Labour Watch – Westerhope local budget under threat
The new Labour Leader of the Council has warned that he intends to "change the way the Council allocates resources .... this means more will be targeted to where it's needed not simply to areas on the basis of the number of people living there."
Westerhope Ward now has an annual budget of almost £25,000 to support local groups and activities, which increased more than threefold under the Lib Dems compared with when Labour last ran the council.
Yet under Labour's new budget allocations Elswick ward has a local budget over twice that of Westerhope.Of course there's greater disadvantage in Elswick than Westerhope, but all sorts of other budgets are already greater for areas like Elswick anyway.
"Just like other parts of the city, we have older people and youngsters who need facilities and backing, and we have community groups that need supporting. As someone with a background in the voluntary sector I intend to stand up for local groups if I am elected as your councillor" said Patrick Morrissey
The Lib Dems also brought in local budgets, equal in even ward, for capital projects. Westerhope has used these funds to contribute to developments at the Church of the Holy Nativity/parish centre; for a new heating system at Westerhope Community Centre, for parking improvements on Neworth Drive and for a range of environmental improvements across the ward.
"We already know Labour are scrapping ward charters which guarantee the council will address the local priorities of residents in Westerhope in favour of new centrally-imposed top-down 'minimum neighbourhood standards'. We don't yet know whether Labour will continue with the ward capital funds but it would be a betrayal if they scrapped them too and switched local neighbourhood environment team resources to their traditional areas of support" said Patrick.