Ramsbottom’s Crumbling Roads!

Cllr Rob Hodkinson and Ian Schofield

Cllr Rob Hodkinson and Ian Schofield

We all know how bad the roads and footpaths are in Ramsbottom at the moment.   As your local elected representatives, we are constantly reporting potholes and highway issues.

The Highways Department tell us that they are under-resourced, particularly in terms of manpower – as we understand that highway operatives have been reduced in number from around 50 to 15.  This, and the recent bad weather / flooding, has led to delays in repairs.

At the Budget Meeting of Bury Council on Wednesday 24 February 2016, as part of the Conservative Group of Bury Councillors, we put forward a resolution for £3,100,000 to be diverted towards urgent highway maintenance, repairing pot holes, undertaking line markings, fly tipping enforcement, gully and culvert cleansing, dog fouling enforcement, street light repairs and reinstating two-weekly residual bin collections.

We believe that this would also save the Council money in the medium to long term from having to undertake constant pothole filling works.

The Labour Councillors however voted down this resolution and pushed through a budget that puts up your Council Tax up by 3.94%.

Why didn’t they just do 4%? The reason is that they would have had to put it to a local referendum.

Bury and Ramsbottom Conservatives opposed this increase in Council Tax at a time when they are cutting services.  They could have avoided it by supporting our Budget proposals to raise extra income and investment in our town which would also have increased business rates revenue to the town.

In addition to the money for highways, we also proposed:

• £1,800,000 to increase funding for help with demand pressures in adult social care and protecting vulnerable people.

• £100,000 to appoint an Inward Investment Manager to attract businesses to our Borough which would offer better paid jobs for local residents and opportunities for young people to progress into a professional career, for example in high tech or health sectors.

Our proposals would be FUNDED by:-

• £2,000,000 from a one-off contribution from General Fund balances (reserves).

• £1,300,000 income from the 2% Social Care precept (100% Ring-Fenced to the adult social care budget)

• £1,135,000 by outsourcing back office support services such as legal services

• £300,000 savings from the agency staff budget

•£150,000 from reducing senior staff salaries (where over £50,000 pa) by 10%

• £80,000 from reducing funding for Trade Union Officials whose time is paid by the Council and not trade union members.

• £25,000 from Removing Deputy Cabinet members’ allowances and Councillors’ Special Responsibility Allowances by 10%.

• £10,000 Savings in electronic working and courier services and withdrawing free meals for some Councillors

Let us have your comments …