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#Swindontory Rod Bluh Dials a £331,000 cut for Dial-a-Ride

Swindon’s ‘Dial-A-Ride is a local voluntary organisation whose aim is to provide safe, affordable, accessible transport for the community. This seems set to change by November 2010 as Swindon’s Tory Council intends to ditch 3rd sector voluntary involvement and court interest from commercial opportunists instead.

A wide range of people benefit from ‘Dial-a-Ride’ services, especially wheelchair users and those who may need transport on a short-term basis, for example, people who have recently left hospital, those recovering from a major illness or living with a long-term disability. Swindon’s Dial-A-Ride currently assists anyone whose mobility impairment means that they are unable to use existing public transport.

There’s no doubt Dial-A-Ride is a much needed service which is valued highly by those that use it, yet only 19 days after the local elections Swindons Conservative-Led Council has just announced its intention to completely axe the £331,000 annual grant to Dial-A-Ride. Not long before the elections the Councils Tory majority backed down from plans to reduce the grant to Dial-A-Ride by £50,000 – a move which now appears to have been driven purely by their realisation that cutting services like Dial-A-Ride is rarely popular with voters.

The Swindon Pravdatiser reports:

“Swindon Council says it can no longer pay the £331,000 a year it provides to Swindon Dial A Ride as the contract it has with the charity breaks EU laws.

The council says it is committed to providing a Dial a Ride service in the town, but will put the contract for it out to tender on the open market as it has to ensure value-for-money for council tax payers”

I’m still waiting for a confirmation or denial that the idiocracy at Swindon Borough Council has, for some considerable time, been using the ‘EU rules prevent it‘ excuse to deliberately prevent Dial-a-Ride from tendering for other work, so when the Pravdatiser says:

“The charity will be able to put in a bid to run the service but it will have to compete against other private companies and the cheapest is likely to win. The current funding arrangements with Swindon Dial A Ride will continue for six months until the new contract with whoever wins the bid is finalised”

….I am not exactly filled with feelings of joy or optimism.

Had Dial-A-Ride been allowed and encouraged to tender for, (and win), other work it might not be under threat now, mind you, I am now wondering whether this situation has been brought about deliberately by the Leader of Swindon Borough Council and his micro-cabinet of himself and just three other Councillors.

Bearing in mind how the Rodigarch and his nepotist Micro-cabinet like to do business secretly with its friends and without reference to the other 55 elected members of the council, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that early discussions about the Dial-a-ride service have already taken place between local businessmen, Roderick Bluh and his talentless-but-loyal micro-cabinet.

Be warned: If Bluh is involved in a subsequent ‘Unique, vibrant and visionary Business opportunity’ which rises from the ashes of the current Dial-a-Ride, it is very likely to have an invisible business plan, cost us a lot of money in loans to brand new off-the-shelf companies and have several off-shore businesses and ‘consultancy’ firms involved somewhere.

Back firmly On-Shore, Councillor Derique Montaut, leader of the Labour group, said:

“Despite all the talk of council funding to Dial A Ride breaching EU law, something disputed by commercial solicitors, and the Conservative administration publicly supporting the basic values of what Dial a Ride represents, it is quite clear that the replacing of Swindon’s Dial A Ride service with a private-sector transport firm is a money-making exercise”

This will happen and the Rodigarchy will endanger this service because he took another huge gamble with their 2010 budget, (already nearly £4,000,000 in the red), and lost.   The fact that Rod Bluh’s vanity spending and legacy politics is responsible for almost £2,000,000 of wasted money is conveniently overlooked as,  ( just like the the Banking crisis), the little people feel the pain of other peoples incessant gambling with money that isn’t theirs.

As long as Roderick Bluh remains leader of this council decisions like this will become more common.

Also Blogged by Komadori

Posted on
Wednesday, May 26th, 2010
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