents wanted they're also buying back properties once built from the Housing associations WHY? Council tenants can bid to live in them as council tenants so why do they need to spend £50million of our money? Should have stuck with the original Tory Plan not this Labour Folly. Now please explain to me where that extra £50million is coming from? loosehead
  • Score: 0

2:59pm Tue 13 Nov 12

Sotonians_lets_pull_together says...

Why waste £4m on redundancies?

Surely better to keep staff in post, and give everyone a small pay cut, much fairer, preserves services, and keeps as many as possible in a job.

But of course that is exactly what the conservatives were doing.

The unions and labour have let down the people of Southampton, and have let down the employees.

I hope the council workers who didnt bother to vote against the strikes realise now their mistake. They must stand up for themselves, and vote down the militants, whenever they rear their heads, as they do more harm than good.
Why waste £4m on redundancies? Surely better to keep staff in post, and give everyone a small pay cut, much fairer, preserves services, and keeps as many as possible in a job. But of course that is exactly what the conservatives were doing. The unions and labour have let down the people of Southampton, and have let down the employees. I hope the council workers who didnt bother to vote against the strikes realise now their mistake. They must stand up for themselves, and vote down the militants, whenever they rear their heads, as they do more harm than good. Sotonians_lets_pull_together
  • Score: 0

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