Category Archives: Finance

Lack of planning is a ‘disgrace’

 

Labour Councillors on Suffolk County Council have called on the administration to come clean on their plans for the long-term care of people with learning difficulties as a report into council finances calls identifies them as an issue for council budgets. Continue reading Lack of planning is a ‘disgrace’

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The Council Budget: Cllr Len Jacklin’s Letter to the Lowestoft Journal

A few weeks ago at the SCC annual budget debate, the Labour Group on Suffolk County Council put forward an amendment to the budget proposed by the Conservative administration.

The amendment recognised the damaging cuts to the Rate Support grant from the Conservative Government, which made setting a balanced budget extremely difficult and the need for responsible levels of reserves.

The Labour amendment proposed using £15.5m of the Council’s reserves to try and retain some of the services cut by the Tories who claim the cuts are not effecting front line services.

The Tories proposed to cut the budget for Adult Social Care by £6m, this at the time when nationally it was recognised that the service is in crisis. We feel that £5.5m should be used from reserves to try and help our services cope.

They then proposed in the same document to increase your Council Tax by the 3% allowed by government, while admitting that this increase would not even cover the cost of paying the living wage to care workers.

Labour proposed using £3.38m from the reserves to help the shortfall in Children’s and Young’ Peoples services to try and litigate some of the harmful effects that their cuts are having. We tried to persuade the administration to use £2.05m to pay for cuts to the Fire Service and to protect the Citizens Advice Bureau, as well as our hugely successful Trading Standards.

During the debate, Labour asked how the £20m financial shortfall to build our Third Crossing in Lowestoft would be met. The total cost comes to £100m, which represents the estimated £91m cost, plus a contingency of 10%: £70 promised but not yet paid by central government, £10 from the Capital Reserves from SCC – so we still need to find £20m.

The indignant replies were that the administration, the government and our MP had promised that the bridge would be built.

The question of where the money was to come from was not answered.

Needless to say, the Conservatives, along with UKIP Councillors, succeeded in defeating our amendment. This unholy alliance are all of the mind-set that money held by the Council on your behalf should be hoarded away year after year.

In my four years as Councillor for Oulton, we have seen the Councils reserves rise by £30. Each year the Tories supported by UKIP have told us that because of government cuts, the budget would be overspent and the reserves would be used.

But not a penny has been spent.

Last year alone, the Tories put £9m of your money back in to the bottomless pit of the reserves, bringing the total held by them to £191.2m.

Labour don’t believe them when they say they will be overspent this year – and if they are it will not be anything like the figures they predict.

They called us “madmen”, “dangerous”, “lunatics”. But they never questioned our figures.

They talked about their budget as “safe” and “prudent”, “wise” and “responsible”. But they never mentioned the dangers to our elderly who are suffering, or our most vulnerable children that are being failed, or our safety from fires that has been jeopardised… all of which are due to cuts that they have made.

In May, you can choose the uncaring miserly doctrine led Tories, propped by UKIP Councillors, or a caring and careful Labour-led administration.

It’s your money sitting in a vault, whilst many are struggling. It simply isn’t fair.

SetWidth160-2013-05-14 Leonard Jacklin informal WS

Cllr Sandy Martin Budget amendment speech

This budget is about the money that this Council has to spend and the ways in which it decides to spend it or not spend it. But the important issue is not the money itself but the effect that it has on people’s lives. We are not bringing this amendment because we have a pathological hatred of financial reserves, but because we have a deep-seated hatred of ill health, and poor education, and unsafe situations for children, and freezing homes for elderly people, and the despair that goes with a life where everything seems to be getting worse. And we resent seeing the Council sit on the financial means to deal with those issues, but do less and less each year.
Continue reading Cllr Sandy Martin Budget amendment speech

Labour’s 2015-16 Budget Amendment

This Council is deeply concerned by the effect of continued reductions in services to the people of Suffolk: in particular to the children and young people whose safety, education and training are vital to the future of the County; and to vulnerable elderly residents who deserve our care and who also need our support in order to remain as independent as possible. This Council will therefore seek to minimise reductions of services.
Continue reading Labour’s 2015-16 Budget Amendment

County Council services at threat of collapse

Vital help for elderly, disabled and young people will go by the wayside if Suffolk County Council makes its proposed £30 million of cuts, Labour Councillors warned today.

Services hardest hit will be Adult Care, and Children & Young People, which between them lose around £18 million from their budgets.
Continue reading County Council services at threat of collapse

Labour wins tobacco divestment vote

At the County Council meeting of 17 July 2014 councillors accepted the Labour Group motion to withdraw from investing county council pension fund money in tobacco products by 49 votes to 10 with four abstensions.

The Labour Group motion said

“The Council hereby resolves to be a signatory to the Local Government Declaration on Tobacco Control, as endorsed by the Public Health Minister Jane Ellison MP and asks the Pension Fund Committee, having regard to its fiduciary duty and with the necessary agreement of other employers of the Pension Fund, to replace investments in tobacco with other holdings, which are considered comparable in terms of the balance of risk and return.”

Labour Group Leader Cllr Sandy Martin who proposed the motion said; “I am delighted that the council has seen the sense in the arguement that we should not invest in tobacco stocks at a time when we are trying to help people give up smoking”.

Continue reading Labour wins tobacco divestment vote

Corporate Regeneration Fund cut short sighted

Len mediumLabour Shadow Spokesperson for Finance and Property, Cllr Leonard Jacklin, has today called on Suffolk County Council to think again and revoke the end of the Corporate Regeneration Fund after a Freedom of Information request has identified how much the fund has been worth to Suffolk.

Continue reading Corporate Regeneration Fund cut short sighted