Jan 5 2012
SO, Solihull Council needs to reduce its budget by a further £10 million, on top of of the many millions slashed in the past five years (Solihull News).
This must surely mean more cuts in public services. In this case, why doesn’t the council dip into its reserves to make good the spending shortfall?
I don’t know what the reserves stand at currently, but a year ago they amounted to nearly £40 million, which I thought was rather a lot of money for a relatively small metropolitan council like Solihull.
Birmingham City Council, a much larger authority, serving a population around five times that of Solihull, didn’t have a great deal more money held in reserve at that time.
It seems local authorities generally haven’t heeded the advice of the Local Government Secretary, Eric Pickles, to break into their ‘piggy banks’ to make ends meet in tough economic times, and keep services going.
Latest government figures show the total amount salted away by councils in England hasn’t gone down but has actually risen, to nearly £11 billion. A staggering figure, almost equal to the entire annual revenue from council tax.
Councils are required to keep a certain amount of money in reserve for a rainy day, but how much should this be?
Peter Kennedy, Hampton-in-Arden
I was astounded when I saw your front page article on the collection of rubbish over the Christmas Holiday (Solihull News).
It is written to make it seem as if there are no collections over an extended period when in fact all that happened was the loss of one general rubbish collection and one recycling collection.
Mr Powell seems to think the refuse collection teams should not have a Christmas holiday like most of us take for granted. Yes some people have to work, such as emergency services, but rubbish collection hardly falls into that category.
Christmas is after all the only bank holiday they do not work.
I’m sure there would have been some staff willing to work, if you paid them enough; or perhaps overtime and get them to do a double shift on Tuesday and Wednesday. Extra cash of course. Mr Powell says he pays his council tax; of course he does, like the rest of us but he will find himself paying even more if he expects to have his rubbish collected at Christmas.
Our collection days in Marston Green are the same as those quoted for Mr Powell so we faced the same problem. So did we moan about it? No we did something for ourselves, as did many others judging by all those at Bickenhill Waste Centre on Thursday afternoon.
I note Mr Powell is 42 years old and with no mention of any disability so there is unlikely to be a reason why Mr Powell, instead of moaning couldn’t get on with it as one of those little inconveniences in life; and maybe even help any elderly neighbours who are not in a position to help themselves.
J Campbell, Elmdon Lane, Marston Green
In response to Mr Powell’s rant about refuse collection (Friday 30th December 2011), he really needs to get a life and understand the important things in life.
Apparently, Mr Powell was ‘frustrated’, he felt the decision not to collect refuse was ‘unacceptable’ and it was a ‘disgraceful decision’. Wow, how sad can one individual get?
Perhaps Mr Powell should listen to and read national news. Over seven days of Christmas, 14 people lost their lives. Two more soldiers died in Afghanistan and I found out a close friend had died from liver cancer. I for one, feel that Solihull Council’s Christmas waste disposal arrangements were well publicised leading up to the festive period.
Finally Mr Powell, look at what is really going on and be appreciative you have only got to deal with a bit of extra waste!
Darryl Jones, Solihull
I SENT this letter to the Environmental Waste Manager at Solihull Council:
What a notable start to the new year. Not having had our waste collected since December 19, it was reassuring that you were prepared to take additional waste in the January 2 collection. As a household of seven we have the benefit of a larger bin, but commensurate additional waste, so we put our additional new year waste in the green bin which otherwise sits idly by until the spring.
This seemed like a good idea to me – no foxes spreading dirty nappies and waste food over the High Street.
Unfortunately , despite being suitable labelled as household waste, your operatives either cannot read or are unable to apply common sense; the green bin is lifted by the same mechanism as the black bins - perhaps I should have wrapped the bin in black paper.
Perhaps the solution is for me to put the waste in the car and make the 20 mile round trip to Bickenhill waste site.
In the meantime the green bin, suitably labelled, will wait for a while by the footpath in case your jobsworths should return for it.
Nigel Walton, Shirley
I recently completed a questionnaire sent out on behalf of the local Conservative Party asking for my views on the Waitrose supermarket in Knowle.
I was surprised when my local Conservative councillor called to give his reasons why the supermarket should not go ahead and I was asked to sign a petition against the proposal.
After an amicable discussion, I was eventually given the opportunity to sign in favour of the construction, but I hope the Conservative Party do not use this flawed method of testing public opinion as ‘evidence’ either for or against the proposal. If they are against it they should come out and say so.
Interestingly, my interviewer admitted he and his wife drove to one of the massive supermarkets out of the village to do their weekly family shopping. This, to me, is a strong reason why we need a good sized quality outlet in Knowle. It would improve the footfall on the high street, thus helping the excellent local traders.
RG Farmer via e-mail
In response to the article on “Spelman backs badger cull plan” (Solihull News) - why am I not surprised?
A few years ago my wife and I wrote to Caroline Spelman asking her to back the campaign against fox hunting, she replied, stating she fully supported this cruel (so called) sport.
Does she advocate badger baiting and hare coursing too? I am sure her time could be better employed endeavouring to get the EU legislation for bovine TB vaccinations for cattle amended, and then licensed on to the market.
Ed Fenwick, Castle
Park and pay
I fully support the changes from pay-on-exit to pay-and-display at Mell Square car park. Under the existing simple arrangements when the machines are not working the motorists have to be allowed out without paying, to do otherwise would be illegal imprisonment.
Under the new system when the machines are not working the motorists can’t display any tickets and all cop for an £80 fine.
The maths is simple, I might even bid for the management contract.
T Cawthray, Knowle
I fully agree with Lynda Johnson ref parking payments at Mell Square car park. Councillor Ted Richards’ comments are stupid, do not forget this is the same man that said that there was nothing wrong with the Stratford Rd/Union Rd/School Rd roundabout. He must be very pleased with yet more of tax payers money wasted on the bus lanes in Bickenhill Lane,the list goes on.
Pay and display is not the way forward to get people to stay and shop in comfort, but we know the real reason is to get us to pay more than we need to park, drive off and then someone else comes along and pays for the same parking space again.
Phil Wheeler via e-mail