Council ‘lived within its means’ Conservative Cabinet hand over under-spend to committee system
At the first meeting of the council’s Policy and Resources Committee, the authority’s budget ‘Outturn Report’ for 2011-12 was reported as showing an under-spend of £239K, which represents 0.1 per cent of the council’s £180m approved budget.
This is despite the challenge of having to achieve £43m of efficiency and transformation savings by 2014-15, of which over £24m over the next three years have already been agreed.
The authority has been better placed than many others to deal with its as-expected reduction of government funding, because Conservative councillors ordered the council to draw up money-saving plans as far back as 2008 when the previous Labour government’s out-of-control public spending began raising fears.
Over the past year, there has been a continuing reduction of senior management and reviews of support services and how the authority buys goods and services to improve value for money.
Cllr John Calway (Con, Longwell Green), who led the previous Conservative Cabinet for 5 years and remains Council Leader in the politically ‘hung’ committee system, said:
“As a Cabinet, we have been prepared to take the tough decisions to ensure the council has balanced its budget and lived within its means and this under-spend for 2011-12 is evidence of that.
My fear about the committee system that we now have is that some opposition councillors want the power - but not the responsibility - that comes with making decisions so that the authority is never spending more money than it has coming in.
We simply cannot allow what happened to our country to happen to our council and we hope that the council continues to balance its budget going forward into the future.”