The Lib Dem 0% Budget Amendment

I critiqued the Tory (group) budget amendment yesterday and was quite damning about it, especially as it does not add-up and will result in poorer services being provided.  The Lib Dem Budget amendment is (slightly) better than that of the Tory one. This can be read HERE.

This is the S151 Officer’s views on the Lib Dem amendment

“This proposal satisfies the essential requirement of an amendment to the budget in that the savings recommended address the whole budget shortfall arising from a no increase in the council tax”

Well that is good then, as at least the figures will work. However,  the problem with this amendment is on the subjects to be cut. This is the full transcript of the S151 comments:

LD 1LD2LD3

I firmly believe the use of Consultants has got out of hand at Cornwall Council, but not all those listed as Consultants are those highly paid people brought in. In fact, many are regular members of staff who have been used because there is a shortfall in qualified people available, or they are there to cover sickness, or maternity leave. My worry will a general cut in all the directorates will lead to services being scaled down, or stopped. I have always argued for better staff coding to separate the £1000 per day Consultants and those on regular wages.

As for the communication budget, my views on this are the same as I blogged in the Tory amendment. It will stop vital services and functions being carried out.

My real concern is on the Council Tax increase collection rate. Only a few weeks ago, various people and groups jumped up to denounce the 25% CTB and many of the comments were on the use of bailiffs for non-payers etc. Now if the collection rate was even more enforced, it would lead to greater and more robust use of bailiffs. In an ideal world the collection rate should be 100%, but it is not, and there are reasons for this.

This like the Tory amendment is more about election headlines, than a sensible budget, which will protect services. The difference between the two amendment is one (to a point) adds up. It is just a shame a more united front from all groups could not be achieved. However from what I am told, this could have been done, but one group leader would not, and was more interested in pursuing an alternative. It is not hard to guess who that is.

I believe Tuesday is going to be hot tempered and long. I just hope people can put party politics and election leaflets to one-side and come up with a budget that will protect services. If not, it will be a very sad day.

 

5 comments

  • Yes you are right, more detail needed on consultancy costs. Can’t just abolish consultancy for the reasons you give. Await budget no.3!

  • mick martyn

    i dont see what all the fuss is about – the 2 alternative proposals arent well thought through so the decision is an obvious one – go for the original 1.97% ioncrease – this could be done in 30 minutes but all the councillors will want to show boat and pretend they know what they are talking about. cut the number of councillors form 123 to 50, that will save a few £££

  • I think down to 50 is a bit towards extreme! But the numbers do need to be cut. The Council can’t decide this -the process is dealt with by the Boundaries Commission

  • mick martyn

    well what an absolute farce todays budget was, the lib dems are trumpeting that it is the budget for the people but how many services will have to be cut to achieve £3.6m reduction in agency spend (which if you listen to the s151 officer will have to be permanent staff cuts as there are no agency budgets) + £400k from comms and strategy (this should be more easily achieved as there are always to many policy type officers who are paid over the odds) + even more bizarre an increase in council tax collection – how the heck is this going to be achieved when the staff will be trying to collect 25% from those that cant afford to pay anything?!!?

  • Chris pascoe

    Andrew you are soooo right and some Councillors should hold there heads in shame, the council staff know who voted which way so think on that any Councillor who voted for zero increase when you want some support.

Please feel free to leave a comment to the post, as I like to hear your views! However, comments that do not meet the rules of the site (found in Blog Disclaimer) will not be published. Furthermore, all comment need to be approved by admin before publication.