Foreword - Alternative Budget 2021
Bury Conservative Councillors are the main opposition on Bury Council. In our role of opposition, we hold the Labour administration to account, but we must aspire to do better as a borough. We want Bury to transform as a Council but we a wonderful place to live, work and socialise. The Conservative Alternative Budget is our plan for the Ramsbottom, Tottington, Bury, Radcliffe, Whitefield and Prestwich. There is an alternative to the current administration, the Conservative Group have fresh ideas which will benefit all residents across the Borough not just areas which appear to be voting a certain colour.
Bury Conservative Council Group have welcomed the Government’s confirmation that Bury MBC will receive a budget increase in real terms. The Conservative Group note that the Labour Council did not formally oppose the Local Government Settlement put forward for 2021 and that there was no need for a vote in Westminster due to there being no opposition to this. The Conservative Government, with support of our towns two Members of Parliament, are committed to levelling up to improve services across the Country.
For the last decade which the Labour Party have controlled Bury they have blamed the Central Government for every reverse and decline but not themselves. They have presented budgets which have passed each year through the use of reserves as Council departments overspend.
Bury is one of the worst performing authorities in the country for electric car charging points. There are enormous government subsidies to encourage Local Authorities to install charging points to provide the infrastructure to encourage residents to switch to electric. The Conservative Group presented a motion in 2018 which passed unanimously led by Cllr. Nick Jones and seconded by Cllr. Oliver Kersh. Despite all of this very little has happened but empty words about Climate Change from the administration.
Over the last decade schools in Bury have gone from being some of the best in the country and Bury advising others to an authority which received reports from OFSTED on how to improve. In this time there has been three Directors of Children Services.
The Labour Party reduced bin collections, punishing hardworking families. In this time fly-tipping and parts of the borough have been known ‘hot spots’ for waste. Instead of trying to fix the problem the authority has put some funds into enforcement without fully understanding what is causing the issue. Bury has one of the highest bulky waste removal fees in Greater Manchester which consists of a complicated algorithm to have items removed.
Bury Council have refused to think innovatively but more think of themselves. Allowances have continued to increase as well as the number of special additional responsibility payments to Councillors. In the last year alone the new administration, 4th since they took control in May 2011, increased the number of the Cabinet from 7 to 9 and well as increasing the Deputy Cabinet Members to 10. This all-costs money, taxpayer’s money.
Throughout this time whilst there has been waste at the Town Hall through excessive recruitment drives with more and more people earning over £100,000, hundreds of thousands spent on outside consultancy. Moreover, the Council has become a part time property investor, buying a restaurant in Lytham St. Anne’s which has not had a tenant for three years, purchasing a Turkish Restaurant in Prestwich with the view to demolishing it, a car park in Huddersfield… the list goes on, but one thing remains, all of this expenditure is taxpayer’s money. Are we being well served?
There must be an alternative to the above. There should be accountability and responsibility. For far too long there has been waste at the Town Hall and the priorities of residents have not been listed to. With Bury Council receiving more funding in real terms than it did last year as well as over £100 million in Government grants, there is simply no excuse for Bury not to deliver on the priorities of its residents.
This budget amendment puts forward an alternative, an alternative which invests in our towns, protects our beautiful greenbelt for future generations and provides a first-class education system. That alternative is a Conservative-led Council delivering on the priorities of residents ending a culture of waste at the Town Hall.
A Clear Alternative
The Conservative Budget is one which invests resident’s money wisely, protects and improves frontline services. Communities over consultants.
Now, more than ever, there needs to be a Council that can innovate and transform services for the benefit of residents. The Conservative alternative Budget identifies areas for improvement for the benefit of residents. This budget amendment embraces the Bury 2030 ‘Let’s do It.’ Strategy to improve the services the Council delivers. Bury will become a digital Council, one which leads both here in Greater Manchester and across the Country.
Spend will be heavily reduced in back office expense allowances and small departmental budgets. Bury will be a Council which promotes healthy living, supports children cycling, improves our schools to provide a first-class education. Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics will be embraced whilst children from disadvantaged backgrounds will have all the support needed to ensure they achieve better outcomes. Coding will be taught in every school.
Via the Schools rebuilding programme the Council needs to invest in schools to ensure we have the capacity and the modern facilities required.
Hundreds of electric car charging facilities will be installed across Ramsbottom, Tottington, Bury, Radcliffe, Whitefield and Prestwich. This will be both in fixed bays and electric charging via streetlights. The Council will provide the infrastructure to encourage and support our residents make the switch to electric cars and carbon benches will be installed in Prestwich.
Making the air we breathe cleaner by installing a range of electric charging points will enable Bury to become a beacon green Council, a Leader in Greater Manchester and one which shows the Country #CouncilsCan. We must protect our environment and to help improve air quality an engine idling fine will be introduced.
Finances will be balanced with Council departments taking full ownership from the top down. There will no longer be a culture of overspends and underinvestment. Bury Council will become a Great Place to Work. One which supports Officers and provides world class services to its residents.
The Conservative alternative is one which makes Bury a Great place to live, work and visit. Council services will be improved putting residents’ priorities of the administration. Investing in our towns and communities instead of hundreds of thousands on consultant fees.
Investing in Shared Services and Cutting Waste at the Town Hall
We recognise the importance of Shared Services and how they can generate savings to both Bury Council and the authorities we share services with.
One of the most successful Shared Services arrangements in the country is that of Westminster City Council with Kensington & Chelsea. This arrangement has reduced the cost of the Council by £50m. The London Boroughs of Wandsworth and Richmond have a sharing arrangement, and combining services, for an annual saving of £10 million.
Bury Conservatives propose a shared services arrangement with both our Legal Services and a back office arrangement with another Council. This will enable the Council to focus and implement the Bury 2030 Let’s do it vision and invest to make Bury a beacon Council for digital.
Through embracing Shared Services Bury Council will be able to invest in our Towns, provide a First-Class education offer and protect our beautiful greenspaces for our residents and communities to enjoy.