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Bonkers Blog December 2011

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13 December (Part 1) - They don’t care

Avante Care HomeA year ago all the talk at council meetings was of cuts to services and raising charges. Since then the few figures that have found their way into print do not reveal much progress towards the planned £35m. of savings. Councillor Craske’s malign influence on the borough has dragged parking revenues in the reverse direction and damaged local trade in the process, would we expect anything less of our favourite buffoon? All the figures seen so far suggest Bexley is on course for council tax rises a few years hence, neighbouring Bromley has already admitted as much.

Back in Bexley the council prefers to mislead you. If Bexley really saved £3m. last year on recycling as it proclaims on its dust carts it would have put £3m. into its coffers that it didn’t the year before. It didn’t; costs are slowly going up. Increasing recycling is good but Bexley’s £3 million claim is not producing more money; at best it’s creative accounting, at worst it is a lie.

Last February I covered a story which I was a little unsure about because the documentary evidence was sparse, but it suggested that Bexley council had cut funding of care homes to the extent that the staff there were to have their pay cut by a third and in all probability some would choose to leave. Subsequently the whole story turned out to be true, so when the same source contacted me last week to say the same thing is happening all over again I am inclined to believe it.

The source says that Bexley council has approved another cut in funding from next April which leaves the care homes - Avante anyway, for that is the source of the information - with no option but to get rid of all their wardens. No more help for distressed elderly residents. I thought the whole point of care homes and sheltered housing schemes was to have someone on hand to provide assistance when required. However my source says that wardens will be given three months notice at the end of this month which is the sort of Christmas present you might expect from Bexley council. No cuts yet to councillor’s allowances or top management pay you will note.

Given that some residents pay their own way one must wonder if the rent they pay will be reduced (as in effect the council funded residents’ rent has been) to compensate for the loss of warden services.

One can hope that my informant who proved all too accurate a year ago is wide of the mark this time around, but with Bexley’s track record any optimism might be ill founded.


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