The media will soon be full of the fact that Birmingham will not be able to reach a target saving of £40m and this financial news will have very big impact on their service delivery going forward. Some political commentators even suggest that it is possible that the Government may send in the Commissioners to run Europe’s largest Local Authority…..All bad news for Brum and the rest of us here in the region.
Wolverhampton is feeling the pain, as you will know from my messages over the last few years.
We have a massive target to reach, our City Council is still struggling to reach the target of identifying an additional budget reduction and income generation of £54.6 million over the next three year period to 2019/20!
Being in Local Government is very testing and challenging and it isn’t going to get any easier. The controlling Labour Group is having a special budget session soon. The conference is to once again look at the situation with a view to setting the 2017 Budget In March.
At that meeting we will have reported how we are doing to deliver the £22.2 million we have already identified as required saving for the 2017/18 budget.
Its against this background where the savings that will be made will be against the public services we currently deliver. ‘Yes’ we are likely to hurt many services and their users going forward. Something I am not looking forward to taking part in.
Therefore I welcomed hearing on Radio WM’s Adrian Goldberg Show, that ‘Hands on Wednesfield’ a group of volunteers here in Wednesfield, had taken the initiative again this year, to raise even more money by an innovative ‘crowd sourcing’ appeal. This ‘Crowd Sourcing’ will enable the High Street to have Christmas Lights again for 2016. Plus these lights will be of an enhanced variety because they have attracted in some £6,000 of public support!
It also shows that Wednesfield residents and some businesses recognise the importance of the Christmas Lights,img_7255-wednesfield-xmas-lights on attracting more people into the shops and business to improve the local trading situation.
It is these sorts of public/volunteer led initiatives that are to be praised, as Councils all across the Country are forced by our Government to axe staff and services, and retrench from previous areas of activity.
2017 is going to be a very difficult year for Wolverhampton and Local Government in the West Midlands.