Barnet's Conservative councillors are planning to cut £750k from the Council's Streetscene budget by reducing the frequency that streets are cleaned. A new "Street Cleansing Framework" was discussed at Thursday's Environment Committee (14 July) setting out that a "review of frequencies" would be done to "establish minimum frequency standards".
Although the Conservatives refused to admit at the meeting that this actually meant less street cleaning, the budget papers from March set out that there would be a "reduction in street cleansing frequencies".
The street cleansing framework says that "...the level of savings will be very challenging to achieve while still maintaining high levels of public satisfaction." But Labour councillors point out that only around half of residents (52%) are satisfied with street cleansing in Barnet, according to the latest performance data - down from 58% last year. In addition the levels of unacceptable litter and detritus on Barnet's streets are worsening.
Labour councillors moved an additional recommendation at the meeting to say the frequency of street cleaning in residential streets should be maintained and enhanced in hotspot areas. This was rejected by the Conservatives.
Labour's Environment spokesperson, Cllr Alan Schneiderman said: "Nearly half of residents are not satisfied with street cleaning in Barnet, and yet the Tories are planning to reduce street cleansing frequencies further.
“This move is going to be hugely unpopular. We know from casework that people are already complaining their street is not cleaned often enough, so saying it will be hard to maintain high levels of public satisfaction is a gross understatement. We already don't have high levels of satisfaction.
"The Tories have just launched a poster campaign via their £1 million communication department, telling people to #KeepBarnetClean right before they cut spending on street cleaning. I say to the Tories - save money on the posters and #CleanUpBarnet!
"Rather than spending £10,000 to put barcodes on litter bins so that people can report when they're full, why don't they spend that money emptying them more often?"
1. For further details of the street cleansing action plan see item 8 page 4 of this report: http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s33280/Appendix%202%20Street%20Cleansing%20Framework%20Action%20Plan.pdf
2. The street cleansing framework can be found here - see para 2.15 for comment on "... the level of savings will be very challenging to achieve while still maintaining high levels of public satisfaction" :http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s33279/Appendix%201%20Street%20Cleansing%20Framework.pdf
3. For details of the £750k budget cut, and plan to reduce frequencies see p56 of the March 2016 budget report: http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s29941/Appendix%20B1%20Detailed%20Revenue%20Budgets%20Savings%20Pressures%20and%20Council%20Tax%20Schedules.pdf
4. Details of the street cleaning satisfaction and litter/detritus levels can be found on p14 of this performance report: http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s32130/Appendix%20A%20-%20Corporate%20Plan%20Performance%20Q4%20FINAL.pdf
For more information contact Cllr Alan Schneiderman: firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568