Thursday, December 06, 2012

Bham Lib Dem Leader calls Councillor Sir Albert Bore's claims "disingenuous"

Bham Lib Dem Leader calls Councillor Sir Albert Bore's claims "disingenuous"

Statement from Cllr Paul Tilsley, leader of the Liberal Democrat group:

"It is disingenuous of Sir Albert Bore to lay all the blame for his financial problems at the foot of the present coalition government and to claim there have been 'last minute cuts'.

The Chancellor yesterday spared councils from any further cuts next year. This is a bonus worth £10 million

Sir Albert Bore's alleged budget problems for next year include:

  • at least £30 million to be set aside to pay for the cost of equal pay claims. This is a problem that has accumulated over a decade;
  • £12 million to pay for his own Living Wage policy. This is the estimated cost of having to pay increased sums to contractors so they can raise wages;
  • £10 million for the new council tax benefit scheme. Most of this is being covered by collecting additional council tax from second home owners.

There are at least £4.5 million worth of grants available that he seems to be turning his nose up at.

This is:
  • £2 million for councils who maintain 100% council tax allowances for benefit recipients. Birmingham is proposing a 26% levy on some of our poorest families.
  • £2.5 million to keep council tax frozen

The key component in next year's budget plan has always been a £72 million cost increase, not cuts in government spending. Sir Albert Bore has repeatedly been asked by Liberal Democrat Councillors at council meetings to explain this and has repeatedly refused.

Only on Tuesday, asked to explain in a written question by myself, he replied with two words "not yet".

Across the country Labour councils have put in place 'slash and burn' policies and sought to blame the coalition government. Yet the previous coalition administration in Birmingham managed to save some £250 million by transforming the way the city worked and without  hammering front-line services."


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