When ever we present our budget papers the Lib Dems fall over themselves with complaints, moans and falsehoods about the budget. All in the interest of holding the executive to account I am told.
In reality, as they have no impact and no responsibility for running the County Council they can and often do say anything they like. This time when the produce any amendments we will hold them to account for funding them.
I am expecting a list of historical old news to be reselected.
I’m guessing the magnificent guided busway will be dragged out again. Despite it being really popular and exceeding expectations ( remember the Lib Dems said it would be a white elephant and seem disappointed by its success ) they will remind us all that we have a contractual issue to resolve. Yes, of course we do and we will resolve it. The contract is of the type that did us so well for the Olympics. The fact that we have a contractor that has not delivered to the agreed price is always a problem but we are confident of a good resolution ( I bet the Lib Dems will be disappointed by that as well ).
I am sure we will see something about lack of detail in some areas. This is an easy criticism particularly when you are looking at a 5 year plan. Much of our plan is about changing the way that we do business often in innovative and untried ways. These are difficult times and need brave leadership to explore how we can deliver services in a different way. Lib Dems decide everything by committee which seems to mean that every time they set out to design a horse they end up with a camel or is it an ass.
They are bound to use scare tactics about bus subsidies. We are determined to put in place a cost effective public transport system. Paying subsidies to commercial companies is not the answer.
I am hoping that they will major on fluffy issues that do nothing to work within the reduced budget and have everything to do with their high minded political mantra believing they know best for all of us. Fuel poverty is real and needs dealing with. Subsidies for wind farms are costing all of us a lot of money. The Lib Dems want masses of wind farms all over our 33000 acres of county farms estate. We don’t and neither do the people of Cambridgeshire.
They are bound to mention members allowances and claim it was a Conservative desire to raise allowances despite some of their own group voting for it. Allowances have not been raised. Allowances are reviewed by an independent panel not members.
The Lib Dems will claim that we are making cuts. Well the truth is we are avoiding making cuts where ever possible, which is one of the reasons we are putting up the council tax with a below inflation rise. But as funding reduces it is very likely that at some point in the future we will have to consider making cuts. What would the Lib Dems do? Wave a fluffy magic wand?
Lets see how much of this I guess correctly.
Not just the Lib Dems. The Deputy Chairman of the Cambridge City Conservative Association describes your plans as “disgraceful” https://twitter.com/Radegund/status/293426907574308864
“changing the way that we do business often in innovative and untried ways” –> to the people out here this sounds like decision-making based on the whims of a few who hold higher positions in the Council, or as some say, the HIPPO (highest paid person’s opinion).
You say in your ‘vision and priorities document: “Since I took over the role of Leader I have made it my mission to find out first hand what residents want.” –> going out visiting nurseries and schools is not enough.
Where is the research data upon which decisions should be made? Without a clear line linking customer research, decisions, plans and actions, and then outcomes, all you claiming sounds shallow.
Thank you for your comments. Innovation and untried ideas are sometimes essential when you are in new and untried territory. The speed and level of cuts is without precedent. We need to act decisively to set our budget.
For decades the county council has had more money to spend year on year. Now we have less money year on year as a result of budget setting at the national level.
As the Leader of the council my allowances are below £30k so not exactly highly paid these days.
We carry out lots of research to help form our opinion. We also carry out consultation. This year we conducted the biggest consultation so far and based our budget on this.
I believe your statement is misleading. You’ve got allowances of around £30K which is more than many civil servant’s salaries. But that’s just for allowances, i.e., this comes in addition to your salary, surely?
Thank you for your comments. The allowances that you refer to are all I get. No other salary.
Interestingly, I think I am the lowest paid council leader in the country. By comparison the Essex leader around £64k.
Comparing my job as leader with other jobs is interesting. I probably send 40 – 60 hours a week on council business so it is a full time plus role as well as being responsible for a £1.2billion pound organisation.
Thanks for advising.