Not much information emerging from the Rev Rees on the scale of cuts in public services he’s proposing over the next year*. Instead the inane egoist seems to be focussing his PR efforts on boasting about how many ‘hits’ his ridiculous Canadian TED Talk is getting on Youtube and his fantasy plan for an underground network in Bristol.
What we do know is that of the £11.7m of savings planned for delivery in 2021/22, only 46% were achieved.Leaving around £5.5m to be brought forward to this year. We also know around £29m of ‘efficiencies’ and ‘transformations’ were announced in this year’s budget. That’s a total of about £34.5m cuts to be made to public services this year then.
But what will be cut? Council documents, carefully hidden from view, have identified “six key areas for service reviews”. They are: property and capital; be more business-like and secure more external resource; improving efficiencies; digital transformation; reducing the need for direct services and, er, redesigning, reducing, or stopping services.
Property appears on these cuts lists every year and delivers nothing; the council being “more businesslike” is a hollow joke and that last time they tried digital transformation it delivered a £30m deficit senior bosses tried to hide from the mayor and public.
It’s therefore likely all the cuts will come from “improving efficiencies”, euphemism for staff cuts; reducing the need for direct services, which means trying to stop the public accessing services they’re entitled to (see SEND) and redesigning, reducing, or stopping services, which means scrapping services altogether.
So the Reverend’s plan is to fire staff, bully council taxpayers into not taking up services and cut anything else that’s not nailed down to save £34.5m
No wonder he wants you to look the other way at his stupid TED Talk.
*Since this article was published Bristol City Council has published a press release acknowledging they may need to make £31.1m next year. What they didn’t mention was an annex to a finance report to cabinet that suggested these cuts might be as much as £87.6m!