Thomas Bridge 26 June 2015

Council urged to vote against £10m property ‘gamble’

A trade union has launched a scathing attack on proposals for a council to spend millions on ‘property speculation’ instead of local services.

Unite today urged Conservative-led Bromley Council to vote against recommendations that would see the town hall spending £10.1m on buying commercial property on top of £74m already earmarked for 2015/16.

The proposal for how Bromley will spend its £11.1m underspend will be debated at the local authority’s full council meeting on Monday 29 June.

Union members said Bromley councillors had got their priorities ‘completely wrong’ and urged them to ditch the ‘helter-skelter’ of privatisation.

The calls follow three waves of strike action at the town hall over the outsourcing of services, withdrawal of facility time for union representatives and cuts to council employee numbers from 4,000 to 300.

Unite regional officer Onay Kasab said: ‘The Tory councillors have got their priorities completely wrong. Bromley residents want any available spare money spent on council services, and not invested in property speculation.

‘We call on the council at its full meeting on Monday to draw back from this unwanted helter-skelter to privatise services left, right and centre – and return to the public service ethos that used to be the bedrock of the council’s activities.

‘Voters expect councillors to provide public services and not gamble their money on the vagaries of property development.’

Council leader, cllr Stephen Carr, said: 'We have always adopted a prudent and sustainable approach to managing the council’s resources. This includes making strategic investments in higher yielding investment property.

'We use capital spend for these investments, which in turn subsidises council services. It is not sustainable to use such capital spend on year-on-year revenue spending. The feedback from residents, including from resident association meetings and as part of our annual budget consultations is they consistently support and expect us to make the best use of our resources and adopt such a long-term approach.

'This should be seen against a background of having to identify a further £40m savings over the next four years from a net budget of around £200m, due to much reduced government funding for local authorities when we are being asked to shoulder additional responsibilities and face increasing demands for services. These investments are a key strand in managing our resources to ensure they provide value for money for Bromley taxpayers and deliver the best outcomes for our residents.'

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Travel Information Data Technician

Essex County Council
Up to £25581 per annum
This is an exciting opportunity to work across all aspects of the Integrated Passenger Transport Unit (IPTU). Working with a passionate and dedicated England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Planning Strategy & Implementation Manager

Essex County Council
£57621 - £61410 per annum
Planning Strategy & Implementation Manager Permanent, Full Time £57,621 to £61,410 per annum Location
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Senior Accountant

Telford & Wrekin Council
£39,571 - £42,614
Are you a qualified Accountant looking to take the next step in your career? Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Family Assessment Worker

Telford & Wrekin Council
£25,419 to £27,514
We have a great opportunity for a full time Family Assessment Worker in the Parenting Assessment Team. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Neighbourhood Enforcement Officer

Telford & Wrekin Council
£23,023 - £24,920
The post holder will tackle environmental crimes and unlawful parking. Telford, Shropshire
Recuriter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.