Wednesday, 20 October 2010

£150m less for council services in Leeds

Leeds City Council expects to have to make spending cuts of around £150 million by 2015 as a result of the cuts in local government funding announced by the government today.

In his comprehensive spending review, the chancellor announced a reduction in funding for local authorities of 7.1 per cent each year for the next four years.

In Leeds, it is anticipated £50 million will have to be found through savings in 2011 alone.

Around 75 per cent of Leeds City Council’s funding comes from the government. The council’s biggest areas of spend are adult social care and education, including schools.

Leader of Leeds City Council, Councillor Keith Wakefield, said:

“Today’s spending review presents us with a significant challenge, but this isn’t the end to public services in Leeds, it only demonstrates the importance of showing strong civic responsibility to ensure we protect services for the young, the elderly and vulnerable people.

“It also presents a very serious challenge to the future of housing in our city and that will be one of the biggest issues we will have to tackle.

“Leeds City Council has already made efficiency savings of over £100 million in five years, but it is now clear that, in future, some services will have to be reduced further and others stopped.

“The council will certainly be a smaller organisation in four years time and will have to change the way it works and delivers services.”

Around 2,500 to 3,000 council jobs are expected to go following today’s review announcement. However these will largely be through natural turnover where posts are left unfilled as they become vacant. About 1900 people leave the authority every year.

The council has offered workers the opportunity to leave under a voluntary early retirement or early severance scheme.

Councillor Wakefield added:

“Our main focus over the next few months will be to look very carefully at all our services and consider ways of, where appropriate, we might be able to work more closely with other organisations in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

“We will also look at ways of maximising our income where appropriate and review how much we spend on capital projects. In future, we will give priority to schemes which will save the council money in the medium to long-term and we will also ensure our purchasing power is used to best effect.”

The council is reviewing what buildings it occupies in order to reduce the amount of space it needs and how it can improve the efficiency of ‘back office’ and support functions.

In response to the government’s announcement that the ‘ring fencing’ around grant money will be removed, Cllr Wakefield said:

“We welcome the government’s decision to lift the restrictions on how and where councils can spend the money they receive in grants.

“It makes sense to leave us to decide how resources should be allocated in Leeds.

“It will give us the flexibility to respond to the needs of the people of this city.”

And reacting to the news that the NGT trolley bus scheme wasn’t included in the chancellor’s spending review announcement today, Cllr Wakefield said:

“It is a shame that we did not get the confirmation we were hoping for, but that could come next week when a further announcement is expected.

“The multi-million pound trolley bus investment is vital for the city.

“It will help cut congestion, get more cars off the road and should have a positive impact on the environment.

“It will also help protect, and boost, the city’s economy as well as that of the wider Leeds City Region.”

In summary, Councillor Wakefield said:

“As ever, the devil is in the detail and I am keen we get clarity on a number of issues as soon as possible.

“I hope that will come when the Government publishes details of the council’s ‘formula grant’ for local authorities in November.”

Ends
For media enquiries please contact:
Sara Hyman, Leeds City Council press office tel: (0113) 224 3602
Email sara.hyman@leeds.gov.uk

Enjoy a frightfully fun Halloween week


Caption: Visitors to Temple Newsam can look out for the ghost of the 'Blue Lady' who is believed to haunt the house (image courtesy of the Friends of Temple Newsam Park)

Things are sure to get spooky across Leeds next week as the city hosts a series of events and activities for Halloween.

From Tuesday 26 October to the evening of Halloween itself on Sunday 31 October, scary themed events and activities will be taking place each day across five Leeds City Council-managed venues to give people of all ages a fright.

Abbey House Museum will be the place to be from Tuesday to Friday with family craft and fun activities, sessions for play schemes and larger groups and a spooky murder mystery to solve.

The action switches to the historic Kirkstall Abbey itself on Friday 29 October from 3:30pm-7:30pm, with a variety of performances and activities taking place in the eery surroundings of the abbey church.

Those brave enough to enter a darkened Temple Newsam House and wander the rooms of the stately home by candlelight as well as seeing Home Farm in a whole new light should head there for the popular annual Halloween hauntings on Saturday 30 October from 5:30pm-8pm.

Fancy dress is encouraged but beware the infamous ‘Blue Lady’ - thought to be Mary Ingram, daughter of former owner of the house Sir Thomas Ingram. Mary died in 1652 aged just 14 following a breakdown after being subjected to a highway robbery and her ghost shrouded in blue has been spotted many times since ‘roaming’ the house.

The same evening at Leeds City Museum from 7pm-9pm ‘The Spooktacular!’ music concert will see a host of well-known scary soundtracks and songs from films and television performed by the Yorkshire Wind Orchestra.

On Halloween itself on Sunday 31 October, Kirkstall Abbey Visitor Centre is running free craft sessions from 10-12 and 2-4pm while Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills will be hosting a special family scary fun day taking place from 12noon-4pm. The day will feature craft activities such as making witches hats and broomsticks, as well as ghost stories, scary films being shown and following ghostly trails.

Leeds City Council executive member for leisure Councillor Adam Ogilvie said:

“Halloween is great annual event especially for children and these events are perfect for families and people of all ages to get into the spirit of things and have some fun.”

All of the events require advance booking (except Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills and Kirkstall Abbey Visitor Centre) and/or have admission charges which will apply (except Kirkstall Abbey Visitor Centre). For further information and to book places call each site as follows:

Abbey House Museum and Kirkstall Abbey – 0113 230 5492
Temple Newsam House – 0113 264 7321
Leeds City Museum – 0113 224 3731
Leeds Industrial Museum at Armley Mills – 0113 263 7861

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk

Five-star Carriageworks offers free ticket for a year


Caption: General manager Martin McInulty (front, centre) launches the competition with staff from The Carriageworks

The Carriageworks theatre in Leeds is to celebrate its fifth birthday next month by offering the chance for a competition winner to attend any show for free for a year.

As part of the official birthday celebration event to be held at the Millennium Square venue on Thursday 11th November, one lucky winner will be presented with a ‘golden ticket’ entitling them and a friend or parent the chance to go to any show at The Carriageworks for the next 12 months for free.

To take part in the competition, which is open to people of all ages, entrants need to only take a picture of themselves with a number five and send it in to The Carriageworks. The ‘five’ to be used in the photo can be anywhere – for example on a sign or as part of a house number. Entries are encouraged to be as imaginative as possible.

Entries can be emailed to carriageworks@leeds.gov.uk, with the picture attached as a jpeg, and giving the contact details including full name and address of the person entering the competition. Postal entries will also be accepted and should be sent to The Carriageworks, The Electric Press, Millennium Square, Leeds, LS2 3AD. The closing date for the competition is Monday 8th November.

All the names will be put into the draw for the golden ticket, which will take place at The Carriageworks’ Big Birthday Bash, to be held at the venue on Thursday 11 November from 5.30pm.

General manager of The Carriageworks Martin McInulty said:

"It’s incredible to think how far The Carriageworks has come in the last five years. The competition is a bit of fun and also hopefully offers people the chance to do something imaginative and win a prize money can’t buy, so hopefully lots of people of all ages will give it a go and enter.”

For further information about The Carriageworks visit the website at www.carriageworkstheatre.org.uk

Notes to editors:

1. Certain exclusions may apply to the golden ticket offer. Terms and conditions apply. Please see website for full details. The decision of The Carriageworks theatre management in all matters relating to the competition is final.
2. The Carriageworks is a thriving theatre at the heart of Leeds’ Millennium Square. It showcases the best new national and regional performance with a dynamic programme of theatre, dance, comedy and film. At the same time it provides support to young and emerging theatre makers, offering them a key platform to develop their work. The Carriageworks also gives opportunities for members of the local community to take part in a variety of high quality arts activities, and is home to the Leeds Civic Arts Guild. This is an umbrella group of performing societies offering the opportunity for local people to experience making theatre in a fully-functioning professional venue.

ENDS

For media enquiries please contact:
Roger Boyde, Leisure media relations officer,
Tel 0113 247 5472, Email: roger.boyde@leeds.gov.uk