|Christchurch Relief Road
The report commissioned by CBC has been published. To read it go to www.wcresidents.co.uk and click on “latest updates 2016”
Amongst other things, the report states that the key objectives of future improvements are: to support the local economy and jobs through reducing congestion and improving journey times on the A35 and on the B3073 (Bargates-Fairmile-Hurn Road); to improve road safety; to reduce the environmental impact of through traffic.
In a report which seems rather obsessed with methodology the authors fail to identify any acceptable options. They recommend the promotion of public transport (after DCC has just axed two local bus services), walking and cycling, and consideration of a Park and Ride. We think we could have come up with those suggestions after maybe two minutes thought!
With regard to the bypass schemes, they conclude that they all suffer from significant environmental and flood risk issues – such insights! If the bypass schemes are to be progressed any further, they say, it is recommended that further study is focussed on reducing scheme cost, and on obtaining more accurate demand forecasts. We wonder who they might have in mind to undertake such further work.
Interesting News for Chris Chope MP
The Boundary Commission have released their initial proposals for England and Wales, See the map here ; Read the full report here
The process would save taxpayers £66 million over five years by cutting the number of English MPs from 533 to 501. In Dorset there would still be eight constituencies, although one would cross the Wiltshire border.
Christchurch would be included in a constituency with five wards from north Bournemouth. (WCRA note - the proposed merger with others reflects the small population of Christchurch at 49,000). This new constituency would be named Bournemouth North and Christchurch. A Bournemouth South constituency would also be created containing ten wards from south Bournemouth.
Nothing has been decided yet so we’ll keep an eye on things
The Latest Scam
There is a phishing email currently in circulation that claims to be from the City of London Police. The departments that it claims to represent include the ‘Fraud Intelligence Unit’ and the ‘National Fraud Intelligence Bureau’. The email is titled ‘compensation fund’ and has a letter attachment that claims to be offering financial compensation to victims of fraud. The letter uses the City of London Police logo.
The letter states that in order for compensation to be arranged, the receiver of the email should reply disclosing personal information. It states that HSBC and the South African Reserve Bank have been chosen to handle the compensation claims.
All of these claims are false. The email and letter are fraudulent and should not be replied to.
Trees on St Catherine’s Hill
Both CBC and ARC are now in a situation where they have their felling licences in place and have obtained grant funding to pay for the 2016-17 winter works commencing after 1st October this year. For full details go to www.wcresidents.co.uk and click on “latest updates”
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill
We welcomed the appointment of a PCC in Dorset because it meant that for the first time we could meet and talk to a senior police officer. During his first term of 4 years we met Martyn Underhill several times and found the meetings productive.
Following his recent re-election, he has now declined to meet us on the basis that he is too busy seeing other people! This combined with his recent ill-judged foray into the public domain to make rather foolish remarks about the proposed reorganisation of Local Authorities in Dorset has left us wondering if he has completely lost the plot.
If you have a question you would like us to put to Mr Underhill please let us know by responding to this e-mail
Marlow Drive Community Hall Appeal
Councillor Sue Spittle reports:
Our Treasurer Cliff Roffey will be leaving us soon to live near his daughter in Kent so we are looking for someone to replace him. The duties are not onerous, as you can see from the list below. The Hall’s trustees meet on the third Monday of every month, when we discuss the upkeep of the Hall, bookings and community events we arrange, such as the Quizzes. If you feel you could help us please contact me (contact details are at the end of this article) Thank you
Honorary Treasurer’s duties
Sue Spittle, 82 Hurn Road Christchurch BH23 2RP, 01202484623(home) 07808298812(mobile); e-mail: email@example.com
- Pay all Hall invoices and expenses claims.
- Bank, letting receipts, cheques/cash received and all other cash/cheque receipts for Hall events.
- Check BACS receipts weekly via the internet and liaise with Booking Secretary.
- Deal with payroll of two employees, i.e. arrange payments, report monthly payments to HMRC via “Basic PAYE Tools “on the Internet, and make quarterly NIC payments to HMRC.
- Reconcile the monthly bank statements against the payment vouchers and prepare a Monthly Financial Report for the Committee. These also act as support for the annual audit.
- Prepare the draft final accounts at the year end and liaise with Accountants for the audit and agreement of the final accounts. Report to the AGM on the year's results.
- Subsequently, file the annual figures with the Charity Commission via the internet and mail them a copy of the audited accounts.
Government fails to announce a new tax
CBC has just published its medium term financial strategy. How boring, I hear you say! And yet it provides an insight into just how hamstrung local authorities are by the Treasury.
Typical of the way Central Government behaves is an offer to guarantee a level of subsidy for the next four years if the authority publishes an “Efficiency Plan”. No orders to do so, just the statement “If you don’t we can’t guarantee any future funding”. You don’t have to be Einstein do you?
The Treasury has indicated that a local authority will be able to retain 100% of the business rates it collects from 2019-20 onwards. Good news perhaps. Unfortunately they also say that additional undefined burdens and responsibilities will be placed on authorities at the same time “to ensure the reform is fiscally neutral” (which translated means “we’ll make sure you won’t make a penny out of this”). Of course it could be that the “additional burdens” will cost more than the business rates collected – nobody would be surprised if that was the case!
This type of behaviour has characterised the way in which Central Government has pulled the strings behind the scenes in such matters as local government reorganisation. As regular readers will know, Revenue Support Grant is being reduced to zero. For CBC that means that in 2016-17 CBC will receive a subsidy of £313,000 from the Treasury. In 2017-18 that reduces to £8,000 (yes, a reduction of £305,000 in the space of one year). In 2019-20 it becomes zero. “You don’t have to reorganise” says Whitehall “but if you don’t how will you make up that shortfall?”
It gets worse. From 2019-20 CBC will be required to pay a “Tariff Adjustment” directly to the Treasury. This is a brand new feature and is in effect a new tax on local government – which means a new tax on you and me. Part of our Council Tax will be used to make a contribution to Treasury coffers in addition to the income tax and VAT we already pay. This of course is to try to reduce the National Debt.
As a result of these changes CBC is now forecasting a budget deficit of £167,000 appearing in 2019-20 with further deficits in the years that follow. In other words, in 2019-20 it will spend £167,000 more than it takes in as revenue - unless some corrective action is taken. You might have noticed that 2019-20 is the year that local government reorganisation is due to take place – we make no further comment.
Just to remind you that in order to express your views on the proposed reorganisation of our local councils you need to complete the “Reshaping your Councils” questionnaire that you can find at a special website https://news.dorsetforyou.gov.uk/reshapingyourcouncils/ where you can do everything on-line
If you need to refresh your memory on the consultation issues go to www.wcresidents.co.uk and click on “newsletters 2016” and then “special edition August 2016”. We received a number of thanks and messages of congratulation from our readers regarding that special edition.
If you want to read background material click on www.wcresidents.co.uk and then “latest updates” where at 29th August 2016 you’ll find our financial analysis; at 1st June 2016 a report on non-financial issues; at 30th June 2016 a summary of this soap opera since it started in October 2015
Your deadline for submission of your opinion is 25th October 2016