‘DISGRACEFUL’ Bromley councillors are prepared to cut frontline services for children, elderly and disabled people but have deferred a plan to cut their numbers – which could have saved more than £360,000 a year.
The idea of cutting the number of councillors from 60 to 40 was introduced two years ago and the change was expected to be brought in for next year’s local elections.
But now despite swingeing cuts to services across the borough the number of elected officials at the council is set to stay at 60 until at least the 2018 local election.
The announcement about the delay to the councillor cull comes in the same year as the council is proposing to stop providing the Care Link emergency call service for elderly people – to save £50,000 – and decommission a care home for people with learning disabilities – to save another £50,000.
Another one of the proposed savings for the year is to cut the costs for day care for elderly people by 50 per cent by concentrating on dementia day care – to save £500,000.
This cut is set to lead to the closure of several day care centres across the borough, including Age Concern Active Age Centre, High Street, Chislehurst.
Jan Pearce (pictured) has worked there for 14 years and it is disgusting the councillors have decided to keep their jobs rather than the ‘lifeline’ for elderly people.
The 74-year-old said: “I think it’s terrible, we are being cut off.
“It is as if they want us to die.
“The age centre is supposed to be helping the aged and they are just closing us down.
“I think they should cut the councillors or at least cut their earnings, I’m sure they do not need as much money.
“I think it’s disgraceful of them.
“Some of the people who use the centre will be stuck at home and won’t see anyone once it closes.
“There is nowhere else round here where they can have a social conversation and meet their friends.
“I will be protesting about it, I’m going to fight for it.”
A Bromley Council spokesman said: “Work is ongoing regarding changes to the makeup of the council.
“However, because of the electoral cycle it was not feasible to implement changes in 2014 and as such proposals will now be considered for 2018.”
The spokesman says it was not possible to change the system in time for the 2014 election because the council has to undertake a governance review.
They say there was also an issue of getting an allocation of time from the local government boundary commission to undertake extensive consultation and consideration of the proposals within the necessary timescales.
HERE'S THE MATHS
In the 2011 budget document it says having 60 councillors comes at a cost of £1,093,000 for the financial year 2010-11.
Taking the mean average as £18,216.67 per councillor, cutting a third of them would save around £364,333.33 per year.