Thursday, November 13, 2014

50% funding cut for Nairn Community and Arts Centre coming down the tracks over the next few years?

Here on the Gurn we published a couple of posts earlier this week about some of the potential impacts from the outcome of the Highland Council’s austerity budget survey consultation. These impacts will be massive. Previous Gurn posts on potential car parking charges in Nairn here and what might happen to public toilets here plus cuts to flower beds etc, here. It has also emerged that there is a major threat to funding of our Community and Arts Centre coming down the tracks and this became very clear last night at the regular meeting of River Community Council in the URC hall.

Highland Councillor Liz MacDonald was present and commented on part of her organisation’s budget cuts consultation survey. She said: “On question 4 it’s about reducing funding to Highlife Highland to some of the larger grants and one of them that falls within that is our Nairn Arts and Community Centre..”

Liz was interrupted by Stephanie Whittaker who interjected with: “and the Library and the Swimming Pool?”

Liz resumed, “Well, that’s on a different question but question 4 is particularly relevant for Nairn Community Centre. It’s one of the larger outside bodies that receives grants. And I think the proposal is to reduce it by 10% over the next two years and then have a 50% cut in the budget overall. I think there is 714,000 in that budget. The intention is to cut it by 50% over the next few years. So I think if you are making a representation maybe just put in a word for the Community Centre and study that question 4 because it’s got a massive impact for our Community Centre and how it is funded in the future.”

Here is item four from the survey:
“4. Reprioritising grants for arts, sports and culture: £714,000

The Council provides around £1.5 million of funding to a range of organisations including independent museums, cultural organisations, sports groups, independent sports and leisure facilities, village halls and youth groups. The funding provided ranges from £500 per year to £150,000 per year. We propose to change how we fund these organisations, reducing the total budget by 50%, £714,000, and requiring all organisations to bid for funding. Bids will be assessed against new criteria which reflect the Council’s priorities. As an initial step towards this, all grants will be reduced by 10% over the first 2 years.”



I asked

Liz also said at the meting the leas for the car park at the back of the library has just one year to run before coming up for renewal.

Anonymous said...

Don't you think we should think about the other 62 million that they will need to find after they have taken the 2 mill from leisure and libraries and smaller things. Where are they going to make the savings, cut the big ones salaries, I don't think so. They are delfecting peoples views away from the bigger picture by making a big statement to attract attension.

John Urquhart said...

The Museums future is also in doubt with 10% cut followed by a 40% cut after that, according to Laurie

told you so said...

See what happens when the majority voted no

Brian Turner said...

We keep hearing about money in the Nairn Common Good fund - can some of this not be used to take over services such as landscaping, toilets, and providing a grant for the community centre?

Perhaps we'll need a single community council to administrate that fund, first?

Anonymous said...

told you so... What would the 44.7% have Alex Salmond do? pick ten pound notes off his money tree and make it all better, I don't think so!

another told you so said...

could come from the share of cash we would no longer have to pay for nuclear weapons and Iraq wars if we get Independence

Anonymous said...

Why cant all the top people in power just tell Cameron there is no more to cut, i will tell you why-it doesnt affect them the least little bit just us at the bottom of the pile.

Anonymous said...

@ Brian Turner

It would be wonderful if the Nairn Common Good fund could run all the services you mention but I'm afraid it's just not that big and would quickly be depleted

Anonymous said...

Tough times ahead for Nairn and all of Highland Council Areas. Council need to cut to the chase and ditch their policy of no compulsory redundancies. Time to get rid of all none jobs at middle and senior management. Front line services have been hit hard over the past few years and cannot be subject to any further reduction.

cutting crew said...

Anonymous at 4.58pm makes a very valid point.

The existing policy of no compulsory redundancies while cutting back on almost all Council functions and services leads to absurdity and inefficiency. The Council will be delivering reduced services, without reducing staff (other than by "natural wastage" eg retirements).

In other words, keeping and paying the salaries and pensions of roughly the same number of people, while having them doing less and less.

As a famous tennis player once (almost) said, "They CANNOT be serious!"

common man said...

@Brian Turner and @Anonymous of 3.20pm.

The problem with the Nairn Common Good Fund is that it is "asset-rich but cash-poor". It owns lots of land - not just the Links and Sandown, but the land on which the caravan park operates, other property around Fishertown, and indeed possibly also the land of the Dunbar Golf Club. But it generates very little ongoing income in terms of rents or profits from this which might be used to pay for other things.

In some cases (eg amenities on the Links) charges are rightly low because the users are the local community. But in other instances, much income has been lost either because of inadequate management by the Council (eg the Parkdean contract, and the fiasco over costs and compensation in respect of Sandown), or because the local authority foolishly agreed that the Common Good Fund should bear huge costs without ensuring sufficient revenue to cover them (eg the fishing-rights and levy problem).

The comparison with Inverness is embarrassing. The Inverness CG has huge capital investments which produce a stream of dividend-income, and massive rent revenue from the businesses on the Longman Estate (a CG asset). These millions in ongoing income provide funds for a great many other activities and amenities in Inverness.

The difference? The Inverness CG is run and managed by a local Inverness city committee (a sub-committee of the Highland Council). Nairn's Common Good is run by...... well, can someone tell us? But it sure ain't local!

45% and growing said...

Ha ha, as we try and find two pennies to rub together this is how Westminster spends our money in these hard times

Better Together

Anonymous said...

The scottish government are in charge of spending.
They chose to spend it on free prescriptions and freezing council tax even for those who can afford it.

Brian Turner said...

The Inverness Courier reports on the parking charges being mooted:

Am left scratching my head as to how this amounts to "saving money".

Anonymous said...

Wowee they have taken the postbox from the corner of Boathpark--that will save them what--about £1-50 a year--a few more boxes to go i think to square up this austerity crap.

Anonymous said...

Put my Council Tax up by the equivalent of £365 per head please. £1 per day. Do the same for another 175,342 Highland Council residents. Let the other 57,608 (25%) on the lowest incomes pay NO extra. £64m funding gap sorted.