Friday, 3 June 2011

Sorry Labour, the buck stops with you

The new Labour administration of the Council has finally got round to publishing their priorities for the coming year.

Below is the somewhat rambling preamble drafted by the Leader of the Council, Cllr Jo Lovelock:
"During the recent election campaign we were very clear to the public that the financial situation we find ourselves in will mean that we will have to make difficult choices.
The Conservative-led coalition Government has not only imposed severe and front loaded cuts in local government grant, but has also introduce a new way of allocating grant which disadvantages urban councils like Reading with high levels of need."
"Where we have committed to reviewing the service changes and charges introduced by the previous administration, we will find alternative strategies for savings in order to remain within the budget set for 2011/12.
For this reason, we will need to ensure that the council is restructured in a way, which promotes innovation and even greater efficiency.We will need to work with the public and council staff to ensure we can deliver on the priorities which most matter in our local communities and which protect those most in need. As this is such a major piece of work we have also created a cabinet post to focus on service delivery and improvement, who will work with other lead councillors to ensure a common direction of travel."

'Financial situation we find ourselves in'?! I think the previous Labour government bears rather a large responsibility for that, Cllr Lovelock.

Don't forget, Labour chancellor Alastair Darling pledged to make £44bn worth of cuts to public spending.

And finally, she admits Labour WILL have to make cuts to balance the budget.

For 'alternative strategies for savings'... read cuts to services
For 'restructuring the council'... read job cuts.

Sadly no detail on who or what will get the chop.

The budget agreed by Lib Dem and Conservatives in February protected the vulnerable.

So come on Labour, it's time to come clean with the public - what are these alternative savings you plan to make?
And what will you do to set the budget next year?

Some facts.
  1. The Council's forecast budget for 2012/13 anticipates that savings of around £15 million will need to be found.
  2.  If all the savings the Lib Dem-Conservative coalition administration identified for 2011/12 are delivered according to plan then the full year impact of these savings into 2012/13 would generate savings of £5.5m which would mean the further savings to be found in 2012/13 of £14.2m would be reduced to £8.8m.
The document goes on:
"A vital role for all members of the Cabinet will be ensuring the public are fully involved in our decision making."
From the Party which brought you the one-way IDR debacle, this rings rather hollow.

If the public is going to be 'fully involved' don't you think it was time this administration told the public what it what services it plans to cut?

We all know Labour will try and blame the previous administion and the 'Conservative-led government' for any cuts they make.

Sorry Labour, you wanted to run the Council at all costs and the buck stops with you for whatever decisions or cuts you make in office.

No comments:

Post a Comment