Following the full council meeting the week before last, Cllr Geoff Lumley has sent the following to share with VB readers. In his own words. Ed
What has been entirely missed from, in my view, the unbalanced newspaper and radio coverage of the last IW Council meeting’s Budget Review, was that I proposed the option of Councillors being able to defer identification and consideration of a specific list of savings proposals from Cllr Pugh until after the Quarter 2 position (from 1 April up to and including 30 September) in this year’s budget had been reported upon. Probably at November’s Full Council.
This would be much in line with the budget schedules of other local authorities, as Cllr Pugh admitted
Projected overspend actually an underspend
I had proposed this as I recalled that this time last year we were told by Cllr Pugh we were on course for a £6.3 million overspend. The actual outturn at the end of March 2011 was an underspend of £800,000 – a difference of £7.1 million.
Adding in monies also subsequently set aside in individual Directorates – £1.65m – and for ‘organisational change’ – £1.76m – that makes a total difference of £10.5 million. Quite a difference from prediction in September 2010 to March 2011 outturn, I hope you agree ?
Why worry people until you know for sure?
My argument was that we may not have to cut services (to the tune of £3.85m) at all this year and that we should wait for the more accurate projections of Quarter 2 than the current ones of Quarter 1, which are already projecting no overspend this year.
I asked why we had to worry so many people now, young and old, who would be affected by these potential cuts when they might not be necessary based on last year’s experience.
Is this just a War Chest?
I went on to suggest that the Conservatives at County Hall may possibly be building a ‘war chest’ for a Council Tax giveaway in February 2013 – just ahead of the next Council elections”¦”¦..this of course was later denied”¦”¦”¦
Of course my proposal was defeated by 23 votes (all Tories and three independents) to seven (me, the four Liberals and two independents – Churchman & Welsford) with five abstentions (all independents).
I hope this provides some balance ?