Worthing Liberal Democrats Weekly Newsletter - 18th to 24th March 2012 - Adur & Worthing Liberal Democrats
Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Worthing Liberal Democrats Weekly Newsletter – 18th to 24th March 2012

Articles for the past week:

Leader:  Incredible shrinking loss      

News this past week: 

1. 40,400 In Worthing To Get Tax Cut – Cllr Alan Rice

2. Tories’ U-Turn On Pool

3. West Sussex Chief Executive To Visit Broadwater

4. Look For Us At The Strand On Thursday

5. Worthing Theatres – “Tories Get Excited Over Nothing” Says Lib Dem Group Leader

WORTHING LIBERAL DEMOCRATS WEEKLY NEWSLETTER 18TH TO 24TH MARCH 2012

Lib Dems will keep Worthing’s services local

Lib Dems will get on with bringing our town into the 21st century – no more dither and delay

Lib Dems will ensure ‘We are all in it together’ – no more waste and high pay

Lib Dems are the only opposition in Worthing – Labour can’t win here

Lib Dems support 20 mph in Worthing’s residential roads

Leader:  Incredible shrinking loss 

We have to visit again this week the theatres loss which in theatrical parlance looks like it’s going to run and run. In February 2011 it was decided to take action on the loss on theatres which was stated by Leader of the Council Paul Yallop to be £3,000 per day which equates to £1.1 million a year. This week in a letter to the Herald Mr Yallop suggests the loss is not as bad as it seems and now comes up with a figure of £621,000. It’s an incredible shrinking loss.

The Tories have not been very clever with figures recently – confusing thousands with millions on the Council tax leafet, wrongly stating in the Chamber the 2.5% grant from Central Governent doesn’t apply to a reduction in council tax and wrongly suggesting on Facebook that Welsh local authorities also get the 2.5% grant.

Which is why we decided to take a closer look at how Mr Yallop arrived at his latest figure.

From a report to the Joint Strategic Committee on November 29th 2011:

6.1 The current overall cost to the council of the theatres operations is:

Theatres Costs:                                                                                    Draft  2012/13 Budgets

£                   £                   £                     £                   £                           £                               £

Assembly     Connaught                                                      Ritz                        Staff

Expenditure Type                  Hall              Theatre       Marketing        Pavilion             Theatre                   Account                      Total

Employees                                                 92,770                               44,410             21,940                   955,340                1,114,460

Premises                              98,990          103,830              650          187,990             14,660                                                  401,120

Transport                                   100                                                         100                                             4,740                       4,940

Supplies    &

Services                              305,130          521,020        207,390          768,630             83,720                  111,700                 1,997,590

Support Services                    11,550           63,190          20,270            52,660             23,170                  123,560                    294,000

Allocated  From

Staff Account                       198,020          319,250          11,520          388,290           133,630              (1,053,590)                     (2,880)

Depreciation                          86,000            57,440                              108,710            30,970                                                  283,120

Income                               (462,530)        (917,170)       (51,550)      (1,092,030)         (234,190)                (141,750)               (2,899,220)

Total                                    237,260          240,330       *188,280          458,760            73,900                            0                 1,198,530        (*The published table states 163,280 but doesn’t add up)

which is where Mr Yallop gets his £3,000 per day loss  (£1,198,530 divided by 365) – actually £3,284 per day.

The same report then reduces the figure by taking out the depreciation:

£                   £                   £                     £                   £                           £                               £

Assembly     Connaught                                                      Ritz                        Staff

Expenditure Type                  Hall              Theatre       Marketing        Pavilion             Theatre                   Account                      Total

Total as above                      237,260          240,330      *188,280           458,760            73,900                             0                 1,198,530

Remove Notional

Depreciation                         (86,000)          (57,440)                0          (108,710)          (30,970)                            0                  (283,120)

Net Cost                             151,260           182,890      *188,280           350,050            42,930                             0                   915,410

which is the figure on which the 25% savings of £230,000 were based – actually £228,853

We take it the argument is that depreciation will not affect the amount of council tax to be raised but as we have seen with other Worthing Borough Council assets recently (e.g. the Grafton Deck) it will affect the marketable amount should the assets be sold.  But let’s live with that for the moment.

Now Mr Yallop is taking out the Support Services cost:

£                   £                   £                     £                   £                           £                               £

Assembly     Connaught                                                      Ritz                        Staff

Expenditure Type                  Hall              Theatre       Marketing        Pavilion             Theatre                   Account                      Total

Total Net Cost as above        151,260          182,890      *188,280          350,050            42,930                             0                    915,410

Remove Support Services

Costs                                  (11,550)          (63,190)       (20,270)         (52,660)          (23,170)                 (123,560)                   (294,400)

Net Operating Cost               139,710          119,700       168,010          297,390            19,760                   123,560                    621,010

Which is the figure in Mr Yallop’s letter and on which the latest Worthing Borough Council press release is based requiring £190,000 savings which is better than 25% – actually £155,252

Support costs we take it to be charges made by other departments e,g, legal, information technology and accounts to the theatres department.

Mr Yallop argues these would have to be spread over the rest of the council if the theatres closed but surely it would just mean that work would not be necessary and the charge redundant.  Following Mr Yallop’s logic if all the departments closed we would be left with a massive support charge with nothing to support.

Perhaps next week the savings figure will be down to the £155,250 figure – 25% on £621,000.

From the original £3,000 a day figure Mr Yallop has already saved over 40% – who needs a business plan?

Worthing Liberal Democrats 

NEWS FROM THE PAST WEEK

40,400 IN WORTHING TO GET TAX CUT – CLR ALAN RICE

Wednesday 21st March –  As part of the Budget, the Chancellor has announced that from next year, the Income Tax threshold will be raised further, ensuring that no one pays any income tax on the first £9,200 they earn. In Worthing that means thousands of residents will be lifted out of paying Income Tax all together and more will receive a £220 tax cut. This is on top of tax cuts of £200 last year and a further £130 next month.
Commenting, Worthing Lib Dem Group Leader Alan Rice said: “The Chancellor has done the right thing in listening to Liberal Democrat calls for the Income Tax threshold to be raised further. As a Liberal Democrat, I want to see a fairer tax system where help is provided for those who need it most and where the richest pay their fair share. Raising the Income Tax threshold to £9,200 will help average working people in Worthing who have been struggling with bills and higher cost of living.”

Commenting further, Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said: “Liberal Democrats have been clear in our priorities for the Budget. We wanted to see a Budget for the millions, not the millionaires. The Coalition Government inherited an unfair tax system from Labour, who in their 13 years hit ordinary working families hardest by abolishing the 10p tax rate while letting tycoons get away with shameless tax avoidance. Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government are doing the right thing to clear up the mess Labour left behind, making sure the wealthiest pay their fair share by clamping down on tax avoidance, introducing a ‘tycoon tax’ and putting an end to stamp duty dodging by the super rich.Raising the Income Tax threshold is a key Liberal Democrat commitment that the Coalition Government is implementing. The announcement in the Budget will mean almost 2m people will be taken out of paying Income Tax all together in the UK and give nearly 25m people a £220 tax cut.” (Bob Smytherman – Press Release)

TORIES U-TURN ON POOL

Thursday 22nd March – Faced with an outcry last week from disability groups including Scope and the Worthing Access and Mobility Group the Tories have admitted fault and done a u-turn.  When the groups representing those with disabilities complained the new pool design was not fit for purpose Tories lined up to say “it’s a bit late in the day”.  The groups pointed out they had been raising their concerns for two years or more and the interior design has never been discussed in public. Worthing Borough Council has now promised the facilities will be put in retrosopectively but the groups say that is still not enough.
Lib Dem Councillor Norah Fisher, and Worthing Access and Mobility Group Secretary said: “Out argument is why build something and then knock it down to do the work retrospectively.  Why can’t they just wait and put these things in place?  It’s just really silly doing all this work later because it could have been done before, which is what we really can’t understand.  We’re still not happy with being accused of bringing this up at the last minute because we voiced our concerns two years ago.”

WEST SUSSEX CHIEF EXECUTIVE TO VISIT BROADWATER

Thursday 22nd March – Kieran Stigant, West Sussex County Council Chief Executive is to visit Broadwater next Wednesday (March 28th) at the invitation of Lib Dem County Councillor for Broadwater Alan Rice.  The Chief Executive is to meet with various Broadwater resident associations and other groups and will explore the possibility of forming a Neighbourhood Forum or Council.  The new body would have representatives from all the local groups and would look at taking on more responsibility for it’s own affairs. This could range from simply weeding their own pavements to a full blown town/parish council with its own budget and regeneration plan.  Rev David Hill of The Wave Centre, Broadwater Baptist Church has kindly offered to host the visit and provide light refreshments.

Alan said:  “It was the Chief Executive’s own suggestion to come to Broadwater and we are looking to make the most of the opportunity for the benefit of residents.  I am proud to represent Broadwater on the County as it is a true community. It’s high time it had more say in its own local affairs.”

LOOK FOR US AT THE STRAND ON THURSDAY

Thursday 22nd March – Worthing Lib Dems will be at The Strand shops on Thursday March 29th to meet and greet Castle residents. If you live in Castle don’t miss this opportunity to talk to us about what you would like to see and to raise any problems you currently have.  Northbrook & Castle Lib Dem County Councillor Robin Rogers and Castle Worthing Borough Councillor David Potter will be joined by Lib Dem colleagues from all over Worthing to answer your questions and seek your views.

WORTHING THEATRES – “TORIES GET EXCITED OVER NOTHING” SAYS LIB DEM GROUP LEADER

No end in sight for daily loss of £3000

Friday 23rd March – Worthing Borough Council Tory administration have today issued a press release saying they are excited over the business case prepared by the in-house management to make 25% savings.  Worthing Liberal Democrats are not as excited as they do not believe the document can be considered a business case in any true sense of the word. It was Leader of the Council Paul Yallop who first quoted the £3000 a day cost which equates to £1,095,000 annually. It was the Tory Cabinet who rejected 17 bids from outside parties and instructed the present theatre management to come up with 25% savings.  Liberal Democrats calculate that to be £273,750 but the figures seem to be a movable feast as the required savings calculated when the business plan was commissioned had reduced to £230,000.
Now according to today’s press statement they are down to £190,000 without a finger being lifted. Liberal Democrats suspect this is because of the changing language to describe the loss as the press release carefully refers to “net operating cost”. The Tories main asset appears to be creative accounting. The business plan has nothing really new except bringing catering back in house and a new digital projector.
The plan requires even more spending in both staff and capital outlay which will only add to the £3,000 a day being lost at the moment, which Liberal Dem0crats thought was the reason the outside bids were rejected as they would have initially increased the cost to Worthing Borough Council tax payers. The rules seem to be different for different players! The consideration of the 17 bids was held ‘behind closed doors’ so Liberal Democrats don’t know how they would compare but their instincts are they would have stood up well against this in-house effort. There has been no opportunity to scrutinise the business plan in public and little effort to consult – once again a decision on Worthing residents’ assets are being taken without any say from those residents.Worthing Liberal Democrats pleaded with the Tories to allow scrutiny in public before any decision is taken but they met with a flat refusal and the Tory Cabinet alone will debate and make the decision.
Worthing Borough Lib Dem Group Leader Alan Rice commented: “We are far from excited. Over a year ago I chaired the Budget Advisory Group and the one cross-party decision made was to deal with the haemorrhaging loss of money from the theatres.  Over one million pounds further down the line and we have not progressed at all.  To quote Mr Yallop £3000 loss a day – now with no end in sight. The Cabinet are only recommended to note and welcome the report – again no real decision.  We have no desire to close the theatres but there must be a better way to revitalise them. As there has been no debate in public and little consultation we intend to ‘call-in’ in this ‘decision’ to welcome the report to ensure that a full debate and public scrutiny takes place. After all, the theatres belong to the residents of Worthing – they deserve to have their say.”  (Bob Smytherman – Press Release)

DIARY

Tuesday 27th March – Special ADC & WBC Joint Overview & Scrutiny Committee – Council Chamber, Shoreham at 5.30 pm

Tuesday 27th March – Tuesday 27th March – ADC & WBC Joint Strategic Committee – Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Shoreham at 6.30pm

Wednesday 28th March – WBC Planning Committee (Jubilee Church) – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.00 pm

Wednesday 28th March – Lib Dem Northbrook/Durrington Ward Surgery – “The North Star”, Littlehampton Road 7.30 to 8.30 pm

Thursday 29th March – Lib Dem Street Surgery at The Strand 10.00 am to 12.30 pm

Thursday 29th March – WBC Licensing & Control Committee B (Best One) – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.00 pm

Saturday 31st March – Lib Dem Castle Ward Surgery – St Richards, Collingwood Road, Goring,  10.00 to 10.30 am

Saturday 31st March – Lib Dem Gaisford/Tarring Castle Wards Surgery – West Worthing Baptist Church, South Street, Tarring 10.30 to noon

FURTHER AHEAD

Saturday 7th April – Lib Dem Castle Ward Surgery – The Strand Shops 10.00 to 10.30 am

and every first Saturday of the month

Saturday 7th April – Lib Dem Central Ward Surgery – Sidney Walter Centre, Sussex Road 10.30 am to 12.00 noon

and every first Saturday of the month

Saturday 7th April – Lib Dem Broadwater Surgery – The Community House, Dominion Road 2.00 to 4.00 pm

and every first Saturday of the month

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