Adur, West & East Worthing Party including East Arun

Worthing Liberal Democrats Weekly Newsletter – 20th to 26th November 2011

Articles for the past week:

 
Leader:  Theatrical performance         
 
News this past week:
 
1. Lib Dems East & West Christmas Festivities
2. Nick Clegg Launches Youth Contract
3. Youth Contract Will Protect A Generation Of West Sussex Young People
4. Worthing Lib Dems Respond To Theatres Announcement
 
 

WORTHING LIBERAL DEMOCRATS WEEKLY NEWSLETTER
20TH TO 26TH NOVEMBER 2011
 
  •    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:  Theatrical performance

 
Last Friday was billed as the opening night for one of the 17 bidders to take over the running of Worthing’s much loved theatres but the performance was cancelled at the last moment due to unforeseen circumstances.  Unforeseen by the Tories was a report from the officers recommending to keep the management of the theatres in house.
 
Seventeen groups of theatre experts had read the script and put in their ideas for the production. Whether they were granted any auditions or not we don’t know as all deliberations were held behind closed doors or perhaps more apt in this case closed curtains.  We do know the original 17 were whittled down to a final three but even these did not have the “X” factor required by the Tory Cabinet according to the report – sufficient savings to the Council’s budget. 
 
Leader of the Council Paul Yallop has said over the last year that the theatres were unsustainable and were costing around £3,000 per day to run which is born out in the table below constructed from Worthing Borough Council’s Budget books showing the cost of service during the last seven years of Tory rule:
 
                 
  Year            Assembly Hall Connaught Pavilion Ritz Marketing Total  
  *2010-11 258,310 273,570 483,730 50,140 201,070 1,266,820  
  *2009-10 289,950 321,240 389,910 134,270 254,300 1,389,670  
  2008-09 256,174 233,473 346,208 92,595 267,473 1,195,923  
  2007-08 292,098 296,136 320,299 146,261 248,271 1,303,065  
  2006-07 233,823 238,207 239,940 87,028 226,790 1,025,788  
  2005-06 320,796 344,151 403,376 114,012 222,207 1,404,542  
  2004-05 345,238 252,468 396,770 108,710 222,392 1,325,578  
  *Estimates from 2010 -2011 Worthing Borough Council Civic Budget Book  
                 
 
Actual figures for 2009-10 and 2010-11 may be better but due to a change in format of the Civic Budget Book for 2011-12 we are unable to see the prior year numbers.  In view of Paul Yallop’s statement we are certain both years are in excess of £1 million loss a year.  As the total council tax take is around £8 million a year that means about 12.5p of every pound collected is going to Worthing’s theatres.
 
We cannot give an opinion on whether any of the 17 bids would have resulted in significant savings to the council because they are shrouded in commercial sensitivity. But what we can see, as we saw in 2004, the current losses are not sustainable and a fresh business plan is needed. Our hearts go out to Jon Woodley and the Worthing Theatre Trust and those other 16 bidders who put in so much time and effort into creating their business plans –  unfortunately to no avail.  We thank them on behalf of Worthing’s residents.  
 
A new in-house business plan is yet to be written. Will it be better than the last seven years?  Rest assured we will be keeping a close eye on its theatrical performance.

 

Worthing Liberal Democrats 
 
NEWS FROM THE PAST WEEK
 
LIB DEMS EAST & WEST CHRISTMAS FESTIVITIES
 
Tuesday 22nd November – Both East Worthing & Adur and Worthing West & East Arun Lib Dem local parties are holding fund raising events during December as part of the Christmas Festivities. First up on Friday 2nd December at 7.30 pm is the East’s at Lions Hall, Roberts Road, Lancing – come along and enjoy an evening of games and chat with friends over a glass of mulled wine, mince pies and nibbles. You will receive a warm welcome and there will be traditional games, a treasure map with find Santa’s chimney and a prize for the winner and great raffles. Tickets only £5.00 per person from Doris Martin on 01903 523817. You then have the weekend to recover before the West’s Christmas Curry Night on Monday 5th December 7.30 pm at Shafiques Restuarant, 42 Goring Road, Worthing. All you can eat buffet – tickets only £20 per head from Jackie Cranefield on 01903 266143 or mobile 07973 961003 e-mail: jackie@cranefield.freeserve.co.uk.     
 NICK CLEGG LAUNCHES YOUTH CONTRACT
Friday 25th November – Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg today outlined a £1 billion pound Youth Contract to tackle youth unemployment. The aim is to ensure that all jobless young people are earning or learning again before long term damage is done. Over three years, the Youth Contract will provide at least 410,000 new work places for 18 to 24 year olds into work. The Youth contract includes: 160,000 wage subsidies and 250,000 new work experience placements; there will be at least 20,000 more incentive payments to encourage employers to take on young apprentices; and there will be a new programme to help the most disengaged 16 and 17 year olds – getting them back to school or college, onto an apprenticeship or into a job with training.Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “The aim of the Youth Contract is to get every unemployed young person earning or learning again before long term damage is done. This is a £1bn package and what’s different about it is gets young people into proper, lasting jobs in the private sector. But it’s a contract, a two-way street: if you sign up for the job, they’ll be no signing on for the dole. You have to stick with it. Youth unemployment is an economic waste and a slow-burn social disaster. We can’t lose the skills and talent of our young people – right when we need them most. We can’t afford to leave our young men and women on the scrap heap. We need the next generation to help us build a new economy. If people are out of work when they’re young they bear the scars for decades. If they have a false start, they might not ever fully catch up. These are tomorrow’s mothers, fathers and tax-payers. If they end up falling behind our whole society pays the price.It hasn’t been easy to find £1bn but it is the right thing to do. We won’t allow the children brought up in the boom to bear the brunt of the bust. The next generation must not pay the price for my generation’s mistakes. So the Coalition Government won’t sit on our hands and let a generation fall behind.We want to give every young person a reason to get up, a reason to go out, and a reason to feel great at the end of the day. Despite the huge pressures on the public purse we’re pulling out all the stops. But young people have to meet us halfway. If you break your side of the bargain, don’t just expect to live your life on benefits.”   (Liberal Democrats – Press Release)

CONTRACT WILL PROTECT A GENERATION OF YOUNG PEOPLE

Friday 25th November – Commenting on the Youth Contact which has today been announced by Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat Leader, Nick Clegg, Morwen Millson, Leader of West Sussex Lib Dem Group said: “Even here in West Sussex, there is a worrying number of young people not in education, employment or training. As a former teacher, I am well aware of how demoralising it is for young people to make dozens of unsuccessful applications for work. Nick Clegg’s new scheme will give a new chance to many young people before unemployment becomes a habit they can’t break. With youth unemployment rising considerably under Labour and currently standing at a worryingly high level, the Coalition Government is determined to ensure we don’t lose a generation of young people because of the mistakes of this generation. When money is tight, Liberal Democrats are determined to do the right thing and prioritise the future of our young people. We will make sure those who are willing and able have the opportunities and support they need to make sure no one falls behind.”
(Bob Smytherman – Press Release) 

 
 
WORTHING LIB DEMS RESPOND TO THEATRES ANNOUNCEMENT
 
Friday 25th November – Worthing Liberal Democrats have reacted with disappointment to yesterday’s (Friday) Worthing Borough Council press release on the future of the town’s theatres issued by the Tory controlled council. It is clear there is a glaring need for improved theatrical management competence as highlighted during the consultative and tendering process.  Our town rightly expects nothing less. The Tory Cabinet has accepted the officers’ report to the theatre working group that none of the 17 bids put forward contained sufficient savings to justify the theatres not being kept in-house.  This is despite the fact according to Leader of the Council Paul Yallop the theatres currently lose £3,000 a day and his previously expressed view this was an unsustainable situation.  Worthing Liberal Democrats trust the decision to keep the theatres in-house will indeed ease the haemorrhaging of council tax payers’ money and the bleeding will eventually stop.  The fact that an in-house business plan has yet to be written does not inspire confidence especially as 17 business plans written by professionals have been summarily dismissed. The proof of the pudding will be well and truly in the eating – Worthing Liberal Democrats on behalf of the town’s council tax payers will be watching like hawks.
Worthing Lib Dem Group Leader Alan Rice said: “For seven years Worthing’s Tories have dithered and delayed over the theatres while an annual sum of well in excess of a million pounds of council tax payers’ money has been lost year after year.  The one decision of the Budget Advisory Group when I was Chair was this situation could not go on and the nettle had to be grasped.  That is why the theatres were put out to tender and it was so refreshing to see so many others with confident business plans prepared to take on the task and revive our much loved theatres. The decision to remain in-house has yet to produce a business plan – we hope when it does come to fruition, for the sake of Worthing’s council tax payers, it’s a great deal better than any of the ones over the last seven years.”     
Liberal Democrat member of the theatres working group, David Chapman said: “I was privileged to be on the theatre working group and looked forward to finding a solution to keep Worthing’s theatres open and them being a continuing benefit to the community. It is indeed disappointing the officers found none of the bids were considered good enough to meet that aim. I shall be keeping my eyes well and truly focussed on their new business plan.  We are keen to ensure this plan is as all singing and dancing as they promise as well as delivering the required economies.”

(Bob Smytherman – Press Release) 

 
POOL – NOW WHAT’S HAPPENING?  TAKE THREE

 
Thursday 16th November – Worthing Liberal Democrats were perplexed this morning over the absence of a press release from Worthing Borough Council on the sale of the Aquarena site and the go ahead to sign the pool construction contract.  As the adjourned meeting of the Joint Stategic Committee finally made the decisions on Tuesday night Worthing Lib Dems were expecting the Tories to be shouting from the roof tops the good news on their number one priority. But the silence is deafening and contrasts with the well publicised national news today of the sale of Northern Rock to Virgin Money.  The sale of Northern Rock is in the public domain including the price and details of the other bids which failed to secure the deal but the Aquarena deal is shrouded in mystery. So now what’s happening?  
Leader of Worthing Lib Dems Alan Rice said: “Silence is often said to be golden but in this case it is more likely to be leaden. No news is said to be good news but that is not usually how Worthing’s Tory PR machine operates. What is happening?  Worthing residents deserve to know.”

 
DIARY
 
Monday 28th November – WSCC Governance Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 2.15 pm
Tuesday 29th November – WSCC Planning Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Tuesday 29th November – ADC & WBC Joint Strategic Committee – Council Chamber, Adur Civic Centre at 6.30 pm
Wednesday 30th November – WSCC Strategic Environmental Services Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am  
 
Wednesday 30th November – Lib Dem Northbrook/Durrington Ward Surgery – “The North Star”, Littlehampton Road 7.30 to 8.30 pm
Friday 2nd December – East Worthing & Adur Lib Dems Fund Raiser – Lions Hall, Roberts Road, Lancing at 7.30 pm
                                  Contact Doris Martin on 01903 523817
Saturday 3rd December – Lib Dem Central Ward Surgery – St Pauls Centre, Chapel Road 10.30 am to 12.00 noon
                              and every first Saturday of the month

 
Saturday 3rd December – Lib Dem Castle Ward Surgery – St Richards, Collingwood Road, Goring 10.00 to 10.30 am

Saturday 3rd December – Lib Dem Gaisford/Tarring Castle Wards Surgery – West Worthing Baptist Church, South Street, Tarring 10.30 to 11.30 am 
 
 Saturday 3rd December – Lib Dem Broadwater Surgery – The Community House, Dominion Road 2.00 to 4.00 pm  
                              and every first Saturday of the month
 
 
FURTHER AHEAD
 
Monday 5th December – WSCC Regulation, Audit and Accounts Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am
Monday 5th December – Worthing West & East Arun Lib Dems Christmas Curry Night – Shafiques Restuarant, 42 Goring Road, Worthing at 7.30 pm
                                    Contact Jackie Cranefield on 01903 266143 or mobile 07973 961003 e-mail: jackie@cranefield.freeserve.co.uk.
Thursday 8th December – WSCC Policy & Resources Select Committee – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am 
Thursday 8th December – ADC & WDC Joint Governance and Audit Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.30 pm
Tuesday 13th December – WBC Council Meeting – Council Chamber, Town Hall at 6.00 pm
Friday 16th December – WSCC Council Meeting – County Hall, Chichester at 10.30 am   (meeting will be webcast)
Monday 19th December – WBC Standards Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.00 pm                          
Tuesday 20th December – Lib Dem Durrington Surgery – New Life Church, Durrington 7.00 to 8.00 pm

                                       and every third Tuesday of the month
Wednesday 21st December – WBC Planning Committee – Gordon Room, Town Hall at 6.00 pm 
 
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