Revealed: Greenwich council’s plans for cuts

Greenwich Council has unveiled how it plans to cut services in line with the government’s comprehensive spending review. The plans will be discussed by the council’s overview and scrutiny committee on Thursday evening, but the main documents are already available on the council’s website.

The cuts are across a wide range of council services, and there’s lots to take in. The plans also contain a huge amount of local authority jargon, so I’d recommend anyone familiar with aspects of council service look at the full report (2MB PDF download). I’ll have missed things, without a doubt.

Things that leapt out at me – both big and small – were…

– increasing charges for home care services (page 67)
– cutting grants to voluntary groups including the Deptford Mission, Eltham Pastimes, Irish in Greenwich, Eltham’s Lion Swimming Club for the disabled, and various others aimed at specific groups (page 72)
– dropping the healthy schools programme (page 84)
– transferring the youth service out of the council (page 87)
– increasing charges for play services (page 89)
– a proposal that volunteers help run mother and toddler groups (page 91)
– cuts to the teenage pregnancy service (page 104)
– cutting a food safety inspector (page 114)
– transferring the pest control service out of the council (page 119)
– changing noise pollution services to concentrate on night times (page 121)
– increasing the cost of using the Cutty Sark Gardens toilet from 20p to 50p (page 122)
– sharing some procurement services with Bexley and Bromley (page 128)
– using second class post (page 129)
– not funding Blackheath fireworks (page 142) (Interestingly, there’s no plans to cut the expensive mayoral inauguration ceremony, despite it coming from the same pot of cash.)
– cutting one of the four staff who work for the council leader’s office (page 143)
– cutting an ad sales rep and a freelance designer at Greenwich Time (page 152)
– cutting back on grass cutting in older parts of cemeteries (page 166)
– the loss of up to five park-keeping posts (page 168)
– spinning off the Greenwich Heritage Centre in Woolwich into a trust (page 176)
– “improving the performance” of Charlton House tea room so it breaks even (page 180)
seeking sponsorship for Maryon Wilson Park animal centre, or closing it (page 183)
– cutting a post at the temporary acommodation service for the homeless (page 188)
– cutting back on planning meetings by increasing the number of objections needed to trigger them from two to eight (page 193)
– Greenwich would lose its world heritage site manager (page 196)
Greenwich and Woolwich foot tunnels to lose lift attendants (page 203)
– increasing charges levied on skips and street works (page 217)
– more than doubling day care charges (page 219)
– increasing charges for dealing with commercial waste and residents’ bulky rubbish (page 222)
– increasing burial charges to match neighbouring boroughs (page 223)
more charges for parking, particularly in Greenwich, Blackheath and Charlton, including a proposal to charge £5 for matchday parking when Charlton Athletic play (page 230)

Councillors will meet to discuss the report at Woolwich Town Hall on Thursday at 7pm – the meeting is open to the public.

(UPDATE 6.20PM: The News Shopper has done its sums – these £21m cuts are only the start, considering nobody yet knows how much needs to be slashed from council budgets, with the council working to an assumption of £65m cutbacks.)

17 comments

  1. Yet to look at the report just your synopsis but that doesn’t seem like anywhere near enough to save the millions being demanded.
    I like the reference to only cutting 2 staff at Greenwich Time. The whole thing will have to go.

    Why were ‘Irish in Greenwich’ getting anything?

  2. Shish, didn’t realise they’ll be coming out with this so soon. Interesting reading to say the least.

  3. I know a little bit about Irish in Greenwich – it runs a lunch club for the elderly in west Greenwich, and is now involved in community schemes across south-east London.

    I’m curious as to the assumption that Greenwich Time will continue – more on that soon (ish).

  4. Just browsing. The library part made me smile. Self service a tremendous success apparently according to the head of Community Services. They didn’t mention though that the machine at West Greenwich was installed, failed almost immediately, and not repaired for months. The library was refurbished to remove service desks so users would have to use self service, which they couldn’t do so had to to be served at little ‘pods’ which were inadequate.
    And many staff were got rid of to have those machines installed.

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