Search

Confusion surrounds leaked Islington Council document proposing a swathe of dramatic cuts

15:57 14 August 2014

The document propose as series of dramatic, cash-saving cuts

The document propose as series of dramatic, cash-saving cuts

Archant

Confusion surrounds a leaked document which details a swathe of potential closures across Islington – including half the borough’s libraries, a swimming pool and a much-loved ecology centre.

The confidential report – called Future Shape to 2018 – was written by the town hall’s most senior directors and included a host of dramatic ways to save cash in the face of further central government cuts.

Cllr Richard Watts, leader of Islington Council, was quick to rubbish the 150-page document after its contents were revealed in the Gazette, saying it was not shown to councillors and “wasn’t worth the paper it’s printed on”.

But the ruling Labour group has yet to categorically say the cuts in the document are not being considered, or to say definitively that they weren’t discussed by the council’s executive.

Cllr Watts did say Cally Pool, in Caledonian Road – earmarked for closure in the report – was coming to the end of its “natural life” and needed replacing.

But Cllr Paul Convery, executive member and Caledonian ward councillor tweeted that no decision to axe Cally Pool would be taken.

Julian Gregory, the Lib Dem Parlimentary candidate for Islington North, said: “It seems inevitable that at least some leading Labour councillors must have known about these proposed cuts for some time.

“Imagine – could a detailed document like the one leaked last week have been drafted, costed and distributed without any of Labour’s senior elected representatives having sight or knowledge of it?

“With its large majority on the council, there is a real risk of Labour thinking that it can run the borough without any proper scrutiny.”

Cllr Watts said: “The document is an out of date options paper put together by senior council managers for discussions with themselves.

“In difficult circumstances caused by the Tory-led government cutting more than half of the council’s finances, the budget setting process takes months.

“During this time documents like this always get put together at the start, before anything is presented to councillors.

“They often get changed substantially during the process.

“We have been absolutely clear that decisions have not yet been made on how to make the savings necessary that have been forced upon us by the government.

“This document was the worst-case scenario set out by council managers.”

Alternatives

He added during the next six months councillors would try to come up with alternatives to protect vital front line services and any proposals would be announced in advance of agreeing the budget, giving people a chance to have a say on them.

He said: “The draft 2015/16 budget will become public in January before it goes to executive for consideration, and then full council in February for approval.

“Because the budget will be made by councillors and not managers, this is why the document isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.”

Correction:

Last week, the Gazette ran a front page story detailing the options set out in a leaked document on proposed ways to cope with cuts to council funding.

The headline and graphic indicated that decisions on cuts to services had already been made, when this was not the case. We are happy to clarify the situation.

0 comments

Comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

Firefighters went on strike at 6pm today.

Firefighters in Islington have gone on strike as part of a long-running dispute with the government over pension reforms.

Robert Pattinson. Credit: Press Association.

A casting company is on the hunt for a youngster to star alongside Hollywood superstar Robert Pattinson in a new film.

It sold for £275,000 (Picture: Zoopla)

A tiny Barnsbury home dubbed “Britain’s smallest house” has sold for more than £275,000 after attracting global media coverage.

16:42
Many Freedom Passes need renewing before the end of the year

More than 20,000 older people can renew their free travel card during the next two months.

Most read news

“Space is hard and today was a tough day.”

One pilot is dead and another seriously injured after the craft exploded over the Mojave desert.

One pilot has died and another is seriously injured after a rocket belonging to billionaire Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism venture crashed during a test flight. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo rocket came down in the Mojave Desert in California. An eyewitness reported that the craft exploded in flight after ignition. A Virgin Galactic spokesman said the […]

Digital Edition

Image
Read the $m.global.archantvariables.NewspaperTitle e-edition today E-edition