Another Budget Day 22 February, 2012Posted by Jeremy Rowe in News.
Tags: Conservatives, Cornwall Council, Finances, Independents, Lib Dems, Local Services, Openness and Transparency
Yesterday was Cornwall Council’s supposedly annual Budget Meeting (although we seem to have two of these a year these days).
The Tory Leader of the Council seemed a bit edgy from the start and although he tried to put forward a positive message he seemed to cut a more isolated figure as the day rumbled on. One thing he was able to do was accept the Lib Dem proposal for a Council Tax freeze which is paid for by a one-off grant from central government.
What he couldn’t do was give the Council any meaningful detail on where the Tory-led authority will wield the axe in search of £40m worth of cuts previously voted through. Indeed, at one point we had the bizarre spectacle of him trying to claim there would be no cuts, only “reductions” in service.
The fear is that, in spite of a supposed rabbit being pulled out of the hat a month or two back, areas like the rural bus network will once again come under threat due to the administration’s ill thought out plans. We have already seen this area in crisis over the last twelve months because of the administration’s failure to keep its eye on the ball and this has also been the case with the car parks budget and the provision of public toilets. I asked for a guarantee that the Cabinet would pay closer attention this year but nothing was forthcoming.
In the end the budget was passed, primarily due to Tory and Independent votes, but questions will continue to be asked over the coming months about the devil in the lack of detail. There are no signs that there will be too many answers.