Posts Tagged ‘South Gloucestershire Labour’

Labour accuses Tories and Lib Dems of misrepresenting “service cuts”

Posted on Monday 5th November 2012 at 11:52 pm by SH (Editor)

The Labour Party.

Labour’s leader in South Gloucestershire has accused the district’s Tories and Liberal Democrats of pretending that the council does not face cuts in its services.

This afternoon, councillors on the Policy and Resources Committee were asked to agree the public consultation questionnaire on next year’s budget. This document included a reference to “additional service cuts” if certain options are taken. Conservative councillors objected to the inclusion of the phrase “service cuts” and, supported by the Liberal Democrats, insisted on replacing it with “savings”. Labour made clear its support for the original wording.

Speaking after the meeting, Labour Leader Cllr Andy Perkins (Labour, Woodstock) said:

 “The Tories and Lib Dems refuse to admit what everybody knows – that cuts being made by their political masters in government will result in cuts in services here in South Gloucestershire. It is a con to pretend that reduced budgets will result in efficiencies or savings that are not cuts in services. The council has already been forced to take tough decisions caused by reduced funding, for example on youth centres and Sure Start, that will result in cuts in the service the council can provide.”

Cllr Perkins continued:

 “This afternoon’s committee meeting had already been told that the council faces a 10% cut in its Council Tax support funding, and that the cap of 2% on Council Tax increases announced at the Conservative Party Conference will mean that South Gloucestershire Council must identify a further £600,000 of annual savings. Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors pay lip service to openness and transparency but are afraid to use the clearest word available to describe the future – cuts.”

More info: Proposed questionnaire presented to councillors (see Q10)

Source: South Gloucestershire Labour


Parties unite to slam government planning rule changes

Posted on Monday 29th October 2012 at 9:59 am by SH (Editor)

The Labour Party.Councillors in South Gloucestershire have united to criticise the Coalition government’s recent changes to planning rules which water down developers’ obligations to provide much-needed affordable housing.

At a meeting of Full Council held on 17th October, Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors joined Labour members in slamming the Coalition for giving an unelected quango powers to override agreements with developers over the number of affordable housing units allocated to planning applications, and for abolishing planning permission for certain types of rear extensions.

The Council agreed to write to the government and local MPs outlining the council’s opposition to the plans.

Housing development is set to be a big political issue in South Gloucestershire as the area’s planning blueprint, called the Core Strategy, seems likely to set an ever-increasing target for new homes in the district. The Government Inspector overseeing the Strategy wants 28,355 built in South Gloucestershire by 2027; one of the ways this would be achieved is to allow piecemeal developments of up to 30 dwellings apiece in the Green Belt.

Labour leader Councillor Andy Perkins (Labour, Woodstock) said:

“I think it says a lot about the Coalition government’s proposals to relax certain planning rules that away from Westminster the concerns expressed by Labour are being echoed by Lib Dem and Conservative councillors.”

“Locally there is renewed threat to the Green Belt as the government inspector appointed to rule on the Council’s planning vision up to 2027 has said that he sees no problem with piecemeal developments of up to 30 dwellings at a time.”

“Unfortunately Lib Dem and Conservative councillors agreed last December to offer up a large section of our Green Belt land around Cribbs Causeway for development despite their election campaign promises to defend the Green Belt. I hope the Inspector will not take this as a signal to take more.”

Source: South Gloucestershire Labour


Council agrees to continue funding youth centres in Priority Neighbourhoods

Posted on Tuesday 11th September 2012 at 5:56 pm by SH (Editor)

Patchway Youth Centre, Coniston Road, Patchway, Bristol.

A Special Meeting of South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) last night confirmed a decision made by its Children and Young People Committee on 25th July that will see centre-based youth provision safeguarded in the authority’s six Priority Neighbourhoods (Cadbury Heath, Filton, Kingswood, Patchway, Staple Hill and Yate/Dodington).

The committee had also agreed that a pot of £227,000 be made available to contribute to ‘positive activities’ for young people in other parts of the district.

A lengthy three-and-a-half hour debate heard Conservative members argue for all the available funding to be distributed evenly across the district rather than being focused on mainly urban areas.

But the Liberal Democrats moved an amendment, backed by Labour, to keep youth centres in the six priority areas and make an increased amount of £427,000 available for other areas to bid for (the extra £200,000 being transferred from the separate budget for ‘targeted’ youth provision).

The Conservatives moved an amendment to increase the subsidy to £527,000, which was defeated.

The council eventually agreed that the sum available to the non-priority areas should be £437,700.

SGC currently runs 13 youth centres and a further six are run by voluntary organisations.

Local authority owned youth centres that will need to seek alternative premises management from 2013/2014 are located in Fromeside, Little Stoke, Hanham, Oldland and Wickwar. If organisations aren’t found to take over these centres, they are likely to be “decommissioned” by the council.

The youth centres in Thornbury, Chipping Sodbury and Almondsbury already operate in premises owned by another body.

Funding for the Armadillo youth café and centre in Yate is governed by a separate arrangement between SGC and Yate Town Council, although SGC says it wants to limit its contribution to £99,000 for 2013/14 and make the project “self-financing” in the near future.

Photo: Patchway Youth Centre – one the centres that will continue to be run by SGC (©Patchway Journal).

More: Reaction from the three main political parties »

Source: Press releases from the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative Groups on South Gloucestershire Council


Tories accused of “prolonging the agony” over youth centres

Posted on Thursday 26th July 2012 at 12:59 pm by SH (Editor)

Patchway Youth Centre, Coniston Road, Patchway, Bristol.

Labour councillors in South Gloucestershire have slammed the Conservatives for refusing to accept a decision that would have safeguarded core youth centre provision in large parts of urban South Gloucestershire.

At a meeting of the council’s Children & Young People Committee yesterday afternoon (25th July) the Conservatives pressed ahead with their plans to transfer all of the district’s youth centres to external organisations. Those centres that cannot find alternative providers and funding would face closure. This plan was first contained in proposals put out to consultation when South Gloucestershire Council’s was under Conservative control.

[Ed: The council has since changed to using a committee style of governance, rather than the previous executive system.]

However, an alternative proposal was supported by Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors at the meeting. This proposal safeguarded centre-based youth provision in the council’s six designated Priority Neighbourhoods and delegated funds for more local decisions on how best to support services in other areas. This proposal was successfully voted through, at which point the Conservative councillors invoked a procedure to refer the decision to Full Council for reconsideration at some unspecified date in the future.

Labour: “Tories are prolonging the agony”

Councillor Gareth Manson (Labour Woodstock), Labour’s Lead Member on Children and Young People said:

“The Conservatives seem hell-bent on hiving off all of the council’s youth centres. They tried to get this through today and lost the vote. Rather than accept the result, they are prolonging the agony, causing more delay and uncertainty for our youth centre users and those that work with them. They are alone in wanting this outcome as respondents to the council’s consultation, and now the committee itself, have rejected the idea.”

Read on for Liberal Democrat and Conservative responses »

Source: Press releases from the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative Groups on South Gloucestershire Council