Council profiteering

An update on the previous post. Thanks to a tip by the ever well informed Biccy on the Hither Green Forum I realized that the increase on CPZ tariffs was decided by none other than the Mayor of Lewisham Sir Steve Bullock in a very clear bogus budget savings exercise.

We were always told that the CPZ tariff pays for the cost of its management, not that it is supposed to fund other Council’s expenditures, this is in effect a Council tax increase.

We are always told that services like these are outsourced to external contractors because they can keep the operational costs down and deliver better value for money. We have never been told that the local authority would then intervene with some good old poaching by raising the tariffs and pocketing the difference.

And how fair is it that people living within CPZ areas pay in effect a bigger Council tax than those living outside CPZ areas. I have no objection to paying for its running, I quite like the result, what I object to is the profiteering and very sadly this time it doesn’t come from the private partners but from the Council itself.

Here’s some relevant passages from the Mayor and Cabinet papers of 5th March 2008, item 8 that show the utter hypocrisy behind this increase:

The purpose of this report is to provide the Mayor with the detail of increased parking charges. The additional income was proposed as part of the Revenue Budget Savings Proposal Report 08/09 that was considered by Mayor & Cabinet in December 2007. The proposed increases put forward will generate £500k total income, £273k to be used as part of the budget savings exercise and £250k to fund highways prudential borrowing as set out in the Highways Best Value Review…

The Revenue Budget Savings Proposal report gave a broad brush indication on how the increased income could be achieved. This income generation was to be applied in three ways. Firstly, £192k via an increase to the resident permit charge. Secondly, through an increase to the resident visitor permit charge and thirdly by applying a 15% increase to the pay & display tariff charges both on and off street.

In the light of this new element I am now stopping the petition, this is the message that I sent to the two other people that signed it during the handful of hours it was active:

Thank you for your support, I closed the petition so suddenly because I learned something I didn’t know yesterday, that the rise in tariff came out of a decision of the Mayor in what is a bogus budget saving exercise, In effect an increase of Council Tax dressed as something else. Details of this are available in the Mayor and Cabinet Papers of 5th March 2008, item 8. I still think to start a petition to introduce transparency for Council contracts but that will have to be independent from the CPZ issue.

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6 Responses to “Council profiteering”

  1. links for 2008-07-10 « Someday I Will Treat You Good Says:

    […] Council profiteering Max realises that it’s politicians that make decisions in our democracy. […]

  2. A Says:

    Stand for council, Max, get elected and you’ll be able to read all these confidential papers.

  3. Max Says:

    This was me not reading publicly available papers I’m afraid.

  4. Julian Says:

    Council profiteering to the max decision was made undemocratically.

  5. Rick Says:

    Hi, Just stumbled across this on a trawl through the web. So, do you think there is any useful way to protest against the CPZ rise? I’m like you, quite like the results – but not at any price. If this happens once, then what’s to stop a bit more fund raising next year by a quick hike to £100?!

  6. Max Says:

    Hi Rick,

    yes, I think that something can be done. A first easy move could be the submission of a public question to the Council asking the Mayor to justify the move and asking guarantees that any additional increase would only follow eventual increase in the actual cost of the service. Next Council meeting is in January so we’re well in time to submit a question.
    Following what is answered there then one can think what to do next if anything else is required.

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