Southwark Council have spent £15,400 on a new logo which is almost indistinguishable from the old one. Despite complaining about funding cuts, the Labour-led council found £6,819 for designing the new logo and a further £8,581 to spend on implementation.
Justifying the project, the ‘Branding Refresh’ report claims the logo has been "redrawn" to "improve its quality, reduce the size of the ‘S’ and make it more legible" as well as removing a full stop. It takes a keen eye to spot these changes on the new design (click here to have a go).
On the 4th July, Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council introduced a new £2.4 million recycling service. The vehicles bought would have enabled weekly collections to take place where there were once fortnightly ones. However, there was one major problem with this plan: the vehicles which the council purchased were too wide for some streets.
In Windsor and Maidenhead, our approach to Government is to only take in Council Tax what is absolutely necessary to spend to deliver high quality services at a low cost. In many authorities the elected representatives and their officials would say exactly the same thing – but in Windsor and Maidenhead, we not only do it in practice, but it underpins the political drive to deliver maximum value to local taxpayers.
Trafford Council is the third lowest funded Metropolitan District in the country, receiving only £365 per head against an average of £591, an equivalent loss of £49.3 million.
However, Trafford also has the 19th lowest Council Tax in the Country, because it has a culture of delivering a high level of efficiencies to meet the budget deficit across all services, including those that may be classed as politically sensitive. Council tax has been frozen for five years and is the
lowest in the North West.
As Council Tax rises take effect across the country today, families face an average tax hike of £46 a year. Research from the TaxPayers' Alliance shows that that Council Tax has been an increasing burden on families for decades. Between 1996-97 and 2010-11, 152 local authorities increased Council Tax every single year.
After years of council tax rises, local government should cut waste before further hiking our bills
The full cost of payments to local councillors? Two thirds of a billion pounds over three years. Many councillors receive modest allowances but the variation is significant. In an era of increasing pressure on local authority resources, it is essential that every penny is spent wisely and above inflation rises in payments to councillors are difficult to justify.
Councils across the country are settling their budgets for next year. Many will have to reduce spending, after the Chancellor's Autumn Statement announced a real terms reduction in grants to local authorities. Some councils have already said that they are considering Council Tax hikes, but more should be done to bring spending down, sell assets or use reserves.
Central government has offered grants to local authorities to freeze or cut Council Tax. Local authorities wishing to increase Council Tax by 2 per cent or more must seek the approval of their residents.
With all too sad regularity, we at the TPA comment on egregious pay-offs for those leaving extremely well paid posts in the public sector – people whose remuneration packages are entirely funded by us taxpayers.
And today another example of another obscene golden goodbye has hit our radar. But this time, for me, it’s personal.