Difficult Decisions?

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    Anyone else noticed that the proposed cuts affect the most vulnerable in Wrexham – schoolchildren,the disabled, the elderly? Cuts affecting the average resident are minimal.



    Could that be the reason the Council Leader does not want to increase the Council Tax more than 3% if at all possible. This would affect all residents. Thinking about the next local council election perhaps!.



    Anyone else noticed that the proposed cuts affect the most vulnerable in Wrexham – schoolchildren,the disabled, the elderly? Cuts affecting the average resident are minimal.

    Yes, I noticed that – and commented on the fact, it’s disgusting isn’t it? I think the reason is that those groups are less likely to fill in the consultation or to complain – for a start the consultation seems to be largely (or all?) online – many elderly and disabled people don’t have access to the internet so won’t get a say, and schoolchldren are unlikely to participate either.

    Picking on the “easy targets”



    It technically shouldn’t be the case that these groups are being targeted, but then not represented by the rest of Wrexham. Surely, everyone has parents, children and grandchildren – likewise many families have someone with disabilities or knows someone who relies on support services, so why aren’t enough people stepping up to the bat and saying ‘leave these things the f*ck alone?’. If you are going to be protective over your kids or elderly relatives if someone malicious targets them in person (a con artist, a bully, a paedophile, a dodgy care home nurse) – then why not apply it vigorously in terms of protection from the state or local public authorities? You are basically failing to protect in this case.

    The bottom line is people just don’t care. Even Clr Pritchard doesn’t care – he’s reported to have evidence that there’s “chock-a-block” needles all discarded behind places in Wrexham town centre, but because it’s on private land the council are not prepared to do anything. If a restaurant serves dodgy food, health and safety comes and shuts them down, if someone slips and falls in a shop, there’s potential criminal or civil responsibility. If drug addicts throw loads of needles about that kids or anyone could get a needlestick injury from, there’s no action taken.



    Yes, apathy is the enemy here.
    Yes, children and vulnerable adults including those with learning disabilities, or in need of nurturing support (for assorted reasons) from an employee now facing the sack are targeted.

    Apathy could be the reason for the Council writing a document in officious, unfamiliar language which fails to make itself clear. Each department is dealt with individually, the effect of the cuts feel inadequately described and their overall result not considered. What a lazy way to ask for public opinion.

    Those people who have given their responses already have been dismissed by Mark Pritchard as ‘political activists’ – the Council depend on public apathy so need to discourage opinion.

    Every member of the public with the determination to translate this document into English, tease out the facts and obscured effects then work out their response deserves a mug of hot coffee/tea and some chocolate in a council-run cafe. How about it, WCBC?! Prove that you really DO want to listen to us!



    What is clear from this document is that in most instances no one actually knows what is being spent on service so they don’t know if accepting a particular proposal will result in a service cut or one that actually closes services.

    The Council are holding some meetings for a select group of organisations that are probably cherry-picked to make they are not the ones that will raise issues.

    The survey is not necessarily reflective of the demographic split across the county for age, gender, nationality etc.

    I find it incredible to think 2000 have gone online and completed the survey? Have they done some work in schools to try and boost the number of ‘participants’?



    Do the Council really want the public to fill in their online survey? All the questions gathering personal data at the beginning will deter many. Without filling in that part you are prevented from progressing further, surely one or two bits of information would be enough.



    One thing I am struggling to understand about the additional income streams being quoted, how do they have any context whatsoever without the overall costings being shown to us?

    School meals
    Current charges for school meals are £2.30 for infants and £2.35 for juniors. A 2%
    increase will be applied for 2018/19 which will increase the charges by 5p. In 2019/20,
    the charges will be brought in line with each other, which will therefore only see
    the infants’ fee increased by a further 5p. This is an increase which is applied to
    school meals every year, as the costs of providing school meals (e.g. supplier costs)
    increases. This will not affect Free School Meals entitlement. It is estimated this
    could generate additional income of approximately £15,000 in 2018/19 and a
    further £7,000 in 2019/20.

    Surely in this case, the additional income is going to cover the additional costs they mention from the supplier, but this is suggesting a surplus £15,000 over what is available in the budget now to be applied elsewhere?

    What someone needs to ask the council is: i) Will there be an extra £15,000 available to allocate to elsewhere from the budget from the price increases in 2018/19 and an extra £7,000 in 2019/20 or will this extra income be entirely absorbed by the increase in supplier costs and therefore not represent any increase in income to the overall budget whatsoever?

    ii) If the additional income is actually going to the budget (after covering the increased costs), why are paying for dinner parents being unfairly levied above the actual supplier cost increases – schools and education are not for profit generation from hard working families.



    Schools budget
    For a number of years the Council has protected school budgets. It is proposed
    that schools’ budgets are protected and given the same allocation as 2017/18 but
    not increased over the next two years. This means that schools will be required to
    meet growth pressures and inflation which are currently estimated at £1,158,000 in
    2018/19 and a further £1,408,000 in 2019/20. This proposal has been consulted on
    with the School Budget Forum.

    Clarification on this as well – school budget apparently protected, but effectively it is a cut if the same financial allocation is given for 2018/19 and 2019/20 as 2017/18 and schools themselves are expected to deal with inflation and growth pressures.

    In real terms schools are facing shortfalls in the latter 2 academic years (getting quite hefty by 2019/20) – however we can’t see the shortfalls here because for some reason the document decided it would be under no obligation to tell us the actual budget for 2017/18. How is anyone expected to work with this document?

    Where are schools going to find the shortfall funding? Everyone going to have to start taking in their own money for pens, like in some schools in England?

    Education is not being protected at all. The correct amount of money to be allocated to schools is the amount they need to educate the number of pupils they have in the school effectively and pay for the appropriate amount of staff. Dishonesty again.



    Good points made Matt. Maybe Cllr. Phil Wynne, Lead Member for Education for WCBC, a regular poster on this forum could enlighten us with a reply.

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