Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lib Dems have no excuse on City budget mess

In yesterday's Cambridge Evening News, the Lib Dem leader of the City Council is bemoaning the effects of the Government's concessionary bus fares scheme on City Council budgets - our local (Lib Dem) MP is apparantly going to raise the matter.

If this really is news to our MP, then what on earth have the Lib Dems been doing for the months that this problem has been known about? - we discussed it here last August.

The fact is the Lib Dems are now desperately trying to plug a hole in the City Council's budget of well over £1m pounds. Concessionary bus fares is doubtless in the news this week to try deflecting blame away from them ahead of Thursday's budget meeting. But the problems are not just due to this issue, the one they are (correctly) blaming on the government, but more crucially on issues that they have absolutely no excuses for - the £618k of Folk Festival cash at risk, and over £1m of interest that was due on the Iceland investments which is the very minimum amount they are likely to lose.

The fact is that the Lib Dems have know for months about all these issues, and I warned them to start finding significant savings at a meeting of full Council in December. Only now at this late stage are they trying to find massive savings in Council budgets, and don't appear to have even considered yet what could happen to various income streams as a result of the recession. After years of generous settlements and easy budgeting, they failed to find serious efficiency savings. Now when times are tough they are proving themselves completely unfit to be running the finances of the City Council.


Anna Smith said...

Don't fill the departing Chief Executives post. No one in Cambridge will notice any difference in terms of real services.

Anna Smith said...

Whilst Rome burns.....