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:
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.