Tories' hitlist helps claw back £1.5m

THE new administration at Weston Town Hall says it has already freed up to £1.5million since taking control of North Somerset Council

THE new administration at Weston Town Hall says it has already freed up to £1.5million since taking control of North Somerset Council.The Conservative councillors now in charge of the authority released the following statement last week telling the public what they have been up to since being voted into office last month.After only two weeks in office, the Tories says they are keeping their election promise to give directors and officers more positive leadership.Leader Nigel Ashton said: "After the May 3 election result we immediately hit the ground running, even though the new Executive could not be officially confirmed until the annual council meeting on May 15."Since then all the executive members have given new instructions to directors, aimed at prioritising the frontline tasks the public wants, such as road and pavement repairs and cutting expenditure on unnecessary or low-priority budget items."Cllr Ashton says that over the next several months the council, led by the Executive, will continue to focus on an overhaul of all directorates, setting new priorities and reducing the time spent by officers on endless meetings and issues of little interest or benefit to the North Somerset electorate. The new leader added: "I also hope that, given time, I may be able to respond to the hundreds of emails and letters I have received, wishing us well and asking us what we are doing about issues of interest."However, in the meantime, I want our actions to speak louder than words."The following changes have been made by the new Executive since May 15:* Honoraria payments to staff have been stopped.* All recruitment and advertising has been frozen, except through specific approval by the director and relevant executive member.* Housing structure is under review. * All consultants' positions are under review after £1.6million was spent by the previous administration.* One controversial contract has already been cancelled.* All staff organised meetings are to be held on council premises.* Unnecessary and expensive conference attendances will be cancelled.* Unnecessary multiple printing and publication of council paperwork and use of stationery has been stopped.* Funding for highways maintenance schemes are being urgently reviewed and prioritised.* The decriminalised parking scheme has been deferred pending an urgent review of costs and a downward review of proposed charges.* Proposals for a council Green Travel Plan has been deferred pending revision to eliminate £35,000 of taxpayers' subsidies proposed by the previous administration.* All council funding on smoke-free legislation has been stopped.* The tree inspection process has been urgently revised.

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