Comment: Make some noise to halt the axe

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BALANCING the books at the City Chambers is always going to be a difficult task.

In these times of stretched budgets and ever tightening resources, it becomes a juggling act on a tightrope while hopping on one leg.

We understand tough decisions will need to be made, priorities must be identified and some services will require to be reformed or cut back altogether.

The trick of course is what can be cut to cause least pain.

Today we report on a proposal to axe the city council’s noise complaints team in a bid to save £200,000.

Instead calls will go to the police.

The police, not surprisingly, are none too happy about this.

They have resource issues of their own to contend with, and with complaints about response times to things like burglaries, are hardly likely to prioritise a call to a noisy neighbour.

So what will happen is that these complaints will simply not be dealt with, and with 11,000 noise complaints a year that is a lot of unhappy people.

The council needs to be careful here, not only because it risks upsetting thousands of voters.

Services such as these while perhaps not considered frontline priorities are often vital for quality of life in communities.

Everyone should be able to feel safe and comfortable in their own homes and be able to access help if they do not.

If the proposal to axe the noise teams goes through, there must be a proper service to fill the gap and that will have to be more sophisticated than “call the police”.

This is by no means the only service facing a cut in the council’s budget next year and may not be judged the most important issue by councillors.

Ironically, if the plan to cut back here is to be reversed, the only thing for communities to do is to make some noise.