Over the past few days The Mayoral Alliance which includes independents, English Democrats and The Community Action party have been criticised by the Labour Group and others about our proposals on how council tax can be cut by 50% in Salford saying it cannot be done, its illegal, mass redundancies, care for the elderly cut, we do not understand the structure of the council and scare story after scare story.
So this is how it can be done........................
An elected mayor would have the authority to make decisions and give instructions. An elected mayor to cut council tax by 50% would have to be a strong elected mayor, be politically astute and use the resources at his/her disposal.
Salford City Council spends 34 millions every year on regeneration. This alone equates to about £300 per household per year. This is where the majority of savings will be made. Trafford Council spends £1 million on regeneration a year. Salford spends 34 million.
Much of the regeneration in Salford is unwanted. Thousands of people displaced, homes CPO'd against owners wishes and Salford's heritage is being destroyed. Communities ripped apart in the name of regeneration. The Chapel St fiasco, the purchasing of The Langworthy Hotel for £410,000 by Salford Council for it to be demolished. The type of regeneration Salford Council is engaged in is not what true Salfordians want.
If I can use this analogy. City West Housing Trust are spending millions bringing their homes up to The Decent Homes Standard. How do they do this ? They dont knock perfectly good houses down and rebuild them. They renovate them bringing them up to standard. That way people stay in their homes and communities are kept together.
As true Salfordian & Socialist Ken Keating, who is sadly no longer with us believed - the regeneration of Salford is not beneiting Salfordians.
The mayor would instruct the cabinet and senior officers of the council to come up with several options for a budget that included a cut in Council Tax by 50% by concentrating savings in the regeneration budget. Salford Council receives a higher grant than most councils so this percentage cut is affordable.
The officers would be set timescales which would have to be met as demanded by the Mayor. The cabinet and officers would present their proposals and options for consideration by the mayor which would achieve the mayor's aims of cutting council tax by half. They would have presented several options for consideration.
The Mayor would consider the options in detail, ask questions, seek answers to every detail and instruct officers to if necessary, go away and come back with other options, to remove proposals or include further proposals. A Mayor in his/her deliberations would establish outcomes of savings, what they would mean in detail which would ensure no cuts in front line services.
Once the mayor has finalised a budget and set it it would be presented to the Council. Any Mayor would have to be a very strong and determined Mayor to achieve their goal.
Now thats not difficult is it - the process !