Local Cuts and Closures
Cuts Kill Communities
We are currently only seeing the tip of the iceberg in relations to national and local govt funding cuts. One thing is for sure, if you haven’t already been personally affected – you will sometime soon. This era of savage austerity measures will touch every sector of society and have long term detrimental effects to our communities. Aside from the destruction of the Welfare State, privatisation of the NHS, wage cuts and freezes, trebling of Tuition Fees, abolishing of EMA (Educational Maintenance Allowance), local charities and organisations are seeing their funding cut and, in some cases, removed completely. The list below is far from definitive but details some of the local cuts and their effects. Specific information is not readily available and this is a very fluid scenario with more cuts announced every month.
More than 1,600 public sector jobs are under threat in Dorset, with more to come.
The transfer of four Bournemouth council departments – ICT, Revenues, benefits and Facilities – to Mouchel, a private company, resulted in 88 redundancies.
All 39 regional DVLA offices are being closed between autumn 2012 and autumn 2013. The DVLA office in Bourne Valley is among those planned for closure and would mean the loss of 64 jobs.
HMRC announced to staff that they have made a decision to close nine offices during 2013/14 and the proposal to close another seventeen offices in 2014/15. This comes after 200 offices had already been closed over the last three years and is part of its drive to cut staff numbers by 10,000 during this spending period. Included in these closures is the HMRC office in Poole (St Johns House) which employs 67 people.
Dorset Police is considering cutting the number of beat officers in the face of huge spending cuts. The force is reviewing staffing in the Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNT).
558 full time police staff across Dorset will be lost by March 2015 as a result of the cuts. Police representatives have warned cut backs in the coming financial years will ‘severely impact’ on services.
Firefighting Unions have said that Dorset Fire Authority’s decision to freeze the service’s council tax precept will make front-line cuts inevitable.
69 staff (14 military, 55 civilian) were moved out of a fuel depot on a military base in West Moors as part of nationwide efficiency drive and moved to Bristol.
Poole Council have banned residents from putting garden cuttings etc into their normal household refuse bin and introduced an annul charge of £31 for the collection of Green Bins. The service was previously undertaken without charge.
The cost of bereavement services in Poole has been increased by nearly 10 per cent.
Shopmobility in Christchurch will have to bid for funding instead of automatically being paid. General grants were reduced from £17k in 2010/11 to £10k in 2011/12.
Poole Council will be switching off street lights in selected residential roads at night. This follows a trial period in 2010 with 150 lights in 18 streets turned off from midnight to 6am.
HEALTH & CARE
Poole Hospital closed an elderly ward and merged two surgical wards with a further eight beds closed on a medical ward. More than 100 staff, mainly nurses, will be affected by the changes – and have been being redeployed to other roles.
Three day centres for people with learning disabilities – Darracott in Pokesdown, Malvern in Moordown and Horizons in West Howe – have been closed.
Bournemouth Council has introduced a new charge of £10 for a day session for the short break or respite care service. The council also takes into account all of a disabled person’s Disability Living Allowance (DLA), the care component, when assessing how much they will contribute towards a disabled person’s day and night care. DLA is a benefit, which is designed to help disabled people meet the extra costs of living with a disability.
The charge to attend day centres in Poole was raised overnight from £3 to £39 for a half-day session.
Poole Council has raised the eligibility criteria for local care and support services from the lower ‘moderate’ level, to the higher ‘substantial’ and critical’ levels of need which will affect the welfare of 300 of Poole’s most vulnerable residents.
Poole Council has withdrawn the subsidy for 200 vulnerable people who receive hot lunches from company Agincare.
Parents of adults with severe learning difficulties are facing college bills of nearly £5,000 after funding was cut by the government. They now have to pay more than £1,600 for each of three years for the successful Pathways programme at Bournemouth and Poole College. The course, for over-19s with disabilities or severe or moderate learning difficulties, was previously free of charge until now.
The funding for Space Youth Project, a support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered young people, has been drastically cut and it is facing closure in Bournemouth, which has the fourth highest gay population in England.
Poole is in a ‘dire situation’ over school funding, millions of pounds short of being able to meet its obligations after a 55 per cent reduction in capital funding for schools. With a shortfall in funds and a booming birth rate, budget decisions about to be taken will mean inevitable disappointment for some pupils and schools across the borough.
Montacute School in Canford Heath was originally earmarked for a £10million total rebuild under the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project but the cash was withdrawn. The school caters for 75 pupils, between the ages of 2 and 18 years, with severe, complex or profound and multiple learning difficulties.
Plans to build new premises for Winchelsea School under BSF were cancelled. It is a Community Special School for pupils with moderate learning difficulties and more complex needs, including Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autistic Spectrum Disorder (Including Asperger Syndrome) and mild sensory and physical impairments.
Bournemouth’s Glenmoor School, Oakmead College of Technology and Winton Arts and Media College were due to receive funding under BSF but all were cancelled.
Secondary schools across Bournemouth, Poole and Dorset face cuts to their funding with more than half unable to fill all their spaces. Most of their funding is allocated per pupil and education chiefs have projected the situation will get worse over the next four years.
All but five universities in England are to have their funding cut next year with newer universities that are focused on teaching being the worst affected. The recurrent grant awarded to the Arts University at Bournemouth has been cut by 4.6% and Bournemouth University’s has been cut by 4%.
The budget for Sure Start centres and supporting parents has been cut by 12 per cent by Bournemouth and Poole Councils.
Following Council funding cuts, Connexions, a youth service in Bournemouth, has closed it’s doors with a loss of 44 jobs. Along with offering help and advice, it gave youngsters a stepping stone into employment, ran it’s own courses and helped young people enroll at local colleges.
Two multi-million pound schemes to tackle some of the area’s busiest roads are on hold because of spending cuts. The urgent £26 million rebuild of the A338 Bournemouth Spur Road has missed out on funding for a second time and been downgraded in priority. And the £9.5m scheme for a third lane on the A31 at Ringwood has been shelved.
Private parking wardens could take to the streets of Bournemouth in a bid to raise more money from handing out tickets. The Council is poised to outsource its parking enforcement to a contractor which would be expected to bring in more revenue. The privatisation is being considered as a way of helping stabilise the council’s income in the face of multi-million pound cuts in government grants.
Under a new government pricing system, rail companies can charge up to three per cent above inflation. An standard annual season ticket, from Poole to London Waterloo, has risen by £441.60 Currently the standard annual season ticket into Waterloo costs £5,520 from Poole and £5,424 from Bournemouth.
The Bus Service Operators Grant (formerly known as Fuel Duty Rebate) is to be cut by 20 per cent from 2012/13 which will directly lead to price increases for local bus services.
The government intends to withdraw from the Coach Concessionary Travel Scheme, which provides cut-price travel for over 60s and disabled people within England and Wales. This will adversely impact over 91,000 pensioners who currently receive half-price off-peak travel and a 30 per cent reduction in fares at peak times.
Poole Council have reintroduced car parking charges for blue badge holders (non-road tax exempt) in all council-owned surface car parks and residential roads on the Sandbanks peninsula – Brownsea, Grassmere, Haven, Seacombe and Panorama Roads. The council issues around 7,000 blue badges a year but provides only 156 dedicated disabled parking bays in its car parks.
Shamrock Buses, the Holton Heath-based company, which employed more than 40 drivers, mechanics and office staff, which ran both commercial and local authority school services in Poole, Bournemouth and Wimborne has ceased trading. Yellow Buses and the Go Ahead Group stepped in to take over local and school services but operators warned small to medium companies are continuing to struggle in difficult trading conditions.
Staff at six railway stations across the region could lose their jobs under a proposed cull of 675 ticket offices. Branksome, Hamworthy, Lymington Town, Parkstone, Pokesdown and Wool are all at risk and could be left unstaffed if the cutback goes ahead. Unions are warning that replacing ticket offices with machines will leave passengers feeling less safe and having problems buying tickets. Stations that could be scrapped under the government report, predicting annual savings of £1billion, are ones that open their offices for less than 10 hours a day and serve fewer than 250,000 passengers a year.
Shelter Dorset has said that plans to slash funding will mean many services having to close their doors to people in need of free legal advice. It estimates it will no longer be able to help 68 per cent of clients at its Bournemouth-based service, with people unable to access advice until they are in court and on the verge of losing their home.
Legal aid reforms coming into effect in 2013 will cut £350 million from the £2.2 billion legal aid scheme by getting rid of entire areas of law from public funding. This will cut funds for legal advice, and many people will not be entitled to legal aid leaving poorer people unable to afford a lawyer.
Poole’s Remploy factory at Alder Hills is set to close, putting 18 people with disabilities out of a job. It is one of 36 Remploy sites nationwide which the government has said will shut because they are unlikely to become financially viable.
The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals and Poole Hospital have put their transactional finance services out to tender and the contract is likely to be awarded out of the area resulting in the loss of 22 jobs.
The future of a factory which provides subsidised employment to disabled people is in doubt because the Council is considering removing funding. Dorset Enterprises in Elliott Road, Bournemouth is a supported factory that manufactures deck chairs and other wooden products. It employs 22 people, 18 of whom have disabilities.
Barclays Bank PLC, one of Poole’s biggest employers revealed that it was outsourcing one of its departments. Barclays said it had reviewed its “pensions administration function” and had taken the decision to contract it out to a third party, Towers Watson, from October 1st 2012. In total, 126 employees could lose their jobs.
More than 3,000 jobs are to go nationwide after ailing fashion chain Peacocks was sold out of administration. The deal with Edinburgh Woollen Mill will save 388 shops and more than 6,000 jobs but administrators from KPMG said it had been forced to close 224 stores with immediate effect, leading to 3,100 redundancies. Stores in Boscombe, Bournemouth town centre, Parkstone and Poole will close.
The arts and community services are to suffer 7.3 per cent funding cuts in Poole as the council seeks savings. Borough of Poole has announced a further £600,000 cuts in the budget for community services, which covers libraries, arts, adult learning, housing and community safety. Hard hit will be grants to the Lighthouse and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. The Archives Service jointly operated with Bournemouth and Dorset councils will also receive less funding.
A fifth of UK museums have had their funding cut by at least 25%. A 3 month pilot scheme was launched to charge a £5 entry fee at Bournemouth’s Russell Cotes museum during the summer months. This follows the council carrying out a “root and branch” review of the attraction.
Beds of beautiful blooms are to be grassed over in Poole including the display bed inside the Kingland Road entrance.
The Great Britain Women’s Volleyball Olympic team, which includes 2 people from Poole and one from Lymington, experienced a bit of a bump in the road to 2012 glory when all their funding was cut.
News links relating to all the above can be found on the BPACC website