Monthly Archives: October 2010

Big Hurdles for a Big Society

If the Big Society is going to be a success (and I am supportive of the Big Society) then we need to ensure that measures are taken to help people to volunteer.

I am currently trying to organise an event for local residents, however there are many regulations that are providing stumbling blocks for me.  The event I am looking to arrange is quite straightforward. 

So it needs to be said that if the Big Society is going to work then we are going to have to get rid of these petty regulations.

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Kursaal Conservatives Leading the Way

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Ideas for Saving Money

With the increased pressure on SBC budget, caused by the economic mis-management of the previous Government, we have to think of ways of saving money whilst at the same time maintaining good services.  More importantly with the money we have to spend use it on services we are good with providing.

An interesting article from the BBC which looks at ways in which Councils up and down the country can save money, might provide some insight.

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Your Southend Your Say

Go to www.southend.gov.uk/budgetconsultation to comment on services in Southend and indicate how a possible reduction in service delivery would be for you.

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Southend and the Budget

Councils across Britain are on the brink of implementing difficult financial decisions.  It is thought that Southend Borough Council will have to save up to £28 million.

The Governments Spending Review will be published on 20th October and this will set out how much money council departments will be allocated.  The Spending Review is a process which allocates resources across all government departments which are linked to the Government’s priorities.  Spending reviews set fixed budgets over several years for each department.  It is then up to each department to decide spending within that area.  This spending review will cover four years.

On 20th October the Chancellor will make a speech and present the review to Parliament.  It is hoped that in four to five years Government spending will be £83bn lower as a result of cuts.

This country has a huge debt which needs to be paid off as a result of public borrowing being, currently at an all time high.  Under the previous government billions of pounds were spent which was just not sustainable.

But these cuts do not have to mean poor local services.  The coalition government has decided that in order to address this debt, certain changes need to be implemented.

A Localism Bill will allow local communities to take over rural pubs and post offices. Councils will be encouraged to be innovative with how services are provided and run.  For example, Westminster and Hammersmith and Fulham Councils are planning to merge their education departments to save money.

There are consultations taking place up and down the country which are asking residents which services they value most and where savings can me made.  For example, Dartford Council were told that 90 per cent of residents wanted to keep their weekly bin collections and so the council kept the service but shared the service with Sevenoaks.

Councils are also being encouraged to be much more accountable and open to their community by putting their spending on line so people can see exactly where tax payer’s money is going.

For now it is about thinking about what councils can do in partnership or shouldn’t be doing at all.

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Should we have a more democratic way of choosing candidates?

 This year in Kursaal ward the Conservatives are going to use a different method of choosing their candidate. Three local candidates have put themselves forward to be selected by local residents in Kursaal.

In fact this is becoming a more popular means of selecting candidates. What is becoming interesting is how few voters are having a direct impact on who their candidates are – how can this be democratic? I feel that it would be better for political parties to use open primaries to choose their candidates and leaders. It would be fantastic if all voters in constituencies and wards were able to vote for who their leader or candidate was. At present we have a situation where too few people have a say over who is going to represent them.

It would be brilliant if we had a more democratic process of selection and then maybe politicians would do a better job of representing people.

Three local candidates are applying to join Cllr. Dr. Blaine Gideon Robin & Cllr. Louise Burdett

Your support would be much appreciated as we are encouraging residents to select the candidates.

” Your vote will help the successful candidate to fight May 2011 local elections”.

For more information telephone or text: 07813 853 096 Cut off date 17.10.10

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Out Of The Box Launch

It was great to attend the festival launch of ‘Out of the box’ yesterday at Victoria Circus  in Southend High Street where I saw singing and dancing from La Roma, a Polish Roma group.

‘Out of the Box’ is a festival that aims to bring together different cultures in the town.  It is a partnership between Southend Council and educational organisations in the town. 

The festival (which coincides with Black History Month) includes different music, exhibitions, plays and talks.  For instance there is a ‘big dance day’ at Garons Leisure Centre on Sunday 17th October  where people have the opportunity to learn Zumba, Flamenco, Break dance, Salsa and Tai Chi.  Other events include, family action day at the library where you can create masks from around the world.  Samba drum workshops, High profile speakers such as Doreen Lawrence speaking at the Civic Centre, Victoria Avenue, Film nights at the Central Museum.

For more information contact www.cultureonsea.co.uk

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