Friday, 20 November 2009

Letter to David Cameron about Conservative Councils' Inconsistency on Budgets

Pete Challis, a National Officer in the Local Government Service Group has identified that many Conservative Councils have been planning their budgets in a manner inconsistent with national Conservative party policy. In the East Midlands, Notts County Council (who are making £33m of savage cuts) is one of these councils.

So this week, the East Midlands region wrote to David Cameron seeking clarification on Conservative party policy. An extract of the letter is below.

Letter to David Cameron, Leader of the Conservative Party:

The majority of councils we deal with are Conservative controlled and it has become apparent there are differing approaches to medium term financial planning, especially with respect to projected future formula grant funding in the financial years 2011/12 and 2012/13.


We note that the Conservative Party made the policy statement below, which is on page 16 in the Conservative Party document Control Shift – Returning Power to Local Communities; Conservative Party (17 February 2009)):

“………That is why we have announced that, in the first two years of a Conservative government, councils will also have the ability to contract with central government to freeze council tax. Those councils that take up the contract will have to undertake to hold the rate of rise in council tax to 2.5 per cent or less; and central government will correspondingly undertake to make a payment equal to 2.5 per cent of that council’s council tax – so that bills can be frozen in each such council for the two year period.”

Many Conservative councils are freezing Council Tax over the next three years and some are including in their medium term financial plans the additional payment outlined above. However, there are some Conservative councils, such as Nottinghamshire County Council who are not making any provision for this additional income in 2011/12 and 2012/13.

Given this we have two specific questions:

1. Is it your intention that a future Conservative government will implement the policy outlined above?

2. If the answer to 1 above, is yes, then do you believe that councils such as Nottinghamshire County should include this additional income in their financial plans for 2011/12 and 2012/13?

There is clearly an inconsistent approach on this matter by Conservative councils in this region and it would be helpful to have clarification from your office.

Although the letter refers to Notts County Council, there are many other Conservative councils in the reigon (the rest of the country) that are freezing council tax but have not taken into account this extra government grant (or "cash back" as the Lincolnshire County UNISON branch call it).

When we get a reply from Mr Cameron we will post it up on the blog.

2 comments:

  1. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.
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  2. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Alena

    http://smallbusinessgrant.info

    ReplyDelete